Smart Running Tips

Running Tips for the Smart Runners

Shalane Flanagan recently said, “You can’t take a Ferrari off-roading”… as she announces that she’s injured and pulling out of the Boston Marathon this April.

This Ferrari analogy is so true as so many distance runners find themselves taking their race car bodies into uncharted and unfamiliar territories without pause or hesitation.


What not to do:

Jump back into training with a hard 12 miler? Sure!  

Track workout in spikes after years of no spikes?  Why not!

A major injury in April. June marathon?  Yes, please!

All of this leads to heartache, headache, and unworn running clothes.  We constantly make these decisions… And yet, we’re not quite sure why we always get these repetitive injuries… Maybe we’ll learn..

Injury prevention is one of my “schticks” as I’m often on the receiving end of long stretches of zero running – and not from the above-mentioned reasons…  Running injuries suck.  Any injuries suck, but being a runner and injured is the worst.  

Dealing with injuries
Dealing with injuries

Variation is Key to Injury Prevention

Pacing Variation

There are lots of paces on the spectrum of running… Hitting all of them may make us a more well-rounded runner.  Focusing most days on easy/recovery runs is one way.  Then touching on each of the “major” running paces (ie: tempo, threshold, interval, & race pace) will ensure we stay fresh, motivated, and healthy.  Mixing in cross-training days and off days will also play a huge role.

“Train smarter: If you run your easy runs harder than necessary, you won’t be able to run your hard runs as hard as necessary.”

Race Distance Variation

Can’t always be a marathoner.  There comes a time when speed work (ie: 5k work and lower) plays an important role in the success of a runner.  Too often, we get into the mindset that what we are is what we always have to be.  Here to tell you that you don’t have to be confined to a certain mold.

Training Location Variation

Running on 1 surface for every run is oftentimes equal parts boring and risky.  By varying your terrain – roads, trails, packed dirt, hills, grass, track, etc – you can work different muscles and put less strain on the bones and joints that get used to running on a specific surface all the time.IMG_0096_2

“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try different “styles” of running.  You might find something out there that captivates you and forces you to be an active runner rather than a passive one.

Workout Distance Variation

Changing what workouts you run will prevent getting stale, will help you boost your performance, and keep your mind and body engaged in the workout.

Example: Always running 4-5 x 800 at the same pace with the same recovery.

Make a change and try 1000s or mile repeats. Try them at 5k pace or half marathon pace. Adjust the recoveries to match the type of workout you are running.

Injury-free runners are the happiest
4 tips for staying injury-free and happy while running

You have to figure out what works for you by experimenting far away from peak races.  Don’t shy away from change because change is scary.  Be smart and go slow.  Make small changes at a time when you can focus on easy running, rather than in high or heavy mileage.

Workout Ideas for Runners

Want similar articles on Smart Training? Check these out:

What pace is best for my intervals?

Incorporating speed work into a running plan

Having a plan for consistent running

Contacting Marc
Contacting Marc

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