Stretching: There’s a lot of debate on stretching. How? How long? How much? These are just a few of the questions that plague the minds of runners when training for a race. I am not a doctor or physical therapist, but what I can share is my experiences. Last year while training for the Orange County Marathon, I committed to practicing Yoga at least 3 times per week. I attended a restorative Hatha class at The Yoga Center every Friday and spent 10-15 minutes after each run doing the poses I learned in class. I am confident that Yoga saved my body from injury during my training. This year while training for the SLO Marathon, I’ve continued to practice Yoga on my own. The Yoga Center mentioned above, Spark Yoga, and Smiling Dog Yoga are great centers to learn and explore Yoga and it’s many benefits. I’ve also incorporated numerous applied functional science exercises and stretches I’ve learned at Gymnazo where I train. Warming up with a few minutes of a slower pace than desired before starting a run is important as well. A foam roller is also a necessity for any athlete. You can find different varieties at Running Warehouse, Dick’s Sporting Goods or GH Sports. There are a lot of great online videos like this one that teach you how to foam roll properly.
Strength Training: I am a newbie when it comes to strength training. I did not have a strength regimen in my training for last year’s marathon. After finishing the marathon last year, I knew I needed more strength and muscle condition to improve my speed and race efficiency. I started weight training at Gymnazo last July and not only have my race times improved immensely, I’m less prone to injury and I feel AWESOME! Here in SLO, we have access to many great facilities to strength train. Kennedy Club Fitness, Gymnazo and Equilibrium are just a few. If you don’t have a gym membership budget, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred is also a great workout video you can do from home. I am very thankful for the coaches at Gymnazo and the professional attention and care I’ve received the past 8 months.
Schedule: Beginner, Intermediate and Elite runners all follow training schedules. Having a schedule to follow will get you to the start line prepared and the finish line accomplished. I like to remind myself that if I train hard I will race fast. I’m a fan of Hal Higdon’s training schedules. With over a dozen half marathons under my belt, numerous 10k and 5ks and a full marathon last Spring, I can say with authority that following a tried and true training schedule WORKS! Nike also offers free training schedules online and through their app. Local running clubs like SLO Roadrunners are also great tools to get quality coaching, training schedules and also join fellow runners in their training efforts.
My schedule although not perfect looks something like this about 40 days out from the Full Marathon:
Monday: Rest or Strength/Stretch
Tuesday: Cross Train at Gymnazo and Run 5 miles/Stretch
Wednesday: Strength Train at Gymnazo and Run 8 miles/Stretch
Thursday: Cross Train at Gymnazo and Run 5 miles/Stretch
Friday: REST (Maybe do some Yoga and Push Ups)
Saturday: Long Run (Yoga and Stretching along with an ice bath following)
I wish you the best of luck in your training endeavors. Remember the 3 S’s of Running. Stretching, Strength Training and Schedule. Have fun, be thankful and #ShareSLO!