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JLab Run-A-Round - Five Week Training Plan

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Running Tips

Hill Running: The merits of uphill running: improved strength, the extra aerobic work required, emphasis on better sprinting form, etc. Merits of downhill running: by lengthening your stride and increasing your turnover, you are able to run at a significantly faster and more efficient rate than you would otherwise. The key is to choose a gradual incline -- one that you feel comfortable running your hardest without feeling like you are leaning back and braking.

Proper Rest: is a very underrated aspect of running. To be good at running, you must adopt a mindset along the lines of, "the harder I push, the better I will be." Make your hard days as hard as possible and your easy days as easy as possible. The idea is that if your easy days are taking away from your hard days, you will merely run mediocre everyday. It is the hard workouts that make you a faster runner, not the easy ones.

There is much more to rest than when and how hard to run, however. Other related things to consider are: sleep, diet, stress level, and mental preparation. All of these combine to dictate how your body will be able to react to your training regimen. You've probably heard your coach say, "two days before the race is most important." This refers to both sleep and food. Why two days before? Because the night before a race you will probably be too nervous and/or excited to sleep, anyway! By eating correctly, your body replenishes the nutrients which are burned up through exercise.

Footwear: It can never be stressed enough to wear proper running shoes. I shake my head every time someone says they don't understand why their body hurts here or there and then they say they've run in the same shoes for 2,000 miles! Remember, 500. That's the maximum number of miles most shoes are rated for. Do not be fooled by tread life. A better indication would be to look at the sides of the midsole (the foam part between the outsole and the upper). If it is noticeable "wrinkly," it's probably time to switch to a new pair. Old running shoes make great walking shoes, so don't despair.

Belly Breathing: is one of the more difficult techniques to master, but is very helpful even if you are only mildly proficient. As always, here's the run-down: The idea is to maximize the amount of air drawn into your lungs with every breath. Roll your shoulders forward slightly (also known in stuffy circles as slouching) and let them relax. As you breathe in, push out with your stomach and at the same time push down and out with your diaphragm. This allows maximum room for your lungs to expand and draw in precious oxygen. Once you get comfortable with how this feels, focus on how many strides you can cover between inhales. Initially, four strides (eight total steps, two steps per stride) will probably be just about your limit, but after a little practice you should be able to reach eight strides. Give it some time, it will start to feel more natural. And if you have problems with side cramps, this technique will put an instant smile on your face.

Taken from Run-Down.com