Spring weather means more outdoor running, especially here in Denver, Colorado! Springtime is also the best time to start preparing for big races in the Fall, especially if it is big race like NYC marathon, Chicago marathon, Boulder marathon, or a 70.3 or full IRONMAN. A lot of attention is put on the 12-16 week training plan leading up to race-day, but 5-6 months pre-race is the prefect time to set a strong foundation of strength and mobility to build on.
Full body, heavy weight lifting is necessary to build muscle strength needed to run longer and faster, but it also serves to build tendon strength and resiliency. This is key for long-distance athletes who are prone to issues like Achilles tendonitis, IT band pain, or plantar fasciitis.
Examples of full body weight lifting exercises include: squat, deadlift, weighted lunge, pull-ups, decline push-ups, bench press, rows, kettlebell swings, and weighted step-ups.
Develop power, build strength, and increase endurance with plyometrics, also known as jumping exercises. Plyometrics are a great addition to strength training because jumping loads muscles and tendons in a unique way. Starting a new type of exercise can be daunting at first, so it is important to start slow and ensure good, safe form to avoid injury or over-loading joints.
Example of a beginning plyometric routine: 20 sec intervals of bilateral bunny hops in place, front to back, and side to side; repeat for 3-5 rounds.
Running involves moving through a forward plane of motion but requires strength and control in 3 planes of motion. Improving muscle strength and activation in the rotational plane and the side to side plane helps improve running stride efficiency. Cross training is a great way to use muscles in a variety of ways in all 3 planes of motion.
Examples of cross training to maximize movement variety: tennis, soccer, volleyball, racquetball, and swimming.
Finding & Addressing Imbalances
There are about 600 muscles and 360 joints in the human body. Movement asymmetries are common and can be caused by previous injuries or habitual movement patterns. Finding balance between the right and left legs is just as important as addressing asymmetries in rotational movement, adductors vs. abductors, and muscle restrictions. Addressing these asymmetries can help reduce the chance of injury, but it can also lead to improved running economy which helps improve speed and power.
Reducing imbalances can involve foundational exercises like bridges, core exercises, single leg exercises, and/or stretching.
Book a 90 minute musculoskeletal assessment & exercise plan here.
Individualized Training plans
There are many free training plans available on the internet for free, but none of them are specific to your needs, goals, and lifestyle. An individualized training plan can help you achieve your goals in a more efficient way and reduce the chance of injury. Custom training plans can take into account work and vacation schedules, can target your specific running weakness (i.e. endurance, speed, mental fortitude, etc.), can dial in specific paces during training, and can make small or big adjustments based on how the training cycle is progressing. Customization ensures the highest quality of training plan for your goals.
Book a training consult and receive a customized training plan here.
Finishing a big race is exhilarating; getting there should be fun, challenging, and fulfilling. Don't let a subpar training program prevent you from achieving your goals!
Dr Jessica Klain PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, OCS, CNPT
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT)
Certified Nutritional Physical Therapist (CNPT)
Certified Vestibular Specialist
Certified Concussion Specialist
Trigger Point Dry Needling Certified, Level 1&2
Certified Yoga Teacher
University of Florida, Doctorate in Physical Therapy (2009)
The Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science in Biology (2006)