As someone that has run five full marathons (26.2 miles) in the past, I have a bit of knowledge on the subject.
Lately, I have been talking with a number of you about overcoming hip and knee pain in your marathon runs. While I loved the thrill and challenge of a race, I stopped running marathons about four years ago due to a knee injury myself.
The good news is I’ve learned a thing or two since then. If I run another one (I still get the urge sometimes) I will train in a much different format.
What’s the secret sauce I keep alluding to here?
I strongly believe the key to a good race physically and mentally is in the right preparation.
What does cross-training mean?
Just as the name would imply, cross-training incorporates a variety of styles to improve flexibility, strength, and stability while increasing your cardio endurance. This is doing more than just running and training other muscles of your body to ensure the best outcome on race day! Instead, it’s a planned and systematic approach for preparing the body to endure.
When we train for long races such as marathons and half marathons we are doing repetitive, high-impact movements and overstressing the joints. It’s important to mix it up and use your muscles in different ways to prevent injury.
I typically run a pretty slow marathon, but I saw a 20 minute PR (personal record) on my marathon when I focused on cross-training.
What did this schedule look like?
Monday: Long run
Tuesday: Upper body strength followed by yoga
Thursday: Speed work, sprints, and lower body strength
Friday: Yoga and core
Saturday: Hill run
By breaking up my runs in this way, it gave me the variety needed to avoid burnout and injury.
Do you think this type of schedule would give you the variety you are looking for? If you're looking for other forms of variety, try one of our many classes.