Feb 13, 2014 8:00 AM

Author: Laura LaMarche, DPT

The groundhog recently saw his shadow, signifying six more weeks of winter ahead this year, but don’t let that keep you from training for a half marathon or marathon. As Laura LaMarche, DPT, University of Utah Health physical therapist and director of the Runner’s Clinic, outlines five tips for you to train for a long distance run. 

1. Build a Base.

Most training programs assume you have some running under your belt before starting their calendar.

  1. Begin with easy runs (you can hold a conversation while running, maybe even sing a winded song) and take 3-4 weeks to work up to 10 miles per week.
  2. If you haven’t run in a few years (or ever), start with a walk/run progression. The more you run verses walk, the faster you will fatigue. An example would be 2-minute walk, then run for 2-minutes for 30 minutes total.

2. Follow a Training Calendar.

Remember that calendars are guides, not fixed and rigid doctrines. If you are feeling under the weather, or tired all the time, take a couple days off to recover. Many running injuries come from over training so listen to your body.

3. Add in Core Training.

I see lots of injured runners in the Runner’s Clinic, and one common weakness I see in most runners is decreased core and glute strength. Here are a couple great exercises that will help build the core and glute strength essential for strong running:

  1. Prone/front plank
  2. Side plank
  3. Lunges
  4. Single leg bridges
  5. Squat to overhead press: (not pictured) with or without hand weights, squat down reaching hands/weights to your heels so the thighs are parallel with the ground. From a squat position, stand up tall while pressing hands overhead. Do 2-3 sets of 20 squats.

4. To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

There really is no great research saying that stretching helps improve performance or decreases injuries. However, there are a couple I recommend, especially for those with a desk job:

  1. Hip flexor stretch
  2. Calf stretch

5. Run With Friends.

Running is fun; share it with others that also love to run. It will also make you more accountable to run when you are lacking motivation.

For more information on upcoming classes, services, or to learn how to improve your running efficiency or reduce running injuries visit the Runner’s Clinic at the University Orthopaedic Center.

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