There is a great article about Kara Goucher (Runners World – May 2009) discussing what makes her excel!  She is an amazing runner, and had the opportunity to watch her run last year at the Olympic Time Trials in Eugene, Oregon.   I liked the article because it hit home on a few areas that runners tend to neglect.

It’s easy to get stuck running the same route, at the same intensity and speed, week after week. This is a top culprit of overuse injuries, and the easiest ways to reduce them are to change things up.  Here are a few things that Kara Goucher adds to her training program:

  1. Mile Repeats
  2. Long Runs
  3. Plyometrics
  4. Strength Training

Variety breaks up the monotony of doing the same thing over and over, reduces overuse injuries, and keeps runners motivated and energized to stick with it and not burnout or breakdown.

Goucher also mentioned how Active Release Treatments are part of her “Entourage” that helps her continue to run injury and pain free.  When we train, muscles have a tendency to become short and tight, adhesions can accumulate and impede normal movement patterns causing pain and discomfort.

ART/Myofascial Release Treatments are designed to release tight muscles, for more info please go to www.coleellis.com.

In addition, here are a few ideas that will help with variety and reduce overuse injuries…

1.  Trail running:  find a few trails nearby and run them at least once a week.  Check out trail runner magazine, they are dedicated to off-road running and inspire people of all ages and abilities to achieve a healthier lifestyle in the outdoors and on the trails!

“Trails are easier on the body, not just because dirt is softer than pavement, but on uneven terrain every step is different, requiring you to use stabilizing muscles in the lower legs and hips,” explains Denver, Colorado-based trail-running coach Adam Feerst. “In a flat road marathon you repeat the same muscle movement and stress the same ligaments over and over.” So You Want to Be a Trail Runner -July 2007

2.  Hill sprints – 20-30 seconds, 6-8 repeats.  Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then start the workout, cool down and you are done.  Short, simple and to the point.

3.  Have a coach write a personalized program.  Jim Vance is a triathlon coach in San Diego; he just designed a 4 month training program to get me ready for an Xterra – late August.  My swim time has improved dramatically, especially after the swim analysis and my workouts continue to progress each week.  Go to www.jimvanceracing.com for more information.

4.  Read a book for ideas.  Personally, I just finished “Born to Run,” I give it 2 thumbs up!  If you are a runner, have ever had a desire to run, or need motivation then this book is for you.  Even if you don’t run, it’s still a great read.

5.  Cross train (lift weights, cross-fit, swim, mountain bike) on your non-running days.

6.  Incorporate rest days into schedule, if you are going to train hard, make sure and give your body an appropriate amount of time to heal and recover.

Hope this helps, have a great week…