october 17, 2015
By Coach Eladio Valdez III
A surprising study showed that it wasn’t the hardness of concrete that caused a higher rate of injury compared to running on other surfaces, it was the sameness of the concrete terrain & surface. Staying in the same biomechanical position for too long (same pace, same surface, same terrain) puts too much strain on the running muscles when compared to changing things up (pace, surface, terrain). While it’s natural and comfortable to settle into your usual pace on your usual route, be careful not to spend too much time doing this.
Instead, make this your bread & butter run once or twice a week while opting for different routes and types of workouts the rest of the week. The result will be improved running and racing compared to staleness, being stuck in a rut, or getting injured.
Every workout, it’s easy to avoid monopace by starting out extra conservatively to provide the warm up your body needs and finishing with an extra slow cool down to jump start the recovery process. Let your body gradually pick up the pace and you’ll do just fine. Mix up the intensity by pushing the pace every now and then or increasing the effort naturally on uphills. Speed and hill workouts can be as productive and enjoyable as you make them and there are endless varieties. Just abide by the motto that the greater the intensity, the shorter the workout to compensate and you’ll keep your risk of injury moderately low. Mix up the terrain with hills, rolling areas, and flat sections. Mix up the surfaces by running on manicured grass (soccer fields, parks), dirt (many trails in the area), asphalt and yes, concrete – all in one run, if possible. Wear a couple of different pairs of shoes as each will naturally change your biomechanics.
Always remember that ‘variety heals, sameness kills’. Little amounts of cross training, strength training, balance training and mobility training will all help to transform you into an athlete who runs instead of just a runner who runs.
I invite you to consider the social and performance benefits of joining The Runner’s Edge. We have Mid-Fall Tuesday & Thursday speed sessions along with Saturday long runs that begin the week of August 19-23 and continue through October. We meet at a different venue each week to keep things fresh and our speed sessions maximize your versatility with different workouts all the time. If you’d like to join us or simply enjoy a complimentary workout first for any of our programs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out the ‘Nutrition for Runners’ clinic on August 21 at 6:30p.m. at the Ward Parkway Garry Gribble’s Running Sports store with Nutritionist Sally Berry. RSVP to me and be entered in a drawing for one of two $25 Garry Gribble’s gift certificates.