The Science of Stride Rate

Recently, there has been a recent surge in research, magazine articles, and blogs about stride rate. Let’s take a look at the science behind this commonly misunderstood biomechanical factor.

How fast you run is a function of two factors: (1) the length of your stride and (2) the frequency at which you take those strides—known as your stride rate. To run faster, either factor has to increase. For the past 30 years, the magic number of 180 steps (beats) per minute (bpm) has been discussed as the goal. This arbitrary target number has been seen as a method to increase running economy and potentially reduce joint loading during running. Continue reading “The Science of Stride Rate”

Summer Running FAQ

by John Stanton

It’s summertime, and the living is easy—but a casual approach isn’t wise when it comes to exercising in hot weather conditions. To help you stay safe in the heat, here are my responses to common questions about summer running.

How much water do I need to drink?
As summer temperatures soar, proper hydration becomes a top priority. You need to drink frequently before, during and after exercise. Plan to drink at least two cups (500 mL) of water in the hour prior to your run. During your workout, sip (don’t gulp) water every 15 to 20 minutes, and be sure to re-hydrate once your run has concluded. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, because at that point you may already be dehydrated. For normal fitness activities, plain water is your most effective drink. For workouts or races over three hours, a sports drink can help replace lost electrolytes. Continue reading “Summer Running FAQ”

Ready to Race

by John Stanton

If you’re intimidated by the idea of entering a race, don’t be. Race weekends are designed to offer something for everyone: runners and walkers, young and old, beginner and experienced, elite and back-of-the-pack.

Registering for a race will boost your motivation and provide you with a tangible, time-sensitive goal. Your training runs will have a renewed sense of purpose. Racing improves your form and helps you learn to run more efficiently in an uncomfortable zone. Think of it as speed work in disguise! Continue reading “Ready to Race”

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Running…But Were Afraid to Ask

In running, there are plenty of unexpected little things that can pop up on a training run or in a race. If you’re wondering about something, ask—no matter how silly or embarrassing it may seem. I enjoy meeting runners at race expos and answering quirky running questions, such as:

How do I get rid of a side stitch?
Typically, the dreaded side cramp or “stitch” is an indicator that you’re running too fast or too far for your current level of fitness, causing your diaphragm to work too hard. To alleviate some of the discomfort, ease up on your pace, stay relaxed, and concentrate on pursing your lips and exhaling fully with each breath. Continue reading “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Running…But Were Afraid to Ask”

The Science of Injury Invariability

by Dr. Reed Ferber, Ph.D. CAT(C)

In my last article, I described how rotating multiple shoes and engaging in cross-training activities are both strategies that reduce your risk of injury, based on increasing the variability in the loads being applied to your body. Here, we’ll continue this discussion and give you some strategies to help reduce your injury risk based on biomechanical research.

My research group first introduced the concept of stride-to-stride variability as an indicator of a running injury nearly 10 years ago. We showed that when a runner has reduced gluteus medius muscle strength (the muscles on the side of your hip), your knee is not properly controlled when you run. Subsequently, the weakness leads to increased variability and an unpredictable running pattern. For example, the knee might slightly collapse outwards during one footfall and inwards for the next. However, once those muscles get stronger, a more predictable pattern and reduction in stride-to-stride variability occurs, so your body knows what to expect during the next footfall. Continue reading “The Science of Injury Invariability”

4 Functional Movements to Help Develop and Strengthen Your Lower Body for Running

by Liz Naccarato

As a runner, I never implemented cross training until about five years ago. Once I began adding that functional training into my workout schedule, I found myself becoming a more efficient runner.

Pairing a running regimen with proper functional fitness is equally as important as finding those next best Brooks to run your race in. As runners, we can overload our running schedule without pairing it with strength training. Below are a few of my favorite leg day exercises which can be done at home or in a fitness facilities, and I’ve included the reasoning behind why I believe in them. Continue reading “4 Functional Movements to Help Develop and Strengthen Your Lower Body for Running”

Starting Out

by John Stanton

As runners, we all have to start somewhere. If you’re a beginner, your early experiences with a running or walking program can make or break your chances for success. Novice runners who approach their training with a “go hard or go home” attitude often experience overuse injuries or just plain discouragement. This is not the recommended way to begin a running program.

As with all fitness programs, start with a visit to your family physician. He or she may recommend that you start by walking or by following a combination walk/run program. Be patient and stick with it—in as little as 10 weeks, you can progress from couch potato to athlete. Just remember to commit to 10 weeks, not 10 minutes or 10 days. The lifelong benefits are well worth the investment.
Continue reading “Starting Out”

A Multi-Goal Approach to Training

by John Stanton

To get the most out of your training, you should set an ultimate goal followed by several smaller goals to get you there. Your ultimate goal might be to run a particular race, but before that, you must first train consistently.

It can help to run some smaller, shorter-distance races as targets to test you along the way. Many runners will tell you that the real reward comes from the training, not the race itself. Continue reading “A Multi-Goal Approach to Training”

Cross Training for Runners

by Sandy LeBlanc

I have yet to meet a symmetrical person. We’re all a little wonky, either due to structural differences like leg length discrepancy or scoliosis, and/or habitual imbalances such as playing a single sided sport, handedness or poor posture. For most people, these imbalances don’t affect quality of life—until you add a highly repetitive, sagittal plane sport such as long distance running. The good news is: we can fix many of these imbalances with strategic strength and flexibility training. Continue reading “Cross Training for Runners”