Thursday, April 29, 2010

3 Tips for Better Running

3 Tips for Better Running

By: Frank Pucher
"I've never finished a run and thought, THAT was a waste of time."

My education into running began in the fall of 1983 as a freshman in high school. With no background in the sport and no knowledge of how to prepare, I suffered many last place finishes including a few DNF's.

Through the guidance of some great coaches and my commitment to becoming a student of the sport, I began to enjoy better results and eventual praise. By the end of my senior year I was a MVP and a Champion.

At 17 years of age I discovered something valuable:
"Running is a metaphor for life. Sometimes things go well-Sometimes they don't. Your accomplishments are usually the result of your efforts and talent is a poor substitute for hard work."

I used these lessons throughout my Collegiate Athletic career. Again, I learned through failure which led to a higher level of education and accolades.

With (arguably) my best performances behind me I have taken to educating runners of all levels and abilities. My clients include: 1st time runners, Boston Marathon qualifiers, High School State Champions & Division 1 Athletes.

While the lessons learned over the last 25+ years are too numerous to list, there are 3 that I feel are the most significant to mention.

1. Be Consistent. An athlete that engages in a less than optimal program consistently will usually derive better results than one who trains with great precision infrequently.
Simply put: I would rather have an athlete run 3-4 miles each day than have them occasionally "interval train" or "do hill repeats" or "a long run."

2. Drink More Water. Of all the nutritional gimmicks people subscribe to, this one is often neglected by athletes. Hydration is essential for optimal performance and recovery. Most athletes and people are dehydrated. This leads to slower recovery between training and a less than optimal athletic performance.
Simply put: You don't drink enough water.

3. Avoid Injury. You can't be consistent in training or perform at an optimal level if you physically can't perform. Most distance runners will suffer an "injury" at some point. The reason is seldom due to an accident or is it impact related. Too often the cause is classified as an "overuse" injury. Really? Why don't babies get "overuse" crawling injuries? I have long believed that our injuries are the result of us not being structurally strong, stable and flexible.
Unfortunately, running is a sport that is slow to evolve regarding it's view on strength training. Too much emphasis still remains on movements such as the Leg Extension, Biceps Curl and the Abdominal Crunch. All safe movements but ineffective in developing a stronger more stable athlete. My clients don't train to be stronger runners, they train to be stronger athletes - who run!
Single-leg and stability exercises should be a part of any serious running program. Even the stretching that most runners perform isn't as effective as they believe. Too much emphasis on flexing the lower back and stretching the hamstrings, too little emphasis on foam rolling the Facia and stretching the Psoas. I advise my clients to use a Foam Roller as a part of their everyday routine.
Simply put: Lifting Weights is OUT. Strength Training is IN. Stability is Sexy and Facia is the Future.

The above tips will help runners of all abilities. If you should have specific questions on my suggestions, feel free to contact me @

Frank Pucher is an Elite Level Fitness Professional and Run Coach. His facility Fitness 121 Personal Training was named "Best Exercise Studio" in New Jersey by NJ Monthly Magazine.
He is certified by The American Council on Exercise & The Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research.

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