RUNNING STRONG

How to train for the Houston Marathon without putting in the extra mileage

There are a lot of ways to train for a marathon. Getty Images

Have you ever thought about running a marathon, but don’t want to strain your legs from the extra mileage of training? Or have you trained for a marathon and would love to do it again, but without the daily slog of training and pain? Welll.. there is actually a way to save your knees. Through various cross training workouts paired with of course some running. As a runner, I know the strain your knees can take from running. I suffered from patella tendinitis throughout my college career while running cross country and track. I was a Division I, 800-meter runner and despised running cross country, but was forced to. I hated the training because it killed my knees. But I learned a few very good lessons that I will forever help preach to save knees around the world.  

With cross trainings, paired with running and different types of workouts, you can run that marathon you wished to train for again. For some of those training for the Houston Marathon, January 20th 2019, you’re already a few months into your training, then well you’re in the midst of the hard part. The last 2-2.5 months will become the hardest part of training before you start to taper down. If you’re training for the marathon in January, this November and December will be the most important to save your knees.

Everyone’s training plans will be different. Most will increase mileage weekly by about 10% of your baseline to your peak. Your baseline is going to be your average weekly mileage before you started training. But if you’re running the Houston Marathon, at this point you are probably past the first few months of building your mileage. This is where I would suggest throwing in some cross training 1-2 times a week and cutting down running to 2-3 times a week also. Find an even balance for yourself. Or even with your “cross trainings/running” workouts taking place of a running workout.

This would be substituted with sprints, tempo runs, fartlek training, backwards running. Each of these workouts have specific goals: improving aerobic capacity, lactate threshold, running speed. Be sure to change your terrains on these runs, especially the long runs. These trainings all help alleviate mileage. On none running days you can also be sure to add in a mix of swim, bike, lifting weights, agility, etc. Lifting weights can make you stronger, and the other cross trainings can work your muscles and lungs to become more powerful.

While you start to build up your mileage, and only being two months away at this point, you should never pass running 45 miles. I’ve PR-ed on my full marathon when running between 35-40 miles a week peaking at 45. Through some research, it shows statistically anyone training above 45 miles a week can burnout, overtrain, and could possibly get injured. Along your cross-training workouts be sure to incorporate are short high intensity bursts of cardio into weight lifting for one hour. Run three times a week and no more. On one of your cross-training days if you take a few cardio exercises from below, and push through for one minute, then incorporate some other weight exercises (below), for 10-12 reps. Repeating this whole circuit 3-4 times, should get your heart rate pumping and endorphins running.

Burpees, jumping Squats, jump rope, plank, Bicep Curls, Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climbers, Static Lunges, push-ups, etc. All of these will get your heart rate pumping, then you can do some push-ups, free standing squats, sit-ups, tri-cep and bicep curls, etc.

It is just as critical to recover as it is to train. So as part of the training process remember to rest, recover, stretch, and roll out! Please remember to roll out on a foam roller, for as least 30-45 minutes. Static stretches are super important like pigeon pose, especially after running. If you’re hamstring or lower back is really bothering you, be sure to grab a lacrosse ball and dig deep into those areas with it. Again, I will reiterate it is just as important to rest with off days, yoga days, stretch days, you name it. This is another common mistake most runners make, and do not see that they are only burning themselves out without proper rest.

Another common mistake is trying to make up for lost time on mileage. Everyone gets busy, slammed at work, gets sick, or maybe even the most non-ideal scenario, an injury. But hey, life happens. So when this does, just pick up right back where you left off. Do not try to double your workouts to try to make up. Three weeks leading up to your big race you should start to taper down on mileage. A common program builds for 13-16 weeks, with the second 20-mile-long run coming at the end of the 13th week. Then you can start to taper off, from 15 to 10 during weeks 14-15. The sprints and temp runs would taper down as well, with a final 8-mile tempo run at marathon goal pace, just about a week to 10 days before the marathon.

One thing to keep in mind before you get off to start your training or continue your training, don’t make a common mistake most runners do. When you train, do not race your training by going all out and exhausting yourself. If you cannot hold a conversation, or your heart is over 140 beats per min, or you regularly need to stop, you probably need to take it a notch down and slow the pace. Even though you may seem you are not training hard enough, it is imperative to slow down to a good pace, so you do not burn out. And with the help of this article …. hopefully you will be far from burning out as you train towards your next marathon! Good Luck!

 

It's that time of the year, where you will either a) be traveling, or b) too comfy and warm to get out of bed! And don't worry even while you are traveling to your favorite mother-in-law's house, I got you covered. We've all had those moments, even the biggest fit junkies, where you wake up and think…. maybe I could work out from my bed? Well below are some of the top exercises you can do, all without having to leave your bed!

1)The Pilates clam

In the video, first you will notice a pillow in between my arm and head. Place a pillow or towel here in order to keep the spine in line from head to end of tail bone. Remember this is a beginner exercise, but you can always advance it and lift the feet in the air, in the same position. Repeat 3 sets of 15 each.

2) Straight- leg lifts

Laying on your left side, place your right hand on your hip, while your arm is bent and helping to support your head. Lift the right leg up to about a 45-degree angle. Repeat 15 times with 3 sets and you will feel your glutes start to burn. Flip over to your right side and repeat on left leg.

3) Prone Cuban Press

This isn't as much of an exercise, but it is very beneficial to your arm flexibility and strength. This is similar to a prone Cuban press, except without weight. Lie on your belly extend your arms straight out. Try to pass through your arms right underneath your shoulders, while bending your arms and reaching through towards the toes. Using the same motion come back up through, back to the top. This is harder than it looks and will really test your flexibility. Repeat these 15 times.

4) V-ups (jackknife sit-ups)

Technically, you can do any form of sit-ups here. However, I like to choose V-ups, especially if you have a bony spine, the bed helps tremendously with the comfort of your spine. While lying on your back, extend your arms over your head and legs straight out. All in one movement raise your upper half of your body reaching towards the ceiling. At the same time your legs will come up to try meet your fingertips. Remember your hands are reaching towards the ceiling and toes are trying to reach those hands. Try not to let your feet meet your hands, before your hands get to the top point of the exercise. Repeat 12 times for 3 sets.

5) Marching hip raises

Start in the same half bridge position, except this time you are going to lift 1 leg up in a 45-degree angle, and hold for :1 second. Alternate each leg, 10 times. Reminder you are alternating legs while you are still holding this bridge position.

6) Bird dogs

Start in a table top, hands, knees, and shins resting on the bed. In one motion reach out your right arm along while straightening out your left leg, hold for 1 second. Then alternate your arms and legs. The unevenness of the bed will really give you a test of your balance. Repeat 10 times each and 3 sets.

7) Half-bridge

While lying on your back on the bed, with your knees bent, tuck-in your chin tucked into your chest. As your booty lifts off the bed, dig your heels into the bed, squeezing your glutes. For an added benefit, fold a pillow and place within your knees and squeeze for :5 at a time. This will help you tone the inner part of your thighs. Repeat these 15 times, for 3 sets.

8) Single leg half-bridge

While lying on your back, bend one leg, while the other is in the air at a 45-degree angle. Arms are to each side, palms down. With 1 leg lifted, you will lift your gluteus maximus in the air, pushing through your hips to the ceiling, hold for 1 second and release. Repeat on same leg 10 times, then alternate to other leg.

9) Booty sculpting hip rotations

These are small movements, but you will definitely feel it in your booty. Lie on your belly, bend your arms, and use your hands for support of your head. Straighten one leg, while bending the other leg (foot resting behind opposite knee). This movement can be slow and at your pace. With only lifting your bent knee up from the bed be sure to keep the rest of the movement pressed against the bed. Again, this is a small movement, only lifting a few inches. This movement targets a complex group of muscles that include gluteus medius/maximus, piriformis, and quadratus femoris.

10) Toe Taps

Lie on your back towards the edge of the bed, make sure you have a neutral spine the whole time. Bring your legs into a table top position (bending at a 45-degree angle). On the exhale lower on leg towards the ground. Only go as low as you can while maintaining a neutral spine. This will also make sure your abs are pulled in and working. Alternate legs throughout the exercise and do 10 reps on each leg.

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