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Training - The Critical Weeks

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Vary Your Training

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Welcome to Mike & Steve's

Marathon Training Program

Steve:  veteran - 57 marathons

Stretching & Cross Training

Mike - marathon runner & author

 

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Cross Training

Stretching.

Stretching is an integral part of your training routine. Stretching your leg muscles after a run will help you retain flexibility and reduce the lactic acid build-up. The purpose of stretching after your run is to keep muscles supple, increase the range of motion of joints, increase the blood flow to muscles and prevent injuries. Stretching should be done for at least 7 to 10 minutes.

The right way to stretch is slow and relaxed. Do not bounce or force the stretch. This can cause you to pull the muscle you are trying to stretch. If you overstretch you will cause damage. Ease off if the stretch starts to feel painful.

Hold the stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds each. Do not hold your breathe while stretching. Relax the stretch. Stretch one or two more times with each stretch. Try to stretch a little further with each stretch.

 

Here are some basic stretches you should be doing after each run.

Calf Stretch: Lean forward against a support as shown and bend the forward leg. You should feel the stretch in your calf muscles.

 

Full leg stretch: - this is a great stretch for the hamstrings and the muscles along the back of your legs.

 

Quadriceps stretch: This is easier to do if you support yourself with  one hand while you lift the leg to be stretched as shown in the photo.

 

More stretching exercises can be found on this page

Cross Training:

Cross training refers to other aerobic exercising you can do as part of your overall training. Cross training has many benefits for runners. Running tends to strengthen a particular set of muscles resulting in a major imbalance in the muscular make-up of your legs. This can make you more susceptible to certain types of injury. Quadriceps especially can get neglected. Doing different types of exercise can really help counter this effect.

Swimming and biking are great cross training activities. Swimming is good because it is a full body exercise that does not stress the bone structure.  However doing laps in a pool can get kind of boring. Running in the water (Aqua jogging) is another alternative. 

Cycling is a great exercise for using different leg muscles, and standing on the pedals to climb hills will definitely give those quadriceps a good workout. Try to get out at least once a week for a 1 to 2 hour ride.

Walking is often neglected by runners, but this is really a good way to stretch out the legs. You need to go at a brisk pace, and swing your arms at the same time. Walking the day after your long run is very beneficial.

 

 

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