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The Fit 5: Run Like a Pro

Our fitness expert answers your questions about becoming an elite runner.

For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Jim Lubinski, Professional Triathlete, USA Triathlon Certified Coach and NASM-CPT answers questions about proper training for runners. You can also catch Lubinski on Twitter @JimLubinski

1) Warm Up/Stretching asked by Tony Vera:

What kind of warm up and stretching protocol would you recommend before and/or after a long distance run?

"There are two types of stretching. One type is used before the run and another type is used after the run. Before the run you will want to perform functional stretching. This type of stretching uses active movements which mimic the actions you perform while running. These stretches actively open and lengthen your muscles preparing them for the run. You will move during the functional stretches. Examples would be walking lunges, butt kicks, high knees, bounding, sumo walks, etc. After the run you will want to perform the more traditional static stretching. This is the type of stretching in which you hold a stretch for 15-30 seconds. Examples of static stretching would be straight-leg toe touch, quad stretch by grabbing your ankle, standing calf stretch, etc."

2) Shin Pain asked by Benjamin Moore:

I want to increase my distance runs but as soon as I start adding on the mileage, my shins kill me. How do you cope with that?

"There could be several causes to shin pain. First off, I would go to a running store and make sure you have the correct type of shoe for your foot. All feet are different and all shoes are different. If you have a shoe that is not good for YOUR foot, it could be putting added pressure on your shin which would result in pain, especially in longer runs. The second reason may be because you have tight calves/ankles. Before and after each run, make sure you stretch your calves and ankles properly. If you have limited flexibility in those areas, it could result in added pressure on the calves and cause pain."

 

3) Building Stamina asked by Julio Torres:

As a beginner, what's the best way to slowly build up stamina for long distances?

 

"Patience, patience, patience! The phrase, “Nothing happens over night” comes into play here. Distance running takes time. Your must slowly build your mileage week over week, month over month, year over year. Start with short frequent runs: ex. 20-30 minutes 3-4 days/week. Once you can handle that, up the time of each run to 30-40 minutes. Eventually you can add another day of running per week. Don't be too aggressive in upping your volume as this leads to injury and burnout. I would say the typical athlete can 'up' their volume after 4-5 weeks of consistent training at a specific volume."

 

4) Best Running Shoe asked by Eduardo Pedraza:

What things should I look for in a pair of running shoes specifically for long distances?

"You must find a pair of shoes that fits YOUR foot. We all have different feet and there are shoes made for every type of foot. You must go to a reputable running store and get fit for a shoe that fits YOUR foot. Once you establish what type of foot you have, you’ll want to find a higher mileage shoe. These shoes have a thicker sole and do not wear out as quick as racers/training racers. Another aspect you’ll want to consider when seeking you shoe is the toe box. There are wide and narrow toe boxes. If you have a wide foot and you buy a narrow shoe, you will encounter rubbing which can cause a great deal of discomfort. If you have a narrow foot and you buy a wide shoe, your foot will move around and cause blisters. Try on a lot of pairs until you find the right shoe for YOUR foot."

 

5) Running Times asked by Graham Roe:

What are average/good times for 5k, half and full marathon?

"That depends on who you ask. We're all different and we all have different ability levels. Essentially, it really depends on age/gender, but average/good times in my book would be: 20 minutes for a 5K (pace=6:26/mi), 42 minutes for a 10K (pace=6:45/mi), 1 Hour 30 minutes for a Half Marathon (pace=6:52/mi), and 3 hours 10 minutes for a Marathon (pace=7:15/mi)

 

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