Register for Second Wind Running Club’s 17-week marathon or half training program by December 15. Includes weekly paced long runs, Second Wind Running Club membership, long-sleeve tech shirt, post-race party, and more. Learn more and register.
Many runners like to run a shorter tune-up race some time in the months leading up to their main race. If you are relatively local, check out the Second Wind Running Club race calendar for a list of races in and around Champaign-Urbana. If you live far away, check with your local running club or running store.
Race sponsor Human Kinetics has many resources of interest to runners. Read some excerpts below.
Dedicated runners have come to expect running-related injuries. In any given year, up to 70 percent of runners sustain an injury serious enough to stop them from running. According to running expert Sam Murphy, those problems are often caused by errors in training and technique and can be avoided. Simple mistakes, including wearing the wrong shoes, increasing mileage too quickly, or not varying sessions enough, are responsible for 60 percent of running injuries.
“By learning the difference between training and straining and honing your technique, you can minimize the risk of injury and the training setbacks it inevitably brings,” Murphy says.
While it’s obvious that a speed and distance device can be used for monitoring and controlling your pace during races, you need to use your device somewhat differently in races of different distances, and you must avoid succumbing to the temptation to rely on it too heavily.
First, before you race, try to get a good sense of your device’s specific degree of accuracy. Most devices are inaccurate by a consistent degree in one direction—either too long or too short. Test your device on measured courses whenever possible to determine its pattern. Races themselves afford some of the best opportunities, but be aware that it’s actually normal to run approximately 0.5 percent too far on certified road race courses because these courses are measured by the shortest possible distance a runner could cover in completing it (that is, by running every turn and tangent perfectly), and nobody ever does that.
Buying the right speed and distance device (podcast)
ABC Running Drills Other than with strength training, how can running form and performance be improved? Because running has a neuromuscular component, running form can be improved through form drills that coordinate the movements of the involved anatomy. The drills, developed by coach Gerard Mach in the 1950s, are simple to perform and cause little impact stress to the body. Essentially, the drills, commonly referred to as the ABCs of running, isolate the phases of the gait cycle: knee lift, upper leg motion, and pushoff. By isolating each phase and slowing the movement, the drills, when properly performed, aid the runner’s kinesthetic sense, promote neuromuscular response, and emphasize strength development. A properly performed drill should lead to proper running form because the former becomes the latter, just at a faster velocity. Originally these drills were designed for sprinters, but they can be used by all runners. Drills should be performed once or twice a week and can be completed in 15 minutes. Focus on proper form.
A good measure of how much work you’re doing as a runner is how much distance you’re covering. It costs just about the same amount of energy to run eight miles in 40 minutes as it does to run eight miles in 60 minutes; you’re doing the same amount of work—only the rate is different. However, the amount of work (mileage) that you’re performing represents only part of the stress to which you’re subjecting yourself. Slower runners spend more time accumulating the same mileage covered by faster runners, and more time on the road means more footfalls, more landing impact, and a greater chance for increased fluid loss and elevated body temperature. Thus, although mileage achieved is a logical starting point, it’s also useful to keep track of total time spent running.
Tapering training is critical for reaching the starting line in peak fitness and with maximal energy reserves. The challenge during the last several weeks leading up to the marathon is to find the best balance between continued training to get into the best possible racing shape and resting to eliminate the fatigue of training.
Put simply, tapering corrects the accumulated wear and tear of training. More specifically, it appears that tapering leads to improvements in running economy (how much oxygen you need to run at a given pace) and muscle strength.
Pete Pfitzinger details proper nutrition (podcast)