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With every step you take on a run, you want your foot to strike off the ground with as

much power as possible.  This drill will prepare your body to do that. 



As high as you can get, as quick as you can get, as high as you can get, as quick as

you can get....keep repeating that to yourself as you do this drill.  That increased

turnover and increased knee drive will soon carry over to your running form.



Butt kicks are a great way to stretch the quadriceps (the muscle in the front of the

thigh).  The quads are important for lifting your knees and increasing your speed.

Quads are often the first thing to go at the end of marathons, causing runners to come

shuffling across the finish line because they have a hard time lifting their feet off the

ground.  This drill will keep that muscle flexible and ready for action




For Quick Skips, don't worry about the distance that you cover.  This drill is all about

maximizing turnover and minimizing the amount of time that your feet spend on the

ground. 



 

You might think that running 100 meter strides won't prepare you for running a 5k, 10k,

half marathon, or marathon, but we promise that it will.  Take each stride as an

opportunity to focus on your running form.  Over time, those form improvements will

carry over into your training runs, your pace runs, and (most importantly!) your races. 



Q:  After some of my long runs I completely crash for the rest of the day, and I can't afford to be down for the count - I have stuff to get done!  What can I do?

A:  Make sure you are leaving for your runs with a full tank - hydrated, and with 100-200 calories at least in the hour or two before you start.  Plan for and consume 4-8 oz of electrolyte replacement beverage every 2-3 miles (25-30 mins.) for long runs beyond an hour.  And, most importantly, replenish with carbohydrates as soon as possible after your run = 15-30 minutes max.  A banana, apple, orange, peanut butter sandwich, or energy bar with primarily carbs and some protein included are great choices to save in your car or keep ready at home for your return.  We know that in a depleted state your body will grab carbohydrates and convert them to working glycogen quickly.  So the post-run quick meal (100-200 kcal) within 30 minutes is key.  Miss this window and you'll be playing catch up the rest of the day!

Q:  What should I eat the night before a race?

A:  You should eat familiar foods at a normal dining hour.  The day before a race, incorporate plenty of carbs, but do not stuff yourself with two pounds of pasta.  Eat a moderate amount of a well balanced meal (pasta, chicken breast or bolognese sauce, salad, roll is one example) at dinner, and sip both water and sports drink throughout the day.  Steer clear of alcohol.

One mistake a lot of people at destination races make is to set out from the hotel for dinner at 7, head to a casual dining restaurant which is busy on weekends, wait 45 minutes or an hour for a table, and all of a sudden, start dinner at 9pm when the alarm clock is set for 5am.  Plan ahead and give your body time to assimilate the food and get ready to sleep! You and the line of people behind you at the porta-potties will be grateful.

Q:  How much should I drink during a marathon or half marathon?

A:  First of all, we recommend taking a drink to the start line and consuming 4-8 oz right before the gun goes off.  This is your first water stop.    Plan to consume 6-8 ounces of fluid every 2-3 miles or 25-30 minutes.  For bigger races with aid stations every mile or two, one good rule of thumb is to just take fluid every time (so you don't have to think about it).  A good strategy is to alternate sports drink and water.  Pinch the top between your thumb and fingers, and you can nurse it for a few more yards.  Most importantly, do not wait to consume fluids until you are "thirsty".  At that point, you are already playing catch-up.  Drink early, and when in doubt, choose the electrolyte replacement drink over water - then you'll get both the minerals and the H2O necessary for hydration.

Q: Everybody says I should try this (bar/ gel).  How do I know if it is right for me?

A:  Practice!  Your initial long runs serve as trial and error nutrition workouts.  Once you find your comfort zone with a particular drink, gel or bar include consumption in your longer and more rigorous workouts. Nutrition-wise, nothing you do on race day should be brand new territory.  We recommend consuming a gel packet (always with fluid) or similar amount of carbs through another source such as a banana every 45-60 minutes during a marathon or half marathon, which means you should also be doing this on your Big Kahuna long runs.  Keep in mind if you are following the earlier recommendation of energy drinks every 25-30 minutes you may not need the additional gel/bar/banana replacement.  Many utilize a combination of drinks, gels and food to provide quick available carbs within the race.  Everyone's body is different - make your refueling plan during workouts as deliberate as the other parts of your race preparation and you'll have one less unknown to worry about!



What would happen if you ran the same pace over the same distance every day you went out to run?  Many people do it, and you may have even been that person yourself at one time.

You may have also wondered why your Focus-N-Fly plan has workouts at various paces and distances on your way to your goal race. With this month's Personal Best, we wanted to take a few moments to explain a few objectives to changing pace within workouts and/or running intervals.



More Exercise is Better

Written by Tom McGlynn February 23, 2010

This is for all of you wondering why we run through the winter, the cold and rainy days, and all the aches and pains.

More exercise is better so let’s keep running.



Barefoot Running

Written by Tom McGlynn February 15, 2010

Here’s some more supportive data on the benefits of running barefoot and an interesting analysis of force distribution with an without shoes.

Born to Run Barefoot - John Dodge

To clarify our recommendation is that athletes run 5-10% of their weekly mileage barefoot on a soft surface.  So for the athlete running 20 MPW that’s 1-2 mile per week barefoot.    We are most interested in the variance of foot strike, flexion and force distribution which helps strengthen the plantar facia, achilles tendon and calf muscles.

The article includes two videos from the Harvard University Skeletal Biology Lab that outline the force variance of barefoot running.

They can be viewed here:

Barefoot Normal Strike

Shoe Strike



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