Most runners know that they can’t run hard every day; they need to recover from workouts and long runs with easy days. But what should an easy day be? Is there a specific pace you should run? Should you run strides on easy days? Should you do core strength and stretching, and if so, how much? To answer these questions, I’ve come up with my ideal model of an easy day. Note: This is the longest newsletter I’ve ever written, so you may want to save it for this weekend when you have more time to read it. I think it is important, so I hope you’ll find the time to consider my version of an easy day.
1. Warm Up
The warm-up is the first thing you do when you get out of your house or get out of your car. You want to get yourself moving in all three planes of motion for two important reasons. First, you’ve likely been sleeping or sitting prior to this run, so you need to remind your body that it’s athletic and can move in all three planes of motion. Second, even though running is primarily a sagittal plane activity, athletes who are capable in all three planes of motion are going to have fewer injuries. The lunge matrix (LM) gets you moving in all three planes of motion effectively and quickly, taking just 3.5 minutes to complete. Click here to see the lunge matrix. Following the lunge matrix you should do legs swings. To see the leg swings, go to the 2:40 mark of this video (the Myrtl routine). These two elements take a total of 5 minutes.
An alternative to the lunge matrix and leg swings is a routine I recently learned at the Boulder Running Camps. Coach Patrick McHugh demonstrated Vern Gambetta’s warm-up, which includes mini-band work. [Read more…]