Tag Archives: running

Mile Repeats

I’m a HUGE believer in goal-setting.  With anything and everything you do, have some type of goal in mind.  If you run just because, that’s great.  Kudos to you for getting out and doing it, but why not challenge yourself and see if you can better your pace.

If the majority of your  training program consists of long steady-state runs, it’s time to start incorporating some type of interval in order to promote some change & get some results.  Sure steady-state cardio is great for burning fat, but doesn’t do much for you following your workout.  Shoot for a little more intense workout so you can get the EPOC effect, boosting your metabolism for hours after your workout.  Already do tempo runs, fartlek runs, and sprints?  How about giving mile repeats a try.

For long distance runners, mile repeats can make all the difference in your finish time.  Not only do mile repeats help to increase lactate threshold and V02Max,  but they are EXTREMELY challenging, both mentally and physically (NOTE: for more info on lactate threshold & interval training, see previous post “4 Benefits of Interval Training”).

If you’re not following me on what a mile repeat is, it’s simply running 1 mile either all out or 10-15s faster than your race pace, followed by a set recovery time before you start your next mile.

Example for a “first-time” mile repeater:

1 mile run; 5 minute walking recovery x 4 

For starters, I’d suggest 2-4 repeats with a 5 minute walking recovery.  As you progress, work your way up to 6-8 repeats (obviously depending on upcoming race distance).  Once you’ve mastered that, try taking the recovery time down to 3 minutes.  Just be sure that when you start your next mile, your heartrate has dropped and you’re breathing is back to normal.

Be sure to consume lots of water both during & after the run!

Running Backwards

When incorporating any type of running into a training program, whether it be long distance running or short, intervals, it’s inevitable that some type of issue (small or large) will arise in ones muscular or neuromuscular system.

Some common issues include & are not limited to:

  • Shin splints
  • Tendinitis
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Snapping Hip Syndrome
  • Stress Fractures
  • Patellofemoral Syndrome

Regardless of anything, backwards running is something that should be implemented into any running program.  It creates balance in efforts to avoid minor setbacks such as shin splints.  It is commonly used in a rehab setting, but should also be used in a prehab setting as good maintenance.

From a biomechanical standpoint, backwards running has many differences to walking/running.  When running backwards, most of the muscles that are being shortened during running (forwards), are being stretched (lengthened).  Therefore, we have opposing muscle groups working.  This is a good thing.  Much of the population today has tight hip flexors due to sitting for hours on the job.  Running only tightens them more.  In backwards running, your hip flexors get a break as they no longer are in a flexed (shortened) position, but instead are being lengthened.  There is also a reduction in the compressive forces that exist in the patellofemoral joint in backwards compared to forward running.

To run properly & efficiently, attenion should be paid to the 3 B’s:

  • Big Toe
  • Butt (glutes)
  • Belly (abdominals)

Running backwards is a great way to train these muscles.  The toes are the first to touch the ground therefore the load placed on then here is great to strengthen them.  In the backwards swing phase, it is the glutes that are activating to accelerate the swing into extension.  This allows strengthening of the glute complex and stretching of the hip complex.  In addition, your abdominals must work harder and in a different manner to stay upright while running backwards.

I would suggest starting out walking backwards first, then once you feel comfortable with that, try picking up the speed a little bit and jog.

References: 

Running Backwards by Michol Dalcourt