The Best Run Workouts - Part 1
If your same 30 to 60 minute jogging route is becoming somewhat mundane, try spicing up your run workout with a few of these popular drills and workouts:
Start with a slight incline (3 to 4 degrees) and progress to moderately steeper hills after a few weeks. If you live in the flatlands of the Midwest and the only "hill" is a highway off ramp, this workout can be performed on a treadmill with an incline setting. Assuming your run up lasts for about a minute, repeat the ascent 6 times the first week and add a repeat each week, so after a month you're doing 10. After each climb up, run down with an easy effort and continue to recover with a slow jog at the bottom for 2 to 3 minutes total recovery time (including the descent). Then, head back up. The first two may feel easy, but don't overrun them; otherwise the last two will become more difficult than they should.
Monitoring Your Stride
Finding the right jogging stride is likely the most important factor to having a long and injury-free running career. People who over-stride (i.e., step too far forward) often end up with nagging knee injuries and/or calf problems. Take too many tiny steps and your ankles and metatarsals become prone to maladies. To ensure that your stride-length is proper, start counting steps. During your run, count the number of times your right foot strikes the ground in 15 seconds. If it's 21 to 25 times, you're right on. Less than 21 single-foot strikes and your stride is too long. More than 25 is inefficient too. Repeat the count several times over the course of your run and try to keep it at "blackjack" (i.e., 21). No matter whether you are running on a flat, incline, or descent, maintaining this prescribed cadence will not only help prevent injury, but also will maximize your efficiency and performance.
Straights and Turns
To be continued-