Marathon Training 2019 Day 13: Importance of Adding Variety to Your Running

June 16 pic 4 variety medium version“Variety is what I would recommend: As variety is the spice of life in food, so it is in exercise. Change it up. But most of all, don’t overdo it.” = Martina Navratilova

Today’s run was a “long run” of ~52 minutes in a primarily flat area, which included both roads and trails. I recommend you incorporate variety in where you run to help keep you motivated and it can be helpful for the rest of your body. I discuss more on this in the Tip of the Day. After my run I did the following exercises:

  • Leg swings forward and back with both straight and bent leg (10 repetitions of each for each leg)
  • Leg swings side-to-side with both straight and bent leg (10 repetitions of each for each leg)
  • Single-leg stand (~30 seconds for each leg)
  • Pushups (10 repetitions)
  • Monster walks side-to-side and forward and back (done with resistance band, 10 repetitions for each direction)
  • Prone planks (~35 seconds)
  • Side planks (~25 seconds)
  • Supine planks (~20 seconds)
  • Clamshells (20 repetitions on each side)
  • Y, T, I, and W (10 repetitions for each position)
  • Double leg hip bridges (10 repetitions)
  • Quadrupeds (15 repetitions on each side)
  • Toe yoga (10 cycles)
  • Fire hydrants (10 repetitions on each side)
  • Knee circles forward (10 repetitions for each leg)
  • Knee circles backward (10 repetitions for each leg)
  • Single-leg balance (~30 seconds for each leg)

After this I did foam rolling for quads/hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves for ~10 minutes.

Recommendation: For today’s run, I recommend performing a dynamic warm-up and then running at an easy pace in a flat area for 30-55 minutes, depending on your running experience, goals, and time off from running. You might add some variety to today’s run, such as running on hard-packed trails, if you usually run on roads. I also recommend performing the exercises above immediately after your run and then performing a cool-down of your choice.

Tip of the Day: Incorporate variety in your runs, including where you run and the surface that you run on.  I really enjoy exploring new trails!  I highly recommend not doing all of your runs on the road, and instead, do some on hard-packed trails. This can be significantly less impactful on your joints and may require you to be more focused, so that you don’t trip on any rocks or roots in the trail.  There have been times when I’m on trials when I’ve nearly stepped on a snake, so fortunately I was focused on the trail in front of me! You might also want to incorporate some hills. However, for the first 8-12 weeks do your runs in flat areas, as much as possible. The primary benefits of variety in your runs include preventing boredom, reducing the risk of injury because you spread the stress throughout more of your body, and varying the forces you engage with, so that you train on a deeper level, instead of being on autopilot during your runs. Finally, variety challenges your brain forcing it to change the way it communicates with your muscles, which will allow you to run more efficiently and powerfully from then on.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Embrace variety in your life!

Your friend and coach,


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