“Sometimes running fewer miles goes a long ways in maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with running.” – Rob Krar
Spring’s warmer weather brings runners out in droves to soak up the sun and get some fair-weather miles. But with a burst of training can come a burst tendon. Training too hard after time off can put you right back on the couch.
We asked 2014’s ultra runner of the year and all-around good guy Rob Krar for some tips on how to stay injury-free when you ramp up your mileage.
Related: Rob Krar’s Tips For Ultra-Running
“There is no one way to ramp up mileage: What may be grossly inappropriate for one may be conservative for another. Factors like fitness level, injury history, experience, and goals come into play in planning a healthy and productive — and individual — build up in mileage.” – Rob Krar
Listen To Your Body: “Listen to the feedback both your body and mind are providing and don’t be afraid to take unscheduled days off, even if it means going down in mileage for the week,” he says. “This feedback should be the biggest factor in determining how quickly, or slowly, you ramp up your miles.” Check your energy levels and mood – if you feel extremely fatigued or cranky, or if your resting heart rate is elevated, it’s time to take a day off.
Keep Your End Goals In Mind: “Think long term,” Krar says. “Always remember that patience pays dividends in the long term. As a broad statement, a slower and more gradual approach to building miles is best. No single day, week, or even month determines your long-term outcome.”
Start Slow: “Easing” back into training with hill sprints is a great way to blow out a tendon. “Focus on easy, low intensity runs over the first few weeks before incorporating harder efforts and workouts into your schedule.”
Stick To Your Game Plan: “Keep the hard days hard and the easy days easy,” Krar says. “Resist the urge to drift from this concept.” Even if you’re feeling strong, don’t turn an easy day into a max-effort interval day. If you’re going to stray from your programming, it should be to add a rest day (see tip #1).
Cross-Train: Strong muscles help you maintain good posture and act like a brace around your joints. “Core and strength work goes a long way in preventing injuries. Check out my routine at ultrarunning.com.”
Bonus Tip: Run Happy: As with any work-life balance, keep running in sync with the rest of your life and training. “Always be willing to sacrifice a few miles if it means getting in the smaller things that add up. Things like stretching, strength work, proper nutrition after a harder effort, icing — even sacrificing a few miles to maintain a healthy relationship with a significant other — help you enjoy running,” Krar says.