It’s marathon season here in New York, an inspiring time where we’ll frequently see runners in the park, on the streets, and along the river. We were inspired by our friend Gerard Harry‘s journey on and off the track, and knew that if anyone can give some tips for beginners to thrive, it was Gerard himself.
Read Gerard tips below to improve runs outside, and understand the purpose of 4 very popular runner’s stretches you see often.
“Think of your body as a car, and your heart as the engine, it’s important to get both warmed up before you hit the road running. Any athlete will tell you that the body needs to get started up before any type of workout, especially running. Stretching is crucial for any athlete or runner, too. I advise doing some pre-run stretches before you head out.
Whenever I do this stretch, it leads me to a longer stride for faster, more efficient running. I’m able to loosen up my legs because it targets the back of my legs, thighs, and of course, hamstrings. I normally do this right before dynamic stretches like high knees and butt kicks.
High knees get the blood in your body going! This stretch will also help with your running form. When you include this into your warm up routine, you will develop strength and endurance of the hip flexor which is the muscles that lift the knees during running strides. High knees also strengthen your quads and all of these benefits lead to a longer stride for faster, more efficient running. This particular stretch focuses on the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves. And I normally do this right after my 10-minute warm up jog, once my body knows it’s time to get moving.
Butt Kicks are always fun to do because it fires and loosens up the hamstrings to help prevent injury. I do these right after my 10-minute warm up jog as part of my series of pre- workout drills, which includes high knees. This stretch always guarantees a kick ass workout!
If you’re looking to develop explosive leg power during your run, this stretch is for you. It helps reduce lower back pain and stiffness that I sometimes experience from running and training. Step-ups train explosiveness of the leg muscles, which increases lower body strength and make you faster. This is also a great exercise for your lower back and legs. When my body is tired, I usually do these after my run for endurance and to also train my legs to finish strong towards the end of a race.
Whether you’re running indoors or outside, what you wear can affect your performance. If you’re like me and enjoy running outdoors, the key is to dress for your body temperature opposed to the weather temperature. Our bodies tend to rise up approximately 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature outside, so if it is 60 degrees outside you should dress as if it were 80 degrees. Seasonally in NYC, I adhere to this rule because it helps me run at my best.
As an athlete, my biggest fear after any run/workout is being dehydrated so you need to constantly refuel with water. After every run or workout, my hydration of choice is CORE because of the many balanced pH and electrolytes and minerals. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, headaches, feeling overheated, exhaustion, dry skin and more. These are all things that can affect your body negatively in the long run, so hydration is key as soon as I finish a work-out or run.”