Guest blogging this week is running coach Jen Vieth. Check out her article on getting the most out of your run.

So we all know the miraculous act of running involves placing one foot in front of the other and pushing off in a forward motion. Easy right? But most people don’t think about the impact of what they do before and after a run on their overall running. So, think of it this way, if running is the activity at the center of it all, like the veggie patty is in your veggie burger, then I want to talk about the bun. Specifically the top part of bun, your pre-run, and the bottom part of the bun, your post-run.

Let’s start at the beginning, and talk about what to do before and why! You should start with a dynamic warmup. A dynamic warmup prepares your body for the demands of running by increasing core body temperature, improving range of motion, and boosting blood flow to major running muscles such as your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Performing the following exercises for 5 minutes before you take stride helps your brain, lungs, heart, and muscles get ready for the task of running. You probably already know and do some of them:

Pre-Run Dynamic Warmup

  1. Traveling lunges
  2. Frankenstein walks-think arms out like Frankenstein and straight leg kick your legs up to your outstretched hands
  3. Lateral lunges
  4. Butt kicks
  5. High knees
  6. Toe raises
  7. Side step shuffles
  8. Leg swings.

Now you are ready to roll!

I always suggest starting your run out slow and building up to your comfortable pace.

Done with running?  Now onto foam rolling and static stretching. Personally, after my runs my brain is catapulting into the next activity of my day. Taking 5-8 minutes to roll and stretch is more challenging than the actual run.  But when it’s done, pure accomplishment is attained, like a burger that has both buns! So what is a foam roller? It’s a firm foam log that looks like a pool noodle. Its purpose is to improve circulation and break up knots that limit mobility. You use the roller over muscles using your own body weight to apply direct pressure over a few areas of concern, such as IT band, calves, quads, hamstrings, and piriformis. Here is a great little video series from Runners World to show you how use a foam roller properly:

After a few minutes of foam rolling, your body is now primed for a good stretch session. The act of stretching works to improve flexibility and range of motion, while helping reduce your chance of injury and soreness.

Take a few minutes to work through these static stretches:

  1. Standing Hip Flexor stretch: Here are some hip stretches:
  2. Quad and Calf stretch:
  3. Piriformis stretch:

With a little effort pre- and post-run, you will not only improve your running but you will increase the likelihood that you will remain injury free.

Jen Vieth
She Runs, Creator

Jen went to Fairfield University where she skied downhill/slalom, taught step aerobics classes and studied for her Accounting degree. Upon graduation she entered the finanacial field at Merrill Lynch in downtown Manhattan. The high stress environment tried to drain much of her positive energy, so when Jen became a mom in 2004 she tried to find balance between work and family and fitness was taking on a new focus in her life. She resigned from her job in 2007 to begin a new career and became the lead run coach for Run With The Girls. She has now created her own running club, called She Runs.

She Runs is based out of Monmouth County and welcomes any female runner who wishes to learn or improve her run. No fees to join in on the Saturday morning group runs; just come with a smile and positive attitude. She Runs offers structured, and reasonably priced, training programs for 5k, 5 mile (BATB training), 10 mile, 10k and half marathons all written by Jen who is an RRCA Run Certified Coach, NASM Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist, ACE Group Fitness Instructor and NASM Primary Sports Nutritionist. Email Jen for more information.