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5 ways to run smarter
Runners should pay attention to their bodies when training and may need to take days of rest.
July 6th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

5 ways to run smarter

After completing more than 150 marathons, running coach Jeff Horowitz got sick of running himself ragged with 70 to 100-mile weeks during training.

In order to avoid injury and burnout, he designed a less-is-more, quality over quantity philosophy in his book "Smart Marathon Training." Adapt some of his principles into your triathlon training program.

1. Ditch the junk miles.

Only add workouts that have a purpose.

“Instead of assuming that squeezing in an extra run is always a good idea, you’re going to refrain from adding in that run unless you can articulate a specific benefit that would come from doing it,” Horowitz writes.

The same applies to your swim, bike or strength workouts. For marathon training, he suggests a max of 35 miles per week using three purposeful workouts (speed or hills, tempo, long run), cross-training twice per week and strength training/drills two or three times per week.

Triathlete: The secrets to running downhill fast

2. Look out for signs of fatigue.

Horowitz suggests establishing your average resting heart rate by checking it in the morning on three consecutive “normal” days.

If it’s elevated one day (say 10% more than average) your body might be telling you it needs a rest day.

Another sign of fatigue? If it takes you longer than 10 minutes to fall asleep.

3. Embrace the hills.

“[Hill running] builds power and explosive strength. Running up is really a series of short, one-legged squats,” Horowitz writes.

Triathlete: The first four steps to improving your run

Plus, running uphill is easier on the knees, ankles, hips, etc. If that’s not enough, hills can also improve running form and economy — because you can’t overstride!

4. Use your long run to perfect technique.

Monitor your form in training and you’ll be able to do the same in your race, Horowitz writes.

Count your cadence and aim for 180 steps per minute, listen to your foot strike to ensure it’s quiet, check if you’re slouching and if so, tighten your core muscles.

5. Build a runner’s body.

“Think of your body as a powerful platform... with attached appendages to perform necessary work,” Horowitz writes. “These appendages — the arms and legs — move around but they are only able to work effectively if they’re grounded by a solid base.”

That base is your core. Horowitz suggests doing functional strength exercises and core work at least twice a week.


soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Raul

    This is not new. The book,Run less, Run faster,suggest this type of training.Only 3 times a week and cross training in between. It works though.

    July 6, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      Yes it does! and love that book

      July 10, 2012 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
  2. Axes

    Jené, please explain to me your technique on downhill running? And, Embracing the Hills – wasn't that a Julie Andrews movie?

    July 6, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Axes

    Jené:thousand pardons!
    I meant :
    Jeff, etc...now he's got one comment too many in the box.
    Gotta run now...

    July 6, 2012 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Dan

    god advice

    July 6, 2012 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dan

    I meant Good advice cant wait to appy this to my work outs!

    July 6, 2012 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Axes

    I think Dan's workout is lifting beer cans. Or, maybe he's a bottle-man?

    Jeff, where are you?
    Is running considered a workout?
    And, what about my "downhill" question? Please answer – I'm stuck!

    July 7, 2012 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ARandomGirl

    Could be useful. I am running a half mathon in November, so I will definitly try to use these tips.

    July 8, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LIFT HEAVY AND TAKE A MULTI

    "Another sign of fatigue? If it takes you longer than 10 minutes to fall asleep."

    Calling BS on this one. What sort of study was even conducted to conclude this result? Strong broscience.

    July 9, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. buyfoldingtreadmill

    Horowitz suggestion of doing functional strength exercises and core work at least twice a week should bring in to practice. This seems really important. Thanks for sharing this great post.

    July 11, 2012 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. larry5

    The best thing many beginning runners can do is lose weight. And don't depend on running to lose that weight. Don't eat a lot of energy stuff now, just because you've become a runner, either. Ditch the thick sole over padded running shoes and consider going to a store that has real runners and real help in picking out a shoe. That discount store with shoes on sale and that bargain table might just lead to the biggest mistake you make in your quest to become a real runner. Running is fun, honest. As a beginner, when your run that day becomes a struggle, you're done. Carry energy to the next workout, not frustration and exhaustion.

    July 23, 2012 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. larry5

    One more thing. Don't run like the guy in the middle of the picture in the red shorts. Don't over stride and land on your heal with a leg that is extends and locked in a straight line. Ouch. Look at the other two runners. They've got it correct.

    July 23, 2012 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
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