45 minutes, 60 minutes, 75 minutes

So many runners are addicted to their 60 minute run. It makes sense in the 60-70 mile a week program to go out for a 60 minute run on your easy days.

But I would argue that most athletes are better off taking that 60 minutes and devoting 5 minutes to the Lunge Matrix (LM) and leg swings (see 4:30 mark of this video) before the run, then following the run do a 10 minute General Strength and Mobility (GSM) routine after the run. You only get in a 45 minute run, but you do a warm-up that helps set up the body to run more symmetric and you get not only a hormonal stimulus with the GSM but you also get a the mobility piece which will get your hips neutral when you go and sit during your work day.

For master’s athletes this approach makes so much sense because staying healthy is key and they are coming close to maximizing their aerobic metabolism for all of the years of running leading up to this point.  For the middle school and high school athlete this approach keeps them athletic, keeps them from having over-use injuries and still gives them a 55 minute aerobic stimulus if they go right into the GSM without a break.

But if you don’t like that idea of a 45 minute run on your easy days then consider this one: find 15 minutes in your day to devote to becoming a better runner, which will allow you to do the 5 minutes of LM and leg swings before your 60 minute run.  Then you spend 10 minutes doing GSM.  75 minutes total, and again, if you go right from the 60 minute run into the GSM following your run then you’re getting an aerobic stimulus that is closer to 70 minutes than 60 minutes.


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  • mary doman

    that seems to make sense. i’ve never thought of it that way. thank you!

  • Doug Petrick

    I just came back from hearing Erin Donahue speak to a group of HS kids. This post from Coach Jay touches a major point of emphasis from her talk…Strength+Flexibility making her a better runner. She talked about her athleticism in HS (doing basketball and general strength) enabling her to handle more mileage, more intense training, etc. Moving up the foodchain for her…HS…College…Professional…stength + flexibility enabled her to beat more talented athletes and take on more running work. Great takeaway for runners of all ability levels. Great hearing the same points of emphasis hear too. Coach Jay- thanks for this timely post, looking forward to the clinic!

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Thanks Mary. I hope you can make this change in your approach to training.

  • http://coachjayjohnson.com CoachJay

    Thanks for sharing Doug. If i’m not mistaken, Erin was the ACC Javelin champ her freshman year. Maybe I’m wrong, but bottom line is that she was a good athlete first and foremost.

  • Adam

    Jay this may be a separate discussion/issue, but how can coaches/athletes prevent Lowe leg injuries

  • Adam

    *lower leg

  • Dave chanter

    This really is a no brainier for runners of all levels so give it a try you will reap the benefits

  • Dean Ouellette

    There are at least 2-3 blog posts in that alone. Build a better runner.