Five Favorite Running Articles

Happy Friday! It's my favorite time of the week--the Friday Five linkup with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What! This week's theme is Friday Favorites. I love themes like this that people interpret differently. It's fun to see what favorites everyone chooses!

My husband jokes that if I'm not running, I'm either reading about running or writing about running. I'm sure many of you can relate! Here are five favorite running-related articles I've read recently.

1. How to Use a Heart Rate Monitor, Runner's World. This is an old article that I recently found while looking for an accurate formula for calculating maximum heart rate. I started training by heart rate to ensure I'm running my easy runs easy enough and hard runs hard enough so that I get the different physiological benefits from those different types of training. To train by heart rate you need to know your max heart rate, and it turns out that the formula I was using (220-age) isn't very accurate. This article gives a more accurate formula, ranges for different workouts and different race distances, and some workouts to try.

2. 6 Steps to Injury-Free Running, Runner's World. Sports doctor Jordan Metzl is a big advocate of strength training, and I've done his Iron Strength workout on the RW site. It's very tough! It focuses on much of what he advocates for injury prevention--plyometrics, strengthening the butt, single-leg exercises. I've taken a break from plyometrics in my current strength training routine because they're so hard, but this article convinced me to add even a few back in until I start my next routine. So hello again, single-leg squat jumps!

3. A Runner's Guide to Connective Tissue, Running Times. While not the sexiest of titles, this is a great article that explains how the connective tissue--essentially the glue that holds your body together--plays a role in injuries and how to build your connective tissue to stay injury-free. I have firsthand experience with this. My only major running injury so far was hip pain I got in 2012. A friend of mine who taught yoga suggested that I do yin yoga every day to heal it, and then continue doing it once a week to prevent additional injuries. Yin yoga is much different from the flow type of yoga most people know. Yin yoga involves holding very deep stretches for a very long time, typically five minutes or longer. The poses apply stress to the connective tissue—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—and strengthen them. After a week of doing daily yin yoga, my hip pain was gone. When I experienced hip pain again a year later after running hard in a race, daily yin yoga again healed my hip. I continue doing it once a week for injury prevention, and I haven't had another major injury (I do this DVD). It wasn't until I read this article that I realized how important connective tissue is to injury prevention.

4. It's All in Their Heads: The Mental Edge of Athletes Who Win, This article profiles different athletes, including three endurance athletes, to learn how they train for mental toughness. Continuing to push hard when my inner critic is telling me I can't go on is one thing I need to work on, and this article has some great tips.

5. My Sister, the Runner?, Runner's World. This article from the January RW issue has to be one of my favorite stories. It's hilarious! The author tries to help his sister--a fiery, opinionated, anti-running woman--run her first 5K. I laughed the whole way through. One example is when he asks her why she is running in handmade Italian leather boots. She replies: “First, because they’re fancy and well made. And second, because I spit on running shoes! They’re ugly and they’re gross. I hate the way Americans wear them in Europe and everyone can tell they’re Americans. They’re so aesthetically wrong!” Then she concedes that she tried on running shoes at a store and admits they felt pretty good. Ha! This is a must-read!

Do you like reading about running? Any good articles you've read recently?

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