Coaching Tip #1 – A Quick Warm-Up for the Busy Runner. Oftentimes we want to just turn our device on, hit the pavement and get those miles in. But the first 10 minutes of any workout, should begin with a light to moderate warm up routine. These technically shouldn’t count towards your mileage (for all you milemongers). If you don’t have a lot of time, then you definitely want to take it easy for the first portion of your run. Allow your blood to circulate and muscles to loosen a bit. After 7-10 minutes, do a few simple stretches.
1. Toe-Touches: straighten your back, bend at the waist, slight bend in your knees and reach for your toes. Hold this for no longer than 10 seconds. This is great for your hamstring and lower back muscles.
2. Quad-Stretch: hold on to a wall or rail nearby. Grab your right foot, with your right hand and pull it back towards your butt. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then switch and do the same with the left leg. You’ll feel this stretch in the front of your thigh and in some cases hip-flexors.
3. Side-Lunge: point your toes forward, step to the side, leading with your right leg, while keeping your left leg straight and extended. Go down as far as you can until slight discomfort. Hold it for 10 seconds and do the same on the left side. This loosens your hips and groin.
4. High Knees: run in place, driving your knees to your waistline and running your arms in an L-shape. Do this for about 45-60 seconds at a moderate pace. This will get your cardio up and open up your lungs a little.
Overall this process should take no more than 5 minutes. It’s a good way to get your body prepared. Now that you’ve done a few simple stretches you can get into your rhythm and stride a little sooner; giving you more quality miles. Warming up also helps prevent injuries and soreness. Next time you go on a run, take a few minutes to warm-up first. You will definitely feel the difference. Now you may set your device. Remember, quality over quantity.
MEET THE COACHES
Run Through the Pain by Coach Toussaint
My first sports idol was Walter Payton, the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back. Some of my earliest memories consist of playing tackle football with my brothers in the front yard. I was always the youngest and smallest, so I had to be faster and stronger than most kids my age. My parents did not let me play football for the local parks, so I waited until my freshman year at Miami Springs Senior High School to go out for the junior varsity team.
I got a rude awakening. The other kids on the team were so much better than I was. They were faster, stronger and more skilled. So in the spring, I decided to try out for the track team, so that I could get faster. When I came back for my sophomore year, I was in great shape. My coaches recognized it. Track made me a better football player. I then joined the Northwest Express Track Club, located in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami. There, I met Coach Jesse Holt, who was a legendary track coach. Under his coaching, he taught me how to push myself by making practice super competitive. He set such a high standard. The very first practice was the hardest practice of my life. I vomited, but still finished. It took nearly an hour to ride my bicycle one mile home after practice. I contemplated not ever going back. But I stayed on the team. I cut 5 seconds from my 400 and 2 seconds on my hurdles. And I owe it to one particular workout, repeat 500s. We had to run 400 meters at 55 seconds and then sprint the last 100 meters. “You got to run tired!” “You got to run through the pain!” Coach yelled. I can hear him calling out the times as we came through the mark…. “52, 53, 54, 55!” “Now Go!”
And though I eventually earned a scholarship to play corner back at Wayne State College. I know that my work ethic from track helped me to become a stronger athlete. I still incorporate many of Coach Holt’s tips and techniques in my own training to this day. In 2016, Coach Holt (Miami Herald article) died just two weeks before my first marathon. I dedicated my run to him. My goal was 4 hours and I ran it in exactly 4 hours. “You got to run through the pain!”
For the Love of Running by Coach Davis
My love of running started 40 years ago. I was a 14 year old kid from Panama. I became a runner because I was always told how fast I was. Funny statement now! I attended South Shore High School, located in Brooklyn, New York, in the working-class neighborhood of Canarsie. So I tried out for my high school track team and got my ass handed to me. My first practice was a rude awakening, challenging and embarrassing. But, at the same time emotional. After my 3rd day, I knew I belonged. All I was missing was conditioning. Those words came from my coach – Coach Zoda! Someone who believed in me and trained me to several championship races. That’s when running changed me. Why? This was real. I played all kinds of sports but, track opened my eyes. Man! Just traveling to Queens, Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan to compete was life changing. I never imagined being an 800 meter runner. I’m laughing while writing this.
The speed was there! But the speed for me was the course of 2 laps around a 400 meter track. Which, I hated but, became my OUT! One year later I received the team’s MVP Award, Most Improved Runner Award and became the team’s mid-distance record holder. To this day I still recall the tips my coaches give me. “Fight for your position”, “Stay in the top three”, “Make your last 200 meters count”. From this, my love of running was born. This is why I will continue to run, coach and encourage others.