On the Run: 4 Steps to Putting Your Legs to Work

May 1, 2016

By Krissy Moehl

Photo at right: Medal-winning ultrarunner and running coach, Krissy Moehl puts her strong legs to work on a rocky trail. Photo courtesy of Krissy Moehl


The days are getting longer and warmer and there are plenty of reasons to be outside. One of the best ways to be outdoors this spring is to put your legs to work training for a race.

Here are four great tips on how to get started.

Pick a Race and Train

First, pick a race, register, and tell at least one person you have registered to participate. Having a goal race and accountability to another person is a great first step in firing up the motivation.

Knowing your race is on the horizon will help you lace up your running shoes and hit the road. It will keep you in the mindset that you need to take care of your body, eat healthy and train for the miles.

Mind the Details

Fix the little issues before they become big issues. From muscle tightness to rubbing fabric to light headedness can start as small annoyances. If not attended to they can lead to torn tissue, abraded skin or an energy depletion, also known as a “bonk.”

Listen to what your body is telling you. For example, by stretching, applying anti-chafing glide and consuming calories, it’s easy to manage these little issues before they become big ones.

Variety of Training Activities

Vary your training speed. You need days that focus on a quicker pace as well as recovery days. Constantly increasing your mileage and training pace will lead to breakdown. Building in recovery days and weeks throughout your training will allow your body to absorb the work you have put in and grow stronger.

Likewise, if you always run at a slow recovery pace, you will never see improvements in speed, strength or running ability. By having a variety of training activities, you’ll also be more interested and engaged in your plan.

Balance your training with core strengthening exercises. Runners love to run but only running can become repetitive and cause overuse injuries. To maintain long- term running health, strengthen your whole body by working on abs, low back, glutes, groins and ankles.

Hydrate, Eat and Sleep Well

These three aspects to training are often over-looked as life gets busy. Make these pieces routine through education, preparedness and planning so that you can get the best out of your training and big race.

Get out and enjoy the changing season and put those legs to work! In a short time, you’ll be enjoying the changes you see outside, as well as inside.

Krissy Moehl is the lead coach of the Bellingham branch of Revolution Running. There are more tips and tricks for all distance and experience levels to be found in her first book Running Your First Ultra, published by Page Street Publishing.