Some bodies are lean and long and flexible. Other bodies are stout and powerful. There are bodies that are firm and strong. At the outset, all bodies must prepare for the movement, impact, and duration of running.
Running starts with the feet, moves through ligaments and bones and joints, is controlled by muscles, and is held together by the core. Each of these must be conditioned at the beginning of a running practice.
Condition for three weeks prior to running. Continue conditioning exercises as part of a running practice.
Ashtanga Yoga’s Suryanamaskara A and Suryanamaskara B wake up, warm up, and strengthen the body and focus the mind. Do these first each day in the morning before eating and after a glass or two of water. (Start the video at 24:10)
Pilates mat routine strengthens the core. Do this every other day. (The video is a demo of each exercise.)
Jump rope barefoot up to five sets of 200 jumps to strengthen the feet and ankles, improve endurance, and prepare the body for the impact associated with running. Do this on opposite days to the Pilates mat routine.
Up to three sets of 25 jump squats, three sets of 25 forward lunges, and three sets of 25 backward lunges strengthens and lengthens the kinetic chain and largest muscle group in the body to protect from injury and the weakness in the back of the leg that is commonly associated with distance running. Do this every day. Once the running practice has started, do one set each of these lower leg exercises after each run.
Dropped ankle calf raises in three sets of up to 25 strengthen the calf muscles and prevent Achilles’ tendonitis. Do these every day. Once the running practice has started, do one set of this exercise after each run.
Do a variety of dynamic ‘limbering’ exercises – swings, gentle pulls, and kicks – for the arms and legs. Do these every day. Once the running practice has started, do set each these exercises after each run.
Right-over-left/left-over-right stretches where the feet are crossed at the ankles and the body is bent at the waist is a stretch that, when held for up to but no more than 30 seconds on each side after a run prevents shortening and tightening of the piriformis muscle. Do this every day. Once the running practice has started, do this stretch after each run.