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Thanks to Richard Airey for taking time to answer audience questions in our #RealKnowledge Twitter chat! If you missed it, here are some of the reader questions we received during the chat and Richard’s answers.
1. What are some of your tips for staying injury-free as a runner? Do you have any injury stories yourself?
- Having solid mechanics is first and foremost and always build up volume and intensity gradually.
- The worst injury I’ve ever had was a stress fracture in my left femur in 2002.
2. Ouch! Any recovery tips for runners who are dealing with injuries?
- Don’t accept rest as the cure. Find the flaw in mechanics, fix the movement and strengthen the area.
3. What are some telltale signs of poor technique/mechanics?
- Aches and pains in your ankles, shins, knees, IT band, and lower back.
- Pain is our body’s way of telling us we’re not moving properly.
4. Speaking of achy muscles, what do you recommend for mobility/recovery work? Esp. for long-distance runners?
- I’m a big fan of ice baths for recovery. I also use SFH fish oil and recovery formula post-workout.
- For mobility I’ll foam roll and stretch for 30 minutes before bed.
5. Do you follow any particular diet or nutrition guidelines?
- I try to eat as clean as possible as often as possible. Fruits, veggies, lean protein and healthy fats.
6. What’s your running etiquette pet peeve?
- When other runners don’t reply when I say good morning to them.
7. In your article you mention you like a high weight/low rep scheme. Why is this a good approach for runners?
- Too often endurance strength programs focus on muscular endurance, low reps with heavier weight use different energy systems.
- Endurance athletes will benefit greatly from training in all energy systems.
8. Any favorite strength training exercises for endurance athletes?
- For athletes new to strength training I keep it simple: gymnastics, press, squat, and deadlift.
- I’ll also use toys like kettlebells, sand bags, tires, and sleds.
9. What are your thoughts on minimalist/barefoot shoes?
- I’m a fan of the concept and will have my runners do barefoot drills, but I would never have anyone run over 100m barefoot.
- And never on the road.
- Too often people try to switch to barefoot/minimalism without taking the time to do it gradually to avoid injury.
- Minimal or bad mechanics are bad mechanics – no shoe will correct that. You have to practice technique drills to fix it.
10. Very interesting as a strength coach! How well do you feel Olympic lifts transfer for endurance athletes?
- I think Olympic lifts are a great tool but the amount of time needed to teach them properly could be better used.