10 Online Resources To Help You Become A Better Runner

Running is easy right? Just step out the door and go. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to make things complicated, but there are numerous online resources available to you if you want to take your running up a notch and become a better runner.

I’m not saying necessarily a faster runner, just better because you’ll have access to your data, training routines, injury prevention tips and more.

So what are these online resources? These are some of the websites I visit on a daily basis that I know will definitely help you as well. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Become A Better RunnerPhoto Credit: amira_a via Compfight cc

LetsRun.com – You can find running news, race recaps, videos and more on here. The main thing I like is the message board. Sometimes they get a bit ridiculous, but I have found great tips on there, whether it’s about shin splints or what marathon I should run next. Go through the board and you’ll find a topic relating to you. The only thing I don’t like is the automatic video that plays when you’re on the site.

FloTrack – This is my all time favorite website for running inspiration. Here, you can find running news, race videos, interviews with runners ranging from high school to elite, and more. One of my favorite features is their Workout Wednesday videos, where they follow a runner or team for a workout. It always gets me pumped to go for a run! I just showed this one to my XC team before a meet and now they love Mary Cain:

Watch more videos on Flotrack

MapMyRun – I’m sure you’ve all heard of this one. I always use it to map out new routes and check mileage. The one feature I’ve been using more often is seeing what other people have mapped out in my area. It has led me to discover some new running routes!

Runner’s World/Running Times – I think both magazines are under the same umbrella? Not sure but either way both are good resources for running related info. While I feel like Runner’s World (magazine) can get a bit redundant, sometimes I find some great stuff on their website, especially their injury prevention videos. I also like their SmartCoach tool. Even though I haven’t used it, I have used to create a general outline of a training plan – and many people have had good reviews about it as well.

STACK – I love watching the training videos on here. You can find them based on your goals (strength, get faster, etc.) or sport. Each article has a how-to video with it, making it easy to implement into your routine. Feeling some knee pain? Try these tips.

DailyBurn – So much great information in one place. I found out more about DailyBurn through Theodora, and now regularly read their articles. Whether you’re looking for nutritional information, recipes, running tips, marathon tips, or more, you will find it here. I’ve regularly referred to their best marathons and half marathons posts to decide what race I should do next :)

Athlinks - Athlinks is a great tool to keep track of all your racing times. You can “claim” your races, and have all of your times all in one spot. Mine date back to 2008 or something! You can also track other people, connect with athletes, and find events. I mainly like it because I can look back on my previous times in past years.

RunningInTheUsa.com – Looking for an upcoming half marathon in Nevada in April? Well you can find that on this website. This is my go-to when looking for marathons/half marathons. I’ve been using it a lot to determine what spring race I will do (still undecided). I like that you can find any distance race anywhere!

DailyMile - I don’t use this as much as I should/used to but I still love it. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but it’s a website to track your workouts. Many use it for running, but you can also track other workouts as well like cycling, lifting, etc. I liked it because it’s social media specifically for runners! I can talk about running all day long and no one will get annoyed, like my Facebook friends might ;) If you’re on there, add me! I will try to update more often.

#runchat – I can’t really link to this one but if you’re on Twitter then you need to be following this hashtag. I’ve connected with so many other runners AND had runners give me tips and advice when I used the hashtag. You can find some great info this way and speak to other runners going through the same stuff as you are. Just search it when you have extra time and go through the tweets…I’m sure you will connect with someone :)

So which one of these do you use regularly? Or never knew about? If you have one not on the list, leave a comment please so I can check it out!


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 11

Last week I was sick for the first half of the week…so a few runs did not happen. But I do want to talk about what I did do!

Wednesday: Easy 4 mile run with my XC team. Well, easy for them, not for me. I was still pretty stuffy and mucous-y so I felt weak towards the end. But oh well, got it done.

Afterwards, I went to a yoga class with two friends. I bought a Groupon for a local studio in Morristown, NJ called Be Well. Classes are about 6-10 people. I was really excited for this because I have never done yoga in an actual yoga studio. I’ve done yoga videos and lululemon community classes but never in a studio.

The class we were taking was a “strength” class, and yeah it was hard! We practiced a bit of crow pose which I still can’t do. Ugh! Meanwhile my friend easily gets into it and gets up into a headstand…and it was her first yoga class! My two yoga goals are crow pose and to be able to hold a hand stand.

Anyway, the class was great. It was a good combo of stretching and strength work, especially in the lower body. My hamstrings were pretty sore for a few days. I’m excited to continue doing yoga and see where it takes me.

Thursday: No run – worked until 8 pm.

Friday: 7.5 mile run. This run went really well. It was a very hilly run…up and down and up and down. But my mom and I maintained a consistent pace throughout. There was one hill that was definitely at least a half mile long if not longer. But you just gotta keep cruising along and not think about it.

It’s crazy to me how a little over 2 months ago I could barely finish 3 miles, and now 7.5 miles “ain’t no thang.” Well it is challenging but I remember my first 3 mile run I honestly didn’t think I could finish. 

Oh and I won PRO Compression socks through Coco! I wore them on my long run because my shins have been giving me trouble and they fit perfectly. So cozy and snug.



Great 7.5 mile run! (Finished the .17 after I stopped run keeper) pretty hilly run but glad we averaged about 10/mile! Also, love my new @procompression socks!!! Bright pink is what I’m all about


Philly Half Marathon Training Week 10

Wow I’m at week 10 already! I realize that my training recaps will be longer than a usual half marathon training program. That’s because training for this half isn’t my only goal. Marc and I started working together with the goal of breaking my 5K PR and getting faster…and hopefully running a half marathon PR too! I’m recapping the weeks of training that lead up to this half, but it isn’t necessarily a half marathon training plan. Does that make sense?

Okay here’s what I did last week:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 5×2:30 min. at 5K goal pace (8:00-8:10) with 2 min. jog in between, 1 mile cool down. This was tough but felt really good! My mom and I did this on the track so we could keep track of our pace and distance better.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Ran an easy 4 miles with a friend.

Friday: 8 miles. Longest run since last November!! We felt really good even though it was a hilly route. Averaged 10:15 per mile. I sped up the last mile and ran in 9:09. Great fall run :)



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I did my long run on Friday because Saturday I had a XC meet in PA, so our bus left at 6:30 AM. Once I got back I went right to Rutgers for the football game against Michigan. Our first Big 10 win!



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So yeah no running on Saturday.

Sunday: Didn’t run. I had felt a tickle in my throat on Friday and by Sunday I was just feeling pretty sick and congested. Well, I still am because I took a sick day today.

At least today is a “cross training” day so I don’t feel as guilty skipping it. I just feel so stuffy and tired. My eyelids feel so heavy. I’m all about resting when you need to – no need to force in workouts.

How was your weekend? Anything fun? Next weekend is me and Dan’s 6 year anniversary :-O!


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What We Can Learn From Shalane Flanagan’s American Record Attempt

This past weekend, Shalane Flanagan went for the American Record at the Berlin Marathon. She needed to run below a 2:19:36 (crazy town). Although she didn’t get it, she did run a 2:21:14, and ran 48 seconds faster than her personal best.

Shalane FlanaganPhoto source

In April, she also ran the Boston Marathon (I was there!), and led most of the way, running at a blistering pace. She didn’t win, but she ran the fastest time an American woman has run at Boston, and many of the women who ran that race (and who ran Berlin), ran PRs.

The winner of the Boston Marathon, Rita Jeptoo, ran a course record that day (by almost two minutes!!). Furthermore, the second and third place females also ran under the course record.

So what’s my point? My point is that elite runners are able to break through mental barriers. When Shalane set a pace, other women went after it no fear. They knew they were running faster than their personal record pace but went for it anyway. That’s why so many ran below the fastest course time in Boston. They didn’t doubt their abilities.

Here’s a great quote Shalane gave in an interview about Rita Jeptoo in that race:

Rita gave me credit again at the awards ceremony that night, and credited me with her record run and she said she actually didn’t want to run that fast early on, and I think she was a bit frustrated. But she told me she couldn’t let me go. If she gave me any room, she may not make it up. It was too much of a gamble, so she just had to stick with the pace.

Shalane is known for racing hard and “wanting to hurt” in races. She’s not afraid to go out fast. All of these elites aren’t afraid of going out fast and working for it. I want that kind of grit when it comes to racing, especially in longer distances.

PS – She was aiming for 5:19 mile splits when trying to get that American Record. So crazy to me!!

I admire that she laid it all on the line and told the media exactly what her goals were. Sometimes I’m afraid to do that for fear of not meeting those goals, or being WAY off.

I want to learn how to be mentally strong in races like those elite runners. Running really is a mental sport.

Sure, in marathons (and in training) your legs get tired and achy, but sometimes it really is all about your mental fortitude. Can you push through and ignore your body being tired? When you start thinking, “I can’t do this,” can you immediately stop and switch your mentality?

In future races I’m going to think back on Shalane’s races and be motivated to push through. A good analogy I read recently was this: Squeeze your fist as hard as you can. Now squeeze harder. You could squeeze harder couldn’t you? Same thing goes for pushing your body. You can probably push harder when you think you can’t.

Now I’m really pumped for my next 5K and especially my half marathon in November!!

Have you watched any of Shalane’s recent races? She is one of my main running inspirations!


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 9 + 5K Race Recap

Another great week of training in the books! And another good 5K race yesterday. Now it’s time to start adding more weekly mileage so I’m ready for this half marathon in November. 

Here’s this week’s training:

Monday: Was supposed to do a lifting session but took an off day.

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 10×1 minute at 5K pace with 1 min jog in between, 1 mile cooldown. Was running about 8 min. pace and felt really good!

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 mile run + strength training. It was raining so we had to run indoors. I really hate the treadmill for steady runs, so I decided to add in some strength too. Here’s the workout we (my mom and I) did after a 1 mile warm up:

Friday: 6 mile run. Had to do my longer run on a Friday because I knew I wasn’t doing it Saturday (Rutgers football game) and Sunday we wanted to run a 5K. Felt great! We did a tempo run of sorts. 3 miles at easy pace, then last 3 miles at 9:24, 9:30 and 9:09. 

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 5K Race – 28:36. Recap below.

5K Race Recap

This race was the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer 5K. I really did not like the organization of this 5K. And I feel really bad saying that because it was for such a good cause but this race could be improved. 

First of all,  the race was set to start at 10:30 AM but didn’t actually start until 11:00. It was already 80 degrees by that time. I feel like if you set a start time, you need to stick to it. People show up expecting that time, and what if you’re warmed up and then have to wait around an extra 30 minutes? Am I alone in this?

They started late because they were giving out awards for top fundraisers, which is great. Definitely good to acknowledge those people. But you need to do that either earlier than the start time or after the race. 

Second, the walkers were supposed to start at 10, and runners at 10:30. But everyone started together. They released the walkers about 5 minutes before the runners and simply told them to stay to the right to let runners pass. Most of the race was on a paved sidewalk. What sense does it make to have walkers go out first and take up sidewalk space? Because many who were with friends didn’t stay to the side – runners had to say excuse me or squeeze through. Walkers should go after runners in my opinion.

Now for the pros – besides that, they had great food and a live band afterwards. They also gave out gold, silver and bronze medals to winners/age group winners. I think they just need to work on organization a bit more.

Okay besides all that, here’s how we did: 

Despite the heat and a huge hill in mile 1 which wiped me out, I still finished only 3ish seconds slower than my last 5K a few weeks ago (which was the faster 5K I’ve ran in probably over a year). I took about 3 walk breaks, so I’m really happy with the time I got. I think that on a cool day and flat course I could run under 28 minutes – but I guess we have to wait and see!

I also won 3rd in my age group! My mom took this candid of me :)

5k Race

My next 5K will probably be sometime in mid-October. I really hope I can break my 5K PR of 25:43 before this season is over! Here’s one last picture of my mom and I post-race:

Have you ran any races recently? What’s your favorite distance/PR?


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 8

I can’t believe I’ve been consistently running for 8 weeks now! No joke, I had not really ran since last year’s NYC Marathon. My mom and I were just talking about how we can’t take an elongated running break like that again. Starting from zero seriously sucks. And we do really want to start working towards a BQ…even if it is years away ;)

This past week went really well! Here’s my training:

Monday: Planned – XT + strength training, Actual – nothing. Felt SO exhausted today. Ever have those days? No energy. Oops.

Tuesday: Track workout – 8×400 meters. We did a 1.5 mile warm up, then the repeats in 2:05-2:06. Last one was 1:57. Half mile cooldown. Felt really good. The last few were tough but I love track workouts. Track workouts > long runs, any day! I saw this on the bulletin board inside my high school and thought I’d share…I certainly need to read this on my lazy days:

 Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 3 easy miles. I also did strength training after which included squats, deadlifts, cable rows, tricep rope pulls, ANNNDDDD I did 3 unassisted pull-ups!! Sure I had to take a break in between each one but still!!!

Friday: Planned – XT Actual – nothing. Ended up going shopping with my mom…sue me ;)

Saturday: Planned – 7 mile long run, Actual – 6 miles. We explored a new park and it was absolutely beautiful. We just didn’t know it closed at 6 pm, so we got kicked out before we could finish 7 miles. 6 miles will have to do!

Sunday: Easy 3 miles. I was really dreading this run. I honestly debated on even going, thinking “Do 3 miles really matter?” Then I remembered my mom and I talking about how we need to be more consistent if we want to work towards a faster marathon next year. And I thought about other runners I see on Instagram and how they get it done. So I laced up my shoes and went. And surprisingly, felt awesome!! Isn’t that how it always is? You dread a run but then end up feeling unstoppable? Moral of the story: get out there even when you really don’t want to ;)

I’m excited to keep getting faster and fitter with Coach Marc! I think I’m running another 5K mid-October, then a 10K in early November before the half marathon.

What’s on your training docket this week?

Can you do unassisted pull-ups? If so, I’m jealous!! I’m working on doing continuous pull-ups :)


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That Time I Met World Champion & Olympian Jenny Simpson

I never in a million years thought I’d be able to go for a run with and get coffee with an elite runner. My “runspirations” are Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Jenny Simpson…who I met last week!!!

It all started when I met her at the 2012 5th Avenue mile. I watched her race and was right by the finish line so when I saw her I figured I’d ask for a picture. I remember her being super nice about it.

Then, she started following me on Twitter (!!) and we interacted a few times. I reached out to her a few months ago to see if she could do a quick email interview for my blog, which she did. Read it here for some great running advice from a pro!

After the interview she said to keep in touch once 5th Ave. Mile came by again, so I went out on a limb and emailed her 2 weeks ago to see if she’d like to meet up for coffee and/or a short run since she’d be in NYC. To my own surprised she emailed back and said sure! I was so pumped!

So we met up on Thursday before the race (Saturday) at her hotel and went for a short 1 mile run through Central Park to the coffee shop. It was so cool and she was so nice and down to earth – it felt like running with a friend.

We talked about so much ranging from sneakers to travel to Rio De Janeiro to her epic race where she fell at the finish (and needed stitches). Here are a few key points I remember:

  • Pros take off after a season too. 5th Avenue Mile was her last race of the season so she is now taking 2 weeks off from running. She said she struggles getting back into it once those 2 weeks are over and feels just as out of shape and sore as us regular runners do when we take running breaks.
  • Her long runs are 15 miles (and she runs the 1,500-3K…clearly I need to be running longer since I’m half marathon training!)
  • She loves long run days. We chatted about how I like track workouts and am not a fan of long runs but she likes just getting up, going out for a run and not having to think about pace or anything.
  • When she runs in the AM she gets up, stretches and is out the door. She does dynamic warm-ups before workouts. Good – because that’s what I do too!
  • She’s a fan of Roll Recovery and suggested it to me for my shin issues. I should look into it. Currently I’m a fan of the Rumble Roller.
  • She had to get stitches after her win in Zurich when she fell. If you haven’t seen the race, check it out here:

  • She doesn’t do as many double days as Kara Goucher (who’s a marathoner). She runs doubles probably twice a week.
  • Her husband runs a marathon each year and she suggested checking out Chicago Marathon because they have a great atmosphere. She wasn’t a fun of the LA Marathon.
  • Eventually maybe she will do a half or full marathon. That’d be cool to see!
  • She’s also inspired by Kara and Shalane and we talked about Shalane’s awesome performance at the Boston Marathon.

That’s all I can think of right now but it was a great conversation. Now I can say I have run with an Olympian! I’m sure my pace was like walking pace for her ;)

So yeah, this was definitely an awesome experience, and thanks to Jenny for agreeing to hang out with me. Feeling inspired and motivated now with regards to running…now if only I could run a 4:20 mile like she just did at the 5th Avenue Mile…

PS – She won the 5th Ave. Mile this past weekend. I wish I could have been there, the field had some great runners like Brenda Martinez, Jordan Hasay, Mary Cain and more!

What athlete would you like to run or workout with if you could?

Who is an athlete who inspires you?


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 6

Skipped some runs this week, not gonna lie, but had an awesome long run yesterday and am feeling good! Last week was incredibly busy for me so I did what I could.

Here’s how last week went:

Monday: Scheduled –> 35 min. XT + 25 min. strength. Actual –> Took off. 

Tuesday: Scheduled–> 3 mile fartlek run. Actual –> I took a 45 minute. battle ropes/tabata class as part of my SweatPink ambassadorship, so I counted it as XT…stay tuned for the review!

Wednesday: Scheduled –> Day off. Actual –> Obviously took off ;)

Thursday: Scheduled –> 3 mile run. Actual –> 2 mile run + lifting. Felt awful. The heat and humidity got to me AND I was not the best with nutrition that day. Let’s just say the night before I ate multiple cookies, and during the day on Thursday I had multiple cookies…what a horrible run. Can you tell I have a sugar problem? We did lift so at least that got done!

We did:

  • Bench press
  • DB squats
  • DB deadlift
  • DB reverse lunges
  • Cable tricep pressdown
  • One arm cable rows

Friday: Scheduled –> 3 mile run. Actual –> 3 mile run. Felt good despite the humidity. Actually felt really good. It was a later run (7 pm) so that might be why. I also had my first XC meet as a coach this day and it went well! So proud of my runners. Here is part of the men’s team warming up:

Saturday: Scheduled –> 35 min XT + 25 lifting. Actual –> 30 minutes of tennis with my mom (as XT). The tennis bug has definitely bit us after watching the US Open live! There was also a Rutgers game (season opener) so that’s where I was during the day…so pumped football season is here, and that Rutgers will be playing in the Big Ten!

Sunday: Scheduled –> 6 miles. Actual –> 6 miles. Felt awesome! I was kind of dreading this run but it turned out to be a great run with my mom. Kept it below 11 min./mile which for us, right now, means we are slowly getting back into shape!

I just checked my training calendar for the next two weeks that Coach Marc laid out, and I’m excited! Finally some tempo runs and track workouts. I love track workouts. Tempo runs…not so much…but I like that they make me faster and a stronger runner.

I’m still on my runner’s high from my 6 mile run earlier. Finally feels good to be running again, as opposed to trudging along hating the fact that I feel so out of shape.

Are you running any fall races?

What is your college alma mater? Any RU alums reading? :)


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Philly Half Marathon Training Week 5 + FlipBelt Review

I actually completed all my runs this week! I had been slacking the previous weeks and set a goal to get serious this past week. I missed 1 XT and 1 lifting session, but the runs are the most important right now.

Monday: 3 mile easy run. This was tough. It was so hot and I haven’t been running at all in the heat. At mile 2 I was walking and told my mom we should just do fartleks to finish up, that way we could take walk breaks.

Tuesday: 3 mile run. Still hot out but felt better on this run. We ran 3 miles to the gym and did some lifting afterwards which consisted of:

  • Leg press
  • Leg curl
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Single arm row
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extensions
  • Back extensions


Wednesday: Rest day!

Thursday: 3 mile run. Felt awesome! First time we’ve ran an easy run in the 10s. It was also cooler out which got me so excited for fall.

Friday: Was supposed to run but moved it to Saturday. So technically should have done XT today but was out all day running errands with my mom so it didn’t happen.

Saturday: Sigh…shins were hurting. Ran in the morning, but only did 2.5 miles which felt like a struggle. At least I had a great view!


Sunday: THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER FALLEN WHILE RUNNING. Which is why I only did 4.5 miles instead of 5. We decided to do our run on a local trail. At mile 4.5 I tripped over some rock or something and ate it. It’s so weird because the whole way I was watching my footing. I was honestly a little scared because I looked at my elbow and it had a huge bump on it immediately. Thankfully just a few cuts and bruises which are now pretty sore but it’s fine. Besides that it was a pretty scenic (and tough) run!



Overall a good week of training and getting back into the swing of things. Shins are a bit sore but that’s expected. Ready to crush this upcoming week!

One last thing…you need to read this review of the FlipBelt. People…if you run, you need this. I love it.

I actually have been wanting to try FlipBelt for a while, but since I already had a SPIbelt, I was waiting until that broke or something to buy another type of belt. I was asked to review FlipBelt and of course said yes!

Not gonna lie – I like FlipBelt better than SPIbelt (and so did my mom who also tried it on a run). The only downside (if you can even call it that), is that you don’t clip it on like a belt, you have to step into it and pull it up (like pants). That’s really the only thing I can think of. I ordered the Aqua FlipBelt in a size Medium.


It has pockets all around the belt which means it can hold a bunch of stuff. I ran with my phone (Galaxy S4 which is huge) and key. You could easily fit more in it, like ID, money, gels, etc.


Took pictures with my phone, so the iPhone is shown here in the pocket. All the pockets are connected too, so if you put it in one pocket, you are able to reach in from the other side to get it out too (like a hoodie/sweatshirt pocket).


Obviously didn’t run with my key hanging out like that but wanted to show the pocket ;) There is also a key hook inside if you want to hook your key onto something.

I also really liked that my phone didn’t bounce around while I was running. That happens sometimes with the SPIbelt, mainly because my phone is too big for it.

This is great for things besides running too. I fully intend to take it to the gym so I can have my music while lifting. No more bulky arm bands or putting your phone into your sweaty waistband (or is that just me?). I’m sure this would be convenient for traveling as well. I love the look of it and how it looks just like it could be your pants waistband. They come in all different colors too.

This is how much I loved FlipBelt!


My mom is not the best at taking action photos so that’s the best we got…no really, look at how many takes this took:

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 10.33.53 AM

Anyway, if you want to order a FlipBelt, now’s your chance! They are offering my readers a 10% discount on purchases with the code Sweat33 until Sept. 7.

Tweet: Run, play, explore with #FlipBelt! Use the code sweat33 for 10% OFF your entire purchase! http://ctt.ec/9fPaF+ @flipbelt @fitapproach

Disclaimer: I was provided with a FlipBelt; all opinions are my own.

Do you use a belt or something similar while running?

What do you use to carry gels/water on long runs? I’m considering trying out a CamelBak eventually?


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Injury Prevention & Prehab

Coach Marc is back today to chat with us about injury prevention. I’ve written about how to prevent certain injuries, like shin splints before. Here are some quick tips and ways to “prehab” so you’re not sidelined this fall racing season.

Staying healthy will allow you to run and race your best.  This is also known as doing exercises to prevent injury.

As someone who is always injured, I know first hand the importance of staying healthy to be successful. But unlike most runners who wait to be injured before doing something about it, I’m proactive. You should be too.

Always have sore shins? Write the alphabet with your ankle. This exercise strengthens those smaller muscles in your lower leg that stabilize your body.

Have a cranky knee? Do squats and lunges to strengthen your quads and hamstrings. Strong Quads and Hammies are the foundation to happy knees.

Have a bad back? Try doing abs and core to strengthen the surrounding areas of your spine. The stronger your front side is, the better it can hold up your back side.

The key to injury prevention is to fix it before it’s a problem. That way, you don’t miss as much time and you’re back out on the roads sooner and stronger!

What other injuries can’t you seem to get over?  Tweet @marcpelerin and for tips to get over them!


I’m always telling Marc about my shin pain/issues – though lately they haven’t been as bad!

What nagging injuries do you have?

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