PWR Lab RUNdamentals| The Basics of Running

How to find success through simplicity by Dr. Jeff Moreno.

Throughout my 20 years of experience working with athletes, I have witnessed one universal truth that holds true across all levels of sport: simplicity is the key to success. From Olympic runners to recreational athletes, those who intentionally practice simple and disciplined routines consistently perform their best. For many, part of the allure to running is the pure simplicity of the sport. The small and seemingly inconsequential daily habit of repetitively putting one foot in front of the other provides runners with the foundation to enjoy running for life, or for some, compete at the highest level possible.

So if simplicity equals success, why are PRs and running milestones so difficult to come by? More often than not, we as runners have the tendency to overcomplicate things. In the quest to help you rediscover the beautiful simplicity of running, we’ve created the PWR Lab RUNdamentals. This framework will provide you with small, but powerful, habits you can adopt to make your training more effective. We group these daily habits into four unique categories: Flow, Capacity, Tune, and Vital Signs. 

With this being said, there is no right or wrong way to practice these habits. In fact, we encourage you to freely choose the timing, sets, reps, schedule, and movements that work best for you, your training, and your goals. Don’t worry about trying to perfect the process, especially if you’re new to running. Prioritize making this framework uniquely your own and being savagely simple with your execution.

#1 Flow:

Overview: Running is a period of time that is about you and for you. The flow state is meant to spark a sense of calm and relaxation before and/or after training or a competition.
How to Practice: Focus on listening to your body and being intentional with your movements. These movements will feel like mobility work for some and a targeted core routine for others. There are no rules with these movements, so get creative. Some suggested movements include:
  • Core Exercises - Check out this routine from Katie Zaferes, US Professional Triathlete, Olympian, and World Champion. 
  • Deep Squat Stretch 
  • ½ Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch 
  • Child’s pose

#2 Capacity:

Overview: Most individuals are familiar with capacity as it relates to strength training. Introducing just a little bit of this type of training into your routine can provide massive performance benefits and help you increase the longevity of your running career.

How to Practice: Focus on adding 20-30min strength sessions into your routine 1-2 days per week. These exercises are an essential part of training if you wish to run for life. Some suggested movements include:

  • Squats - Single and Double Leg
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Heel Raises - Single Leg Bent Knee

#3 Tune:

Overview: We all watch our favorite athletes compete and appreciate the beauty of their movements. From their seemingly effortless strides to their smooth cadence, their coordinated movements are perfectly regulated and fine-tuned - and your’s can be too, with a little practice and patience.

How to Practice: The goal of these fast and high force movements is to activate your body’s systems and increase tension within the system. Similar to stretching a rubber band right before releasing it to fly, these exercises promote and increase the body’s elastic return of energy. Add these movements into your pre-run or pre-workout protocol. Some suggested movements include:
  • Pogo Jumps 
  • A Skips 
  • Ankle Dribbles 
  • Strides (fast)

#4 Vital Signs:

Overview: While tuning movements are designed to prime your system, vital signs are the exact opposite. This is your time to bring your attention and awareness back to your body and reflect on training. 
How to Practice: Some may choose to journal during this period of reflection while others may opt to lay down, close their eyes, and just breathe. Regardless of how you chose to check in with your vital signs, make sure to limit all distractions. Don’t short change yourself, these exercises are best done daily after a run or before bed. Some suggested exercises include:
  • Belly Breathing
  • Child's Pose
  • Journaling
  • Solo Walking

Download your RUNdamentals Guide, complete with our framework of small, but powerful, habits you can adopt to make your training more effective. Enjoy and share with others!

New to PWR Lab?

PWR Lab decodes your masses of second-by-second training data and visualizes the insights that matter most. Athletes in motion use PWR Lab to track workload, monitor risk factors, learn about stride characteristics, and forecast future races & workouts. Sign up for a free trial today and experience firsthand how easy it is to predict risk, prevent injury, and perform optimally.

Dr. Jeff Moreno
About Dr. Jeff Moreno

Jeff, co-founder of PWR Lab, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. Passionate about running and playing, Jeff fundamentally loves people and movement of any kind. He strives to raise the bar in sport by finding ways to proactively prevent injuries and prioritize the long term development of athletes. He has been successful in employing a data-driven, hands-on approach to physiotherapy with National, World & Olympic Championship medalists in Track & Field from USA, China, Canada, and Mexico as well as many NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Judo, and Triathlon athletes