Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Are You a Totally Fit Runner?


By Mike Hintz, Absolute Fitness

Would you like to improve your one mile, 5k, 10k, half-marathon or marathon time by running less? It starts with focusing on improving your overall fitness level. Your goal should be to become a fit person who also runs rather than a runner who hopes to become fit. Many runners can be unhealthy with low fitness levels.

In the US in recent years, over a half million people complete a marathon and almost two million complete a half marathon each year. The majority of these people followed a random training program that was found on the internet or provided by a friend. Many runners fail to reach their running goals because they overtrain—they run too many “run of the mill” (pun intended) workouts and not enough workouts focused on improving overall fitness levels. As a result, they’re frequently tired, injured and haven’t improved their fitness level or racing potential. Injury rates from runners are at an all-time high and training is often to blame. According to a recent Harvard study, nearly 80 percent of runners deal with an injury each year. With 10 million runners in America, there are countless numbers of damaged runners who are paying a lot to sports medicine clinics.

Prioritizing health and fitness should be the centerpiece of your running program. It all starts with having a purpose or a correct training plan. A person who trains with a purpose favors quality over quantity and faster running (intensity) over the accumulation of miles (steady-state activity). A new generation of runners has begun to tear down traditions to reveal new ways to train for a lifetime of healthy running. The training goals of a totally fit runner will include the following:

1.  Develop Proper Running Technique
Good running mechanics will help reduce the wear and tear of your joints while running.

2. Build Running Endurance Without Injuries

This is accomplished by avoiding the extra miles that hurt you rather than help you. There are many differences in individual abilities to tolerate training mileage. These differences are influenced by physiology, anatomy, biomechanics, and years of running experience. For many, reducing the number of running days per week is appealing and effective. Running only three days a week is recommended.

3. Perform Proper Strength Exercises
Performing proper strength training exercises will build an all around athletic foundation that will support faster, healthier running. Strength training two times per week on non-running days will help enhance your running ability and reduce injuries.

4. Focus on Nutrition
Learn how to feed your body the fuels it needs to enhance health, ensure recovery and prepare for performance.

Use It or Lose It
Consistency and regular year-round training is the key to fitness. If you are a runner with limited time for training, desires injury prevention, and who is looking for a fresh start to training, you may find that this type of program can help you achieve faster running times and still allow you to lead a balanced life. Striving to become “totally fit” should be the goal for runners who want to run for a lifetime.

For more information on effective exercise, call Absolute Fitness at 309-692-1066 or visit our website at