Athlete Guide


Every sport has certain pieces of gear that are not only helpful to your success but sometimes required. ML Distance wants its athletes to be prepared for the sport and that does require some planning.


  • Water Bottle

  • Proper Clothing

  • Running Shoes!

  • Foam Roller, typically 18 inches is the size we shoot for that is the sweet spot for usability while not being too big to put in a backpack. You can pick these up at Fleet Feet with your shoes or find one on Amazon, I like this option and size from Amazon

  • Good Attitude


  • Running Watch, my favorites are the Garmin Forerunner series and all watches from COROS.

  • Stretching Rope, I just use 6ft of Polypropylene rope which can be picked up at the hardware store for a few bucks.

  • Strava is a useful tool for connecting to your teammates and friends. We leverage Strava to help with accountability and share some stories from the runs. Once you sign up you can sync your watch to the app for quick uploads of your runs. Then request to join our club,

  • Exercise Bands, you can buy any old pack of bands on Amazon that is not too big, these are cheap and work well

  • Endurox R4, while I cannot directly recommend you to take any form of supplements. Nutrition is a forgotten part of training, ingesting a quality carb-to-protein ratio post-workout is essential. An alternative would be to buy maltodextrin, whey protein, and your choice of BCAAs (L-glutamine is available separately if you only want that) and mix them 4:1 ratio of maltodextrin: whey. You could also have a cliff bar, a bagel with peanut butter, or Recoverite from Hammer Nutrition but that stuff is a little costly and tastes chalky.

Consistency is key!

It allows you to run fast without getting injured. Running year-round, at least 5 times per week, is the best way to build a solid base and become a smooth, efficient, fast runner. Taking occasional breaks is okay and perhaps beneficial, but they should be no longer than a couple of weeks. Most injuries occur when there is a sudden increase in mileage, which is again why consistency is so important.

Always increase your mileage slowly. If something hurts, take a few days off and ease back into it. Aim for at least 25 miles/week; 35 miles/week is awesome, and 45 miles/week or more will do wonders for your speed and endurance. Just make sure you have worked up to it!

Maintain Good Posture

  • Run tall, with maybe a slight lean forward from your ankles

  • Keep your core tight by standing up straight and thereby stretching your stomach vertically

  • Lift your chest up, not out

  • Lengthen the back of your neck, keeping your head neutral and chin maybe slightly tucked

  • Think about raising the top of your head as far as possible

  • Relax your shoulders and your legs, especially your calves; only your core should be held tight

  • Finally, look up when you run! Try to look at the horizons as much as possible.

Move your feet quickly and land lightly

  • Quicker, shorter steps are more efficient and less injurious than longer, slower ones

  • A cadence of about 180 steps per minute is a good number to shoot for, though your optimal cadence can vary depending on your speed

  • Land with your feet directly underneath you with your toes raised - don't reach forward with your feet

Use your arms to help keep your feet moving

  • The angle between your upper and lower arms should be 90 degrees or less, preferably a bit less

  • Your thumbs should be on top of your gently closed hands - imagine you are holding a butterfly in each hand

  • Move your hands in a quick, punchy motion, all the way from your hip to chest level when running fast

  • Don't let your hands cross over your center line, and make sure your arm movement is the same on both sides

  • Keep your shoulders down, back, and relaxed; minimize shoulder rotation

  • Driving your arms quickly can help keep your legs moving, especially on hills

Use Your Glutes!

  • Your glutes are one of your primary movers in running, and yet because of sitting too much most people don't engage them effectively

  • Really focus on flexing them and using them as you run; if your glutes are sore after a run, you've done well!

  • Maintain good posture and think of pressing forward, or leading with, your hips or belly button as you run

  • Read this article on glute strengthening

  • This video has some great suggestions: glute video

Warm up

  • Medical Lake utilizes a dynamic warmup routine to help our athletes feel ready to run each day

  • Warm up for a run by running very, very slowly for at least the first 10 minutes

  • Leg swings and lunges before running can help prepare your legs and prevent injuries: leg swings and lunge matrix


  • Try to smile often during a run - it feels good, and studies have shown that the hormones released when you smile actually make you feel better and reduce your perceived effort so you can run faster and easier

  • When you are not smiling, at least keep a neutral facial expression - someone watching you run should think you are having an enjoyable experience!

  • In a race try to maintain a tough, determined expression - it really does make you run better. And smile as much as you can!


  • It works best if you time your inhales and exhales with your steps

  • Breathing in over 2 strides and out over 3 strides works well for easy to moderate runs; some people even go 3/4 or 4/5

  • In races a 2/1 ratio is more effective, and towards the end just breathe all you can!

  • An odd/even ratio (like 2/3) works best since it changes which foot you are landing on when you breathe in and out - this distributes evenly the stress on your body, reducing injuries and the chance of getting side stitches

  • Breathing through your nose on easy runs is good to do since it can help prevent you from going too fast, is more relaxing, and strengthens your breathing muscles

  • For more information look at this article, or watch this video


  • Static stretching and yoga postures can be very beneficial but should be done after a run or later in the day, not right before running

  • Probably the most important stretches for runners: world's greatest stretch and couch stretch


  • Whole body strengthening, such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and planks, should be done at least twice a week

  • The main focus for runners should be on hip strengthening - sitting weakens and shortens your hip muscles, causing all kinds of problems

  • This video has a good hip routine that everyone would benefit from doing at least twice a week

Besides racing well, reaching goals, and setting PR’s, there are plenty of reasons to make running and other exercise a regular part of your life. They include:

  • Running adds hours to your day by leaving you calmer and more productive

  • Running makes you healthier and less likely to get sick

  • Running improves the quality of your sleep

  • Running makes you smarter by improving circulation to your brain and by flooding your body with BDNF, a growth factor that numerous studies have shown increases learning and improves your memory

  • Endorphins released during running improve your mood and mental outlook

  • Being fit and in shape helps you feel strong and confident

  • Running keeps you in shape for most any physical activities that might present themselves

  • Running is enjoyable and immensely satisfying and rewarding