First off, Dr. Higgins takes his R&R time as seriously as his high-mileage weeks. “I enjoy light jogs—between two to four miles—as well as intervals, like running 20 steps at full pace then walking 40 steps,” he says. In other words, he dials the mileage and speed down to give his body ample time to bounce back, while still reaping the rewards of jogging—like increasing endurance, improving sleep, boosting mood, and (of course!) improving the health of your heart.
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In between his off season jogging and occasionally playing tennis with his daughter, Dr. Higgins also makes time each day for strength training—specifically, push-ups and sit-ups. Both moves help build core strength for running. This is a key to optimal efficiency, according to Nike running coach, Bec Wilcock, who previously told Well+Good: “If you have full mobility to get the leg behind you and you have excellent core control, the glute max will be able to perform its chief function,” she said. This, in turn, will help your trunk maintain its upright position so you can propel yourself forward with ease.
Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Higgins makes plenty of time for rest in his down time. “Sleep is so important for recovery—I try to average eight hours a night,” he says. Catching quality zzzs allows the body to heal the tiny micro-tears your muscles sustain during regular bouts of exercise. Allowing your body the time to stitch itself back together actually helps you come back stronger—so take Dr. Higgin’s advice and enjoy your leisure hours. Marathon season will be back before you know it.
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