3 times U.S. Olympian (5k, 10k, Marathon), 15 times U.S. National Teams (qualified for 15th at age 40), 5x U.S. National Champion, Adidas Global Athlete and Brand Ambassador, and Primal Health Coach.
Being a professional distance runner has very specific qualifications and requirements. Endurance is not the only requisite—it takes a certain level of mental strength to see the distance through, and Jen Rhines has an idea of what it takes. From training all over the world to being a five-time NCAA champion and a three-time U.S. Olympian, she practices what she preaches. For her, running is personal. Rhines sits down with UNDO-Ordinary and gives our readers tips on how to run stronger, sustain a pace, and finish well.
Do some short sprints every week or two. These short bursts of high intensity will trigger a stress response that promotes fat mobilization and maximum power development. Start with six to eight 15-second sprints at moderate effort and work up to six to eight at max effort. Always do a full warm-up, and take plenty of time for recovery between each rep. Sprinting also increases running efficiency which will translate to running stronger on your easy days. You’ll start seeing results right away.
Add some bodyweight squats to your routine twice a week. Squats are a compound, full-body exercise that recruit several different muscle groups, making you functionally stronger. Squat to just below parallel, keeping your knees in line with your toes. Begin with two sets of 10, and build each week with an end goal of doing 50 in a row!
The aroma of peppermint oil is a natural energizer. Studies have shown it can improve athletic performance. Inhale the scent of some peppermint oil, or place a few drops on your skin before your next race or hard workout. Feel invigorated and ready to run strong!
Picture yourself running strong uphills, downhills, and on all of the most challenging parts of your daily running routes. That’s why it’s key to check out the course of your next big race. In your daily training, visualize yourself tackling all the tough sections. This imagery sets the stage to get into the flow on race day!
Written by Jen Rhines
Illustration by Sophia Chang
Art by Adam Villacin