Do Just One Thing (or 5)

Expert Tips for Runners from the Colorado Athletic Club


So says Mona Kobishop, a certified master personal trainer who facilitates the Colorado Athletic Run Club in the Denver Tech Center. As a professional running coach with the Colorado Athletic Club, Kobishop helps her clients—from novice to advanced—approach the sport intentionally to pave the way for optimal performance and avoid injury.

Here are five important tips from the running expert, for runners across the board:

01 Get fitted with 
proper shoes.

Whether training a novice or advanced runner, Kobishop is adamant about the importance of good running shoes. “I put people on a treadmill and check their gait—then I send them to get fitted. With the right support, they avoid injury. And it makes for a better runner.”

02 Form is important.

Kobishop has a certification in Sports Performance Enhancement from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She works with clients to avoid injury and maximize performance at every level.

One common issue she addresses is length of stride. “People need to shorten their stride. They have a tendency to have too long of a stride—more steps per minute makes you more efficient.” Another recommendation: loosen your shoulders so you can really breathe.

03 Find a buddy or 
 running group.

The Colorado Athletic Run Club — which is free to all members — hosts a weekly 5K loop and interval training that attracts runners of all abilities. “We have a beautiful loop in a nice area to do outdoor runs. It’s a great place to get into or improve your running.”

To find a running club in your area, “I always recommend Boulder Running Company or Runner’s Roost, they host running clubs,” Kobishop says.

04 Cross-train…

It’s imperative to vary your running surfaces. “Running on pavement and road is hard on your frame. Change it up with gravel, soft surfaces and the treadmill.” Mix it up with hills and flat surfaces, too.

In addition to varying the terrain, it’s important to strength-train. “It’s not just about running, cross-training is really important to stay healthy and strong.” By introducing strength training, athletes keep supporting tendons and ligaments strong, which in turn keep knees and ankles stable. “I’m 52. I run all the time and I have no knee problems,” says Kobishop.

She also emphasizes core work as a key to improving form and function.

05…But don’t overtrain.

Whether you’re a novice, intermediate or an experienced runner, “A common mistake is expecting too much of yourself in the beginning,” Kobishop says. “You do not want to run every day,” she cautions. “Studies have shown that 3-4 runs per week is sufficient. More is not necessary, and you’re more prone to injury.” You will get more out of your runs by giving your body recovery time, she says.

“Pick your pace, based on your ability. A lot of the couch-to-5K programs are run/walk programs,” she says. And make sure you include a rest day immediately before and after those very tough workouts.