When we begin training for a run, our thoughts center on numbers: speed, our finish time, miles and we often forget to stop and take care of ourselves. Breathing, stretching, sleep and nutrition can sometimes take a backseat but they are most essential if we want to remain healthy and happy during our training.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
Sometimes taking it easy or sleeping in late is exactly what your body needs when running so we need to give ourselves permission to hold back and rest. My race history includes one 10 mile run, two half marathons and a few 5K runs. I run for pleasure and as a challenge to myself. But while training for my second 10 mile run, I suffered a lower leg injury and had to sit out the run. This is what I learned during all of my hours training:
1. Allow Yourself To Run Slower Sometimes
It’s ok if you plan to run fast but don’t have the energy to maintain your normal pace. Take time to do a slow run, even shorter run. Sometimes our brains want to run 10 miles but our bodies can do 4 miles. Stop feeling guilty and listen to your body.
2. Eat Clean
Eat a healthy breakfast including healthy fat, whole grains and some protein. Oatmeal with some chia seeds and peanut butter is a perfect breakfast. When you eat whole, healthy foods during your training period, you fuel your body with healthy nutrients and avoid blood sugar crashes.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
Drink water all day long, drink a lot of water about a half hour before a run and plenty of water after a run. I have had many training runs go south because I was thirsty. During a run, stop at every rest stop and refuel.
4. Enjoy Your Runs And Don’t Obsess Over Numbers
Remember why you love running and don’t worry so much about your miles or speed. If you are slower one day, push yourself on another high energy day. Follow a training plan, but if you miss a run or run less miles than you planned, it’s really ok.
5. Leave Yourself Plenty Of Time To Train
If you rush to train for a run, you leave yourself open for injuries. Your body needs time to adapt to a new, rigorous running schedule and you should only be increasing your miles by 10% every week.
6. Do Yoga And Strength Training
After a run, you must stretch and yoga is the answer. Yoga poses have hip opening and leg strengthening focus; maintaining flexibility will help you avoid injury. Strength training can help you run faster and longer because you’re building muscle and strong muscles are important for strong ligaments and bones. After a run, do a few planks, squats or lift weights, you will notice a difference in your overall fitness level.
7. Relax And Recharge
Take a relaxing bath, meditate or catch up with a friend. Make sure you do other fun things outside of running; activities that make you feel fulfilled and happy.
8. Get Plenty Of Sleep
When you get up early and run, you want to go to bed early too. Maintain a strict bedtime and wake up time during training periods so that you get as much sleep as you need. Take a nap if you need one or do a quieter activity when you feel overly tired.
To be the best runner we can be is our ultimate goal. But if you don’t take care of your entire being, mind and body, it will harder to train and enjoy it. Take care of yourself overall so that you can run longer, faster and harder.