May 24, 2012 by readytogetsweaty
I am a runner. I may not run fast. I may not run far. I may have just started my running journey. But I AM A RUNNER.
Over the past couple of months I’ve collected a lot of information about running, race training, injury and recovery. Some I knew, some I learned along the way and some come from personal experience. With that being said I wanted to share a couple of my running lessons and tips with you.
These expensive things we put on our feet have the ability to make or break a run and at times our feet and legs. I can’t emphases enough how important it is to get assessed for the right kind of running shoes. I am an overpronater, which means I need a little extra cushioning on the inside of my shoes. If you want to be sure you are sporting the best shoes for your foot type check out Runners World. They explain pronation and you can even find sneaker stores near you that will correctly measure and assess your feet.
Check out my fancy new kicks :)
- Stretch / Foam Rolling
If you are a runner and not using a foam roller, stop reading this right now, go out and buy one and then continue :) When I first started running last year I never really understood the importance of proper stretching. I used to think that stretching was for “longer runs” and people who ran everyday. Boy was I wrong. Now I stretch for at least 5 minutes before, sometimes during and especially after my runs. Stretching after any run typically consists of my PT exercises as well as some exercises with my foam roller. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my legs after and during my runs due to the increased stretching. For some great tips on stretching before, during and after your runs visit these websites: Cool Running, LiveStrong, and FitSugar.
Everything you consume both before and after a run affects your training. If you’re like me and run in the afternoon, our late-afternoon runs occur hours after lunch so its important to eat a snack prerun (about 30-60 minutes before running). My prerun snacks typically include some sort of protein and fat to steady my blood sugar. My favorite prerun snack is a slice of whole wheat bread, peanut butter, banana and a little drizzle of honey. I also keep a couple of energy bars (e.g., Kids Cliff Z Bar or Lunabar) in my gym bag. Post run, typically within 30 minutes of my run, I snack on chocolate almond milk or even a Chocolate Zico with a spoon full of protein powder (if it was a long or hard run). I used to eat an apple before running until my brother told me it wasn’t such a great idea. Apples have too much fiber in them and its hard for your body to digest that much fiber while running. That would explain all the stomach pains I used to get.
Staying hydrated is critical to your running performance and, more importantly, for preventing heat-related illnesses. You should take in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. I can’t drink water or Gatorade when I run. I don’t know what it is, but they just doesn’t do anything for me. I rely on Zico or now a new obsession of mine Nuun. I’ve found that both of these are easy on my stomach and provide enough hydration during both long and short runs.
- Plan ahead
religiously;) read my blog then you know I thrive on structure, organization and planning. I blame it on my Type A personality ;). With that being said I need to follow an organized running plan. When I first started running it was the Couch to 5K plan. I found this to be the BEST program for me at the time. Since starting PT I haven’t been running on a plan (shocking I know), but on how my body is feeling and my level of pain on a daily basis. Now that I’ve completed three full weeks of PT I’m ready to start running on a regular schedule again. I’m actually setting up a plan with my physical therapist tonight – I’m pretty pumped. I’ve also found Runners World Smart Coach to be extremely helpful.
- Mix it up
It is SO important to vary the places and surfaces where you run so that you spread the physical stresses on your body around evenly. Before my injury I used to HATE (and I mean HATE) running outside and was a treadmill junkie. Since my injury I’ve learned to love running on concrete, grass, dirt, basically anything but the treadmill, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference.
Wow – this post is way longer than I had anticipated and I didn’t even get through 1/2 my list. Looks like a Part 2 is in order.
Now its your turn… What are some of your running lessons and/or tips?
xo – Rachael