Maybe you are new to running or perhaps you’ve been at it for a while but you are looking for some ways to ramp up your game. Well, look no further! We have some essential rules for runners and advice on how to see more results from your training.
Let’s start with some basics. Running like all exercises takes up time, and finding a routine to where you stay consistent can be difficult. When starting off aim to run two days a week, and aim to do it first thing in the morning.
Waiting to run is hoping everything in your day goes smoothly, which let’s be honest, how often does that happen? By making it a priority first thing in the morning you are assuring it gets done. Also practicing getting up early two days a week isn’t too bad!
Running first thing in the morning also eliminates having a lot of food in your stomach, which can help you out because you won’t feel bloated or like throwing up (yuck!). Ideally, you should always run at minimum 90 minutes to 120 minutes after eating. That way your body has had plenty of time to digest your food.
What to Wear
Before your run dress for it as if it’s ten degrees warmer outside than it is, this will keep you from getting overheated when your body starts warming up mid-run.
If you are running in the dark make sure you were some reflective clothing and run against traffic so that you know what cars are coming and can adjust your path as needed.
Does it matter what shoes you lace up with? Absolutely. You want fresh running shoes. Running shoes should get you through about 500 miles, after that, they begin to lose their spring and should be replaced. Ideally, get two pairs and rotate them each run.
So you are up, you are dressed, now what? Start with a brisk walk with some stretching for about 10 minutes before diving into your run.
Is your goal is to run a 5k or maybe a marathon? How do you train for different types of runs? You train specifically for that type of run. If 5k’s are going to be your thing, then focus on whatever pace you want to set for that 5k and stick with it. Maybe you want to run that 5k with 7-minute miles, then your training pace should be that.
On the flip side, if you are training for a marathon, your pace doesn’t need to be as fast, because you are focusing more on endurance. While there may be times in your run when you push a little bit harder when you are at your normal pace, you should be able to talk normally without gasping for breath, so if you are struggling to do this, tone down the pace a bit.
Pace Yourself and Rest
It’s important to not overtrain and increase slowly. If you run a really long or hard run one day, do some type of cross-training the next day (we’ll get more into that in a little bit). Your goal should be to increase by approximately 10% each week. So if you ran 3 miles last week, aim for 3.3 miles the next week.
While training you want to make sure you are getting sufficient rest. Ideally, get one-minute extra sleep each night for however many miles you are running. So if you run twenty miles all week, try to get 20 minutes of extra sleep each night. Sleep is a vital portion of staying healthy and not overworking your body.
Listen to Your Body
When training it’s important to listen to your body. If you experience pain (not soreness) for more than a day. While trackers and GPS can all help us to hit certain numbers it’s important to do a statistic detox once a week, where you just run and listen to your body, don’t focus on what the numbers are reading that day, and just run, it’s a good reset.
If you are preparing for a long race like a half or full marathon you will want to work up your miles. For a half marathon, make sure you’ve done some ten-mile runs before the race and with a full marathon make sure you’ve done some 20 mile runs before the race.
In addition, nutrition is key with long races, so make sure you eat carb-heavy foods two to three days before a race and continue to eat 30g - 60g of carbs during the race to keep your body fueled so you don’t burn out.
Also, don’t try a new drink or food before a race, your body likes routine and it is used to what you have been giving it, trying something new right before a race throws your body for a loop.
During your race pace yourself. It’s been shown that runners who have beaten records and won medals keep the same pace for the whole race. Don’t gun it out of the gate, because then you will be regretting it at mile 10 when you are sucking wind.
Again be okay with running slower on a long run, and if you are running on a very windy day, expect your run times to be slower as well. That’s okay.
Fuel After Long a Long Run
After a rest be sure and something filled with both protein and carbs. An apple with peanut butter right after, a delicious FiTONIC shake, and later some pasta with chicken is a great option. This also goes for training days when you do a long run. You have to keep your body fueled properly.
We mentioned earlier the importance of cross training. Cross training is when you do other types of exercise other than running. For example, if you’ve done a long run one day, do some cross training the next day, like swimming or biking. It will still keep you moving and build your endurance but it’s not such a high-impact workout.
Weight training is also a very important aspect for runners, especially weight training for your legs. Running can be a high impact and can damage joints. By conducting strength training you strengthen the muscles being used as well as increase the density of the bones in your body which helps prevent injury.
The biggest thing we want to encourage you with running is to go at your pace and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to where you want to be right off the bat. Studies show that runners hit their peak and start breaking records at seven years in. It takes time to redefine your body and really build it up. Enjoy the journey and know that every time you lace up those shoes you are one step closer to your destination.