As I am out enjoying some fresh powder and hitting the slopes today with my family, I am so excited to have Sue, another awesome fitmom and blogger, taking over for me today. Sue is a boy-mom, an avid runner and a pediatric ICU nurse (you know my heart goes out to those kind). She is busy and makes time for her health and fitness including being a competitive, fast runner. If one of your New Year’s goals is to start running or become a better runner, you better keep reading. Take it away, Sue!
Hey everyone! I’m Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes and Hollie has asked me to stop by and guest blog for her! She did an awesome post on my blog a week or so ago when we were off on vacation, so I thought I would return the favor! I’ve been running for over 20 years, but only became a really dedicated long distance runner over the last 4 years. I’ve learned a lot over the last few years and I have learned a lot of things the hard way. But I’ve grown tremendously as a runner and thought I would share some of my tips on habits that every effective runner should have!
- Consistency: consistency is key and making running a HABIT is the best thing you can do. Try to run at the same time every day and try to make it in the morning. It’s such a great feeling to have your workout done first thing in the morning. An endorphin high can work wonders for motivation and remembering that feeling can help KEEP you motivated so you want to stay consistent with your workouts.
- Strength train on a regular basis. For years runners were told that in order to improve their running game, all they needed to do was run. Well, we’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years and we have discovered that strength training is extremely important. Strength training is important for injury prevention and maintaining good form. Believe it or not, running does not make your muscles stronger! While a beginner may reap some muscular benefits from running, those that have been running for a while no longer reap those benefits sadly. Strength training WILL help prevent injury and help you get faster! I would highly recommend focusing on core and glute work! You can find a great core workout for runners HERE and HERE.
- Dynamic warmup. A long time ago it was thought that basic static stretching was best before a hard workout. Not anymore. We have gotten away from static warmups and have been emphasizing the dynamic warmups prior to any run. Most people skip these, and I’m guilty myself sometimes. We are in a rush, a long list of things to do and just don’t have time. Well, I’m here to tell you that you need to make time. Just 5 short minutes can be huge. Dynamic warmups can make you stronger AND faster! The purpose of a dynamic warmup is to activate the muscles before you put them to use. Wake them up, say hello and remind them of what they are supposed to be doing. I guarantee this will help you have a better run.
- Get adequate sleep. Make sure you have good sleeping habits. Sleep is key for an athlete’s recovery. According to the National Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep can increase the stress hormone, cortisol. It can also decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates which we all know is key to a runner’s game! Basically, don’t sleep enough and fatigue and low energy kicks in. It can also effect your post workout recovery! So how do you ensure good sleep?
- Create a peaceful bedtime routine.
- Turn off all electronics at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime. The light coming from a computer or a phone can stimulate the brain.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Take a warm bath
- Spray lavender essential oils on your pillow or place a small amount on your wrists before bed.
- Good Nutrition. Just because you run and workout doesn’t give you an excuse to eat the entire pan of brownies. Your running performance will only be as good as what you feed your body. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and veggies, complex carbohydrates (not simple carbs) and lean protein. If you are running long distance you will need fuel before, during and after your runs. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And make sure you have a recovery meal within 30 min-1 hour of completing your workout. Your post run recovery meal is extremely important for muscle repair after a tough workout.
So there you have it. Of course there are many other items that could go on this list, but these have been the top 5 for me when it comes to my performance and staying healthy as a runner.