Did you happen to know that I really like to run?
I have run three 5Ks, one 10K, two 10-milers, four half marathons, and right now I am currently training for my first full marathon: 26.2 miles. I have been a fast runner, I have been a slow runner, I have been an injured runner, and I have been a healthy runner. Along the way, I have learned a few important things. These tips apply to you whether you consider yourself a runner or not!
Note: I am not a nutritionist, personal trainer, or running coach. I am simply sharing what has worked for me in the past.
– ONE –
The hardest part of your run is deciding to go. The hardest part of MY run is deciding to go. But once we are out there, it feels so good! Don’t overanalyze it. Just go. Decide when you are going to go for your run and go at that specific time. You don’t cancel appointments with your doctor, and you shouldn’t cancel appointments with yourself to better your health (unless of course you are sick or injured). I personally like to run in the morning because I have no time to think about running…I just wake up and go. I start the day full of energy and feeling accomplished. There is something to be said for evening runs too…sometimes it’s cooler outside, sometimes you’re meeting up with friends, sometimes that’s the only time YOU can make it work…but again, just decide. You are going to be a better you in ten or twenty or thirty minutes when you return home, so go kick your own butt and come back feeling like a rockstar. 🙂
– TWO –
Don’t JUST run.
It doesn’t matter if you are a brand new runner or you are in the middle of training for a race…running cannot be your only form of exercise. Running takes a toll on your body. You are pounding your legs into the trail or road or treadmill over and over again. You need to stretch, you need to bike, you need to swim, you need to lift weights, and you need to lay around and do nothing. You can still do cardiovascular exercise without running, and you should! Keep your fitness up while you give your body a break. It is easy to think that you will never get better or faster if you don’t run all of the time, but you are actually helping yourself when you take it easy a few days of the week! I wrote more about running recovery here.
– THREE –
Maybe I am only talking to myself when I say this, but you must remember that running takes you down to E and after your workout, you have to fill your body back up to F. If you are running for weight loss, of course you don’t want to over do it and cancel out everything you just did on your run, but you NEED food. I was having a moment tonight where I legitimately felt hungry. It wasn’t one of those “am I hungry or am I bored?” moments. No, I was legitimately hungry. And instead of going to get food, I drank water because even though I ran today, I kept telling myself I ate enough today and I was fine. Not true. If your body is telling you to eat, you need to eat. If you went for a run today and you didn’t eat anything substantial, you need to. Pay extra close attention on the days that you run so that you know you are getting proper nutrition. And just so you know, I ended up eating yogurt with nuts and broccoli with salsa. Not at the same time. Don’t ask me about my snack choices. My pantry is bare. Hahaha
– FOUR –
Don’t beat yourself up.
Look, sometimes we just can’t run. Our muscles are sore, we have 10,000 things on our to do list, we didn’t get enough sleep…the list goes on. Just like your body can tell you when you’re hungry, your body can also tell you when to take a day off. Don’t be a slave to your training plan, whether it’s official or not. You might be following a specific training plan and you might have just decided that you were going to run X amount of miles today. Either way, when the day rolls around, if your body doesn’t feel 100%, don’t hit the pavement, and don’t feel bad about it. Today I was scheduled to run 3 miles and then my next run is 13.1 on Saturday. My hip is acting up so instead of pushing myself through 3 miles, I made the (very hard) decision to workout on the elliptical and save my strength for Saturday. Did I want to do that? No. Do I feel like a failure because I didn’t follow the training plan? Kind of. But I know what I can handle, so I need to give myself some grace. You know what you can handle too, so do that. Be proactive in preventing a possible injury. Runners don’t always make the best choices about when or when not to run…but that’s because we’re crazy and we love it so much! 🙂
– FIVE –
Make it fun.
What do YOU like? I like running outside, I like running with friends, and I like signing up for races that aren’t in my hometown. Whatever is your running happy place is the thing you should do most often! Running isn’t all about pain and agony and hunger and sleepiness. 😉 More often, it’s about being social, making yourself feel better, and exploring the world around you! It’s easy to look at social media and think that we have to be a certain kind of runner…but we certainly do not. You might like to run at the track while I like to run around the city. I like racing, you might never sign up for a race in your life. It doesn’t matter. If you are having fun, then you are a successful runner. 🙂