As runners we are known as a crazy bunch of people, which most of us take that as a compliment. Because seriously, after all, what sane person would run 26.2 miles just for fun, right?? But, there are many things runners should and shouldn’t do. Here are some tips or rules, we should all follow.
ADVICE 1.- 10%- Increase your distance to minimum 10% per week. This is important because it really lowers your risk of injury. If you do too much too quick your muscles will not have enough time to recovery, and your body will suffer trying to keep up with the high demands. EXCEPTION: Some runners can safely increase their mileage over 10%, if you are coming off a few days off, returning to your regular mileage sooner than not will be ok.
ADVICE 2.- Wait to run. Giving yourself enough time to digest your meal before a run could make a big difference. If you head out for a run after a large or carb loaded meal, you better hope there are many bathrooms near by! You will feel heavy and bloated, cramps galore and you will probably throw up!
To avoid getting sick, give yourself at least 2 hours after a meal to let the food digest. Click here for some safe pre run meals/snacks. EXCEPTION: Some runners can run 60-90 after a small meal.
ADVICE 3.- 20 miles. If you are running a marathon, during your training, do at least a 20 mile run. It will help prepare your body for running the full 26.2 miles. Some runners feel comfortable running just 16 miles, or even 18 miles. But, I believe running closer to 20 miles will prepare you mentally and physically for the marathon. If you run 24 miles, it can help ease the infamous “wall” after mile 20 during the race. EXCEPTION: Most runners know their bodies and how much time they need to train for.
ADVICE 4.- Don’t “just run.” Many many runners think it is ok to run through pain. Sometimes when we are running, some odd places stat to ache, get sore, or become very painful. There are runners who continue to run through it, and just as suddenly as the pain appears, it disappears. BUT, there are pains that don’t go away. The ones with each step you make it gets worse and more and more unbearable. That is when you stop running and give your pain some care. Do NOT run “through the pain” seek medical attention if you are running a race. Make sure you are safe to continue or stop to prevent further damage. To prevent sudden onset pains, doing cross training will improve your overall health, making your muscles stronger for longer runs.
ADVICE 5.- Don’t do something new. Do not eat or drink something new right before or during a race!! This will make your tummy very unhappy and it will let you know. Stick to what works for you. That is something you can try through out your training. You are not only training your body for the long runs, but try training with food as well. Knowing what you fuel and foods work for you before the race will help your performance. Make sure you have plenty of it for race day!
ADVICE 6.- Talk and run. When you are running, you should be able to talk casually. If you are struggling to talk then you are going too fast and need to slow it down. Now, if you are training for speed, then saying a few words while running is where you want to be. In speed training, talking should be fairly hard to do.
ADVICE 7.- New shoes! Your running shoes should be replaced every 300+ miles you put on them. Getting a new pair of shoes before your old ones are worn out is best. You can rotate your new ones with old ones. And the reason being after 300 miles is because runners have all different wear patterns and some shoes need to be replaced before others. You can look at the bottom of your shoe and see the wear pattern you have. If you see the outer color fading, then it is time to get new shoes!
ADVICE 8.- 2 day limit. If something hurts for 2 days straight while running, take 2 days off. Sometimes, days off are just as important as training days. You need to let your body recover from long training days. But, if you are having pain when you run for two days straight maybe its best to rest until there is no longer pain. As this could be the beginning of a serious injury or damage to your muscles. It may be time to see a Doctor if the pain persists.
ADVICE 9.- Recovery time. There was a general rule of thumb that was created by a marathon record holder, Jack Foster. He suggested that for every mile you race, is the days you should take off. So if you run a half marathon, that is 13 days of rest before you run another half marathon. The same goes for the full and any other race you do. EXCEPTION: If you don’t run at your fastest more powerful potential, then you don’t need so many days to recover.
ADVICE 10.- Carb load! Days leading up to your race you need to load up on food loaded with carbohydrates. That is the fuel your muscles need to keep you going through out your race. So having many carbohydrate meals days before will help store energy in your body.
ADVICE 11.- Against traffic. When you are running on the streets where there are cars zooming past you, it is important that they see you, and you see them. It is best to run facing the traffic that is coming towards you. Especially if you run with earphones, you can see what is happening in front of you; if it’s behind you and something happens you will have no time to react or get out of the way. Just make sure you cross those hidden left turns cautiously.
ADVICE 12.- Sleep time. Getting a good amount of rest each night is important to function properly the next day, otherwise you will be a zombie. Runners especially need a good nights rest to perform better in a race. Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough rest have a negative impact on their performance. I understand that the night before a big race we all get jitters and have trouble sleeping, but as long as you get a good nights rest two nights before your race, it should be enough sleep.
ADVICE 13.- Refuel right away. After you do a long training run, or after a long race, it is important to refuel 30-60 minutes AFTER you finish. You need the carbs to replace the depleted muscle glycogen, and some protein to start to repair and rebuild the muscles. Some examples of great recovery fuel would be 150 to 300 calories of chocolate milk, a recovery-sports drink, yogurt, or a bagel and peanut butter.
These are just some tips that most runners already do regularly, and they are pretty basic. But, to those who are thinking about running, or are just starting out, this can help you run a bit more happy =)