As runners, taking care of our bodies is incredibly important. However, sometimes we get busy and we slack a little. We miss sleep, we don't eat well, we overtrain, etc. These "pitfalls" lead to injuries, weight gain, lethargy, and that plain feeling of blah. Sometimes we do things we believe will help us, but because we are doing those things, we slack in other areas (ex: I had two venti lattes, so I can stay up a few more hours to get my work done instead of going to bed or I took an ice bath so my injury will be fine).
So, why not try to nip these issues in the bud. Let's be proactive and not reactive.
1. Active Prevention v. Reactive Recovery
First of all, which sounds more fun? Now, you have goals to meet so in order to do that, you need to make sure you don't get hurt. Overall, running is a great workout, but those muscles do need a break, and that time will give you time to train other muscles which will make you stronger overall. So, to help prevent injury, spend about 10 to 15 minutes per week working on form, drills, and strength in areas such as your core, ankles, hips, and back. Also, crosstraining can do a lot to help keep you healthy and prevent injury. Hop on the spin bike, swim laps, use the rowing machine, or hit up a yoga class. Each of these activities will help you become a stronger and faster runner. Don't forget to work your core!
Active prevention is much more beneficial to you than reactive recovery. It's easy to take meds, use tape/bands/bandages/take an ice bath. While these things may help, the truth is they're simply acting as bandages for your injury. Sometimes it's necessary to use them to allow your body to heal, but why not try active prevention and taking preventative steps to help prevent future injuries.
2. Sleep v. Energy Drinks/Boosters
Coffee. Coffee. Don't talk to me until I've had coffee. Yep, most of us feel this way and that's okay. But that's not what we're talking about here. Caffeine helps mask the feeling of being tired, but it doesn't really help you actually be rested. The real solution here is more sleep. We're all busy - we work 10-12 hour days and then clean our house, do laundry, volunteer, spend time with family, and cook dinner too. But, if you want your training and racing to go well, make sleep a priority. Plus, you'll be less irritable that way.
3. Eating Well v. Supplements
This is an easy one. But, supplements are marketed like crazy. This one will help you lose weight, while this one will help you gain muscle. This one will boost your metabolism, and this one will give you more energy. So, these supplements must be modeled after something, right? Yes. Real. Food. You know, not the packaged stuff. Real. Food. Yes, it takes planning to ensure you have the right amount of whole foods in the fridge to feed the family for the week, but it's well worth it.
Multivitams can be helpful as we know no one eats well 100% of the time. Everyone loves cake or biscuits and gravy, and that's totally fine. But, don't rely on your vitamin or supplement to do the job of real, whole food. In fact, studies have found that large doses of antioxidant supplements (think: vitamin C) can actually interfere with muscle recovery and endurance gains during training. Pretty sure that's not what you're looking to do.
4.Training v. Wandering
Sometimes we aimlessly wander in our training. We just go out for a run. Or we don't. Or we hit a spin class. Or we don't. Maybe we skip speedwork for two weeks. Or four. Or six. Then we wonder why we didn't hit our goals and we aren't nailing PRs. This isn't to say you have to follow a plan and never deviate - life happens. But, setting goals and following a plan of sorts will allow you to see your progress and navigate your strengths and weaknesses.
We know your spring race schedules are packed. You're running races all over for some really great causes, and we are excited to cheer you on. Go kick some butt!
***If you haven't heard, we are now meeting on Tuesday mornings instead of Wednesday. This will allow us to better meet your goals. The majority of our regular attendees indicated this day would actually work better, so we are happy to oblige.
***Our next team race will be the Bentley Fund 5k hosted by Jordan Valley Community Health System. This is a great cause, and we have heard great things from other runners. Save the date for July 23.
Keep up the good work, team. We are proud of you. We'll see you next Tuesday.
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!