Here are a few tidbits for those who need a quick tip! I’ll add stuff here as I go!
- Recovery time is just as important if not the most important part of your training. During recovery (rest) is when your body becomes stronger and adapts to what you’ve put it through in the last training session. Scheduled rest days, cross-training and easy days will allow you to perform at your best!
- Drink H2O! Having a 20 oz bottle before and after lunch is a good idea. Like the 4 hours before and after lunch you should always have water at your desk for sipping. Drink it during meals too and of course while you’re exercising. Losing water does not equal losing weight.
- Warm-up before every session & warm-up before stretching. Stretching cold muscles can cause more damage than benefit. Once you find a warm-up you like and that works for you, stick with it. Save stretching for the end of the workout. I do. You will never see me stretching out before a race. You WILL see me warming up properly before a race and then stretching afterwards.
- Read up on training topics! Articles from Active.com, Runner’s World or Competitor.com are all good sources of information. You owe it to yourself to be knowledgable about your training.
- Diet Soda Makes You Fat*
- Related to #2: If you drink the amount of water you should each day then your body doesn’t have to store/retain it!
- Fiber. Most people think of one thing at the mention of fiber and it’s not cereal. (insert 8 year old boy’s laugh) Fiber is very important for controlling hunger and um…keeping you regular…
- Exercise on a regular basis. This means most or all days of the week. This does not mean you need to go try and break a world record at the gym every day. How many times you exercise each week will depend on how long you’ve been at it. Are you a newbie with no experience? Try 3-4 days a week as a good start with 2 days lifting weights & 2 days walking, running, jogging, biking, etc for 30 minutes. It’s perfectly okay to just go for a 30 minute walk on a couple days to get your exercise in for the day. I do!
- If you are training for a long race like a half-marathon, full marathon or longer soak in a hot tub of water every day and spring for a massage every few weeks if you can. Of course, if you’re new to running and are going for your first 5K, 10K or 15K it’s still okay to do this!
- In contrast to #8 don’t hit the hot tub immediately after your long run or race. Rather, consider doing an ice bath for 20 minutes. An ice bath will reduce inflammation fast and help you recover quicker than if you just stretch out afterwards.
- Exercise should be fun whether you’re running, walking, biking or hitting the gym. It’s ok to have fun while being healthy!
- Exercise is “additive” meaning doing three 10 minute walks throughout the day is just as good as doing one 30 minute walk. It burns about the same calories too! Of course, if your goal is to run a marathon you will have to do more for each session.
- Always have a training goal whether it be a race, fun run, 5K walk or just something to shoot for. It’s difficult to keep motivated with no goal in sight. I’ve found that “another 5 pounds” isn’t enough to keep my motivation levels high.
- Eat breakfast 7 days a week. I eat breakfast in less than 5 minutes daily so the old “I don’t have time…” excuse doesn’t cut it. I have a serving of cereal EVERY morning…okay and sometimes a pancake on Sundays.
- If you are a runner who’s training for an event (with 6-9 months experience running) you should be doing several different types of runs each week including Long Runs, Speed Work, Tempo Drills, Intervals, Base Mileage & Hill Repeats.
- If you have less than 6 months running experience (Newbie!) then concentrate on getting out there and sticking to a beginner plan. Jeff Galloway & Hal Higdon are two paramount running athletes/coaches who have plans for every distance race from 5K to Full-Marathon.** Also, Jeff is currently the official training consultant for the runDisney series! You can get free running programs on the runDisney website.
- Have a planned healthy snack at mid-morning & mid-afternoon of 100-200 calories as a part of your overall nutrition plan. I like cheese sticks, fruit, celery & carrots or yogurt.
- On days I don’t want to go running I just go walking. Getting out the door is the hardest part sometimes. Once I’m out there I usually can enjoy a few miles regardless.
- Make sure you are getting the daily recommended allowance of calcium in your diet. Google it if you don’t know it or just eat calcium rich foods in your diet. More than one research study has pointed out the correlation between calcium and weight loss. This is also why Dannon Yogurt keeps running commercials saying eating their yogurt helps you lose weight. It’s the calcium, not their product specifically though it is a good product for a healthy snack!
- Allow yourself time to acclimate to different types of weather when exercising outside. Shorter initial outings in colder or hotter weather allows your body to acclimate or “get used to the new temps”.
- Always wear the proper gear in extreme heat or cold and remember to hydrate well even if it’s cold outside!
- Remember that each mile you run or walk burns about a 100 calories assuming you are close to 150lbs. Try one of many calculators online for an estimate if you are tracking calories for weight management.
- Energy bars are good food for runners and you can carry them with you! Look for bars with 4 grams of fat or fewer per 230 calories. Fat slows down digestion.
- Quality over quantity should be coupled with a good amount of rest/recovery when taking on a new running challenge. You need to give your body time to adapt.
- After a long distance run (long distance being relative to the individual) drink lots of water for several days afterward to help flush out the system of toxins like lactic acid. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times for the next week…and uhh, stay close to the restroom. 😉
*See my Links & Resources page to learn how Diet Soda contributes to weight gain.
**I followed a Hal Higdon plan when I started running in 2009. Though I follow a plan for more experienced runners now it’s a good plan for beginners. Again, check out my Links & Resources for more information.
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