Try these eight tips courtesy of Lauren Jimison and work your way toward better running.
Most of us love to think that simply hitting the pavement or hopping on a trail is the only key factor to getting fit. But there are many things we can do to become fitter and faster outside of running.
Here are eight tips to help you become a stronger, faster and fitter runner.
1. Use Recovery Tools
Neely Spence-Gracey, who runs professionally for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester, Mich., holds some fast PRs ranging from the 800m to the 10K. She’s a fierce competitor on the roads. Spence-Gracey does a stellar job at recovery and while her career has involved some rehab, she has done so successfully.
“Doing 20-30 minutes in the pool of a combo of kicking, treading, stretching, range of motion work, laps and aqua jogging opens up the Venus blood flow and promotes a hyper recovery response that will help the legs feel fresh and ready for another run,” she said. Photo: www.shutterstock.com
2. Kick Up Your Feet
Andrew Kastor, coach of the ASICS Mammoth Track Club Coach and the L.A. Marathon, has some solid tips on taking care of the things outside of running, including rest.
Naps are important because they add even more sleep time to the 8-9 hours the elite team already sleeps a night. Rest is key!
“Kick up your feet. Rest your legs throughout the day to enhance recovery and prep for the next workout,” Kastor said. Photo: www.shutterstock.com
3. Practice Positivity
“Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who share a common belief in a healthy and fitness lifestyle,” Kastor said.
Make sure to stay positive about training mentally, but also in your conversations with family, friends and those closest to you. Being mentally strong can also contribute to being physically strong. Photo: www.shutterstock.com
4. Eat Well
We all know that nutrition is important, but tweaking a few things can also really help. Kastor suggested carrying a bottle around during the day to encourage small sips and focus on hydrating. And, getting a combination of protein and carbs post-workouts is a great way to speed up recovery. I bring a Muscle Milk shake with me for every post-run. It holds me over until I get home to cook a real meal.
Deborah Maier, a Brooks Beast Track Club athlete, advises runners to eat 20-30 grams of simple carbohydrates before starting a workout, which can help decrease muscle damage.
“Consuming a GU, GU chomps, or drink with branched chained amino acids such as taurine, leucine, or valine, can further decreases the breakdown of muscle fibers,” Maier said. Photo: www.shutterstock.com
5. Do Drills To Improve Form And Develop Speed
“Speed drills are typically done after a warmup, but either before a workout or during strides to get the body firing on all cylinders,” Spence-Gracey said. “Awaking every muscle fiber, tendon and sinew to respond and react for maximal power through high skips, high knees, butt kicks, karaoke, bounds and leg swings. The key here is proper form and explosive force.” Photo: www.shutterstock.com
6. Get Your Body Worked On
“Contrary to popular belief, not even professionals have access to endless massage therapy, chiropractic, and PT care,” Maier said. “Although these are all important elements of my recovery routine, in between appointments, I opt for self-massage. The foam rollers that look like death traps and lacrosse balls are my tools of choice. The foam rollers with ridges are fantastic for releasing tight and sore quads and IT bands. Lacrosse balls are life-savers for tight glutes, lower backs, and those tricky plantar fascias.” Photo: www.shutterstock.com
7. Go To Sleep
“The majority of your body’s rebuilding happens during sleep,” Maier said. “This is when your body produces human growth hormones, which aid in repairing damage your body sustained from pushing it on the run earlier in the day. I aim to get 9 hours of sleep a night, which sees me getting into bed around 10 p.m.” Photo: www.shutterstock.com
8. Listen To Your Body
The quicker you learn to listen to your body, the better you will know how to help it recover. Taking your resting heart rate every morning will help you know if you are getting sick. Or, taking an extra long nap in the afternoon might be what you need to feel good for a workout the next day. Training is not always black and white. Sometimes taking a full day off can even be the key! Photo: www.shutterstock.com