Thursday, September 29, 2011

Run Like Ya Stole Something: Running Tips

I was a runner in college, but I put my running shoes in the closet for awhile after I graduated.  Getting back in it has been my 26 year old body isn't responding the way it did when I was in my "early twenties." (I feel ridiculous saying that- I know how absurd it sounds, but it's the truth.)  I LOVE running! I love how it makes me feel and how it changes my body (along with some weight training).  Here is what I've learned during my "retraining" to become a runner again....
Here we go, my top running tips:
1. Buy good shoes!!!
You need to give your body, particularly your feet, adequate support. This means buying running (not cross training, hiking, etc.) shoes that support your foot type. It's also important to replace them every 300 miles or so because you wear out the soles and padding. No, they're not always cheap, but it's worth it.  I took a test online (answered questions about my feet, stride, the way I land when I run, my arch, etc.) to find out what kind of shoes are best for me, then ordered them on New Aasics for $80- score!!
2. And good socks.
If you tend to get blisters easily like I do, invest in some good socks. I like smart wool. Plain cotton socks rub when they get sweaty, and blisters are no fun!
3. Get some music.
 I don't always listen to my i-pod, but I like having it available to pump me up if I'm running a big hill, doing a tempo run, or just trying to get myself to keep going on a long run. A little Come Thou Fount, Wave on Wave, or The World's Greatest are just what I need to get my mind right sometimes.
4. Become BFF with ice & epsom salt.
Epsom salt is seriously a magic formula. I cannot WAIT to get home from a long run and soak in an epsom salt bath with the jets on- it makes my life complete. Ice stinks, but it helps prevent and heal muscle and joint injuries.  I freeze water in Dixie cups and peel the cup- cheap/easy way to give yourself an ice massage.
5. Stretch often (just not before a run).
I've read lots of research about the negative effects of stretching cold muscles.  If your muscles get tight, you won't have to same range of motion, agility, etc.  I pop in a yoga DVD once a week and try to stretch regularly.  My calves and quads particularly stay tight...
{And maybe one day I'll be able to do that...A girl can dream, right?}
 I can't day it enough. Water, water, water, and an occasional sports drink (just don't go overboard because they tend to have a lot of sugar).  There is also lots of research about chocolate milk being a top post-run recovery drink. I LOVE cm, so I am in.
7. Eat a healthy,well-balanced diet.
No low-carb diets while training! Think a combo of lean protein, complex carbs, and fruits and veggies.
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8. Don't forget rest days!
 Listen to your body.  Don't run if you're sick or injured (you'll do more harm than good), and take 1-2 rest days a week.  Your body needs time to recover, and you'll come back stronger than ever.  This is a good time to cross train (elliptical, swim, walk, ride a bike, yoga, etc.)
9. Find somewhere you enjoy running, or people you enjoy running with.
This helps with motivation.
10. Do not compare yourself to others. 
 You may not be as fast as someone else or able to run for as long of distances, but you're still lapping everyone on the couch!!  Keep it up, focus on your own goals, and be proud of what YOU and your body are accomplishing.
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11. Run/Walk.
 If you're just starting out, don't be afraid to do some run/walks. Walk 3 minutes, jog for 1 minute. You'll build up cardiovascularly and as your endurance improves, you'll be able to run longer and faster.
12. Dress the part. 
Think loose fitting, seamless, and dri-fit. Chaffage stinks. And burns in the shower!!  OR go for some body glide if you can't afford a new workout wardrobe. :) Like me.
And this might be helpful.


Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl said...

I love this! All great tips. The title hit a soft spot in my heart, weird I know. When I was in high school that was my girlfriends and my motto for cross country and track. We would make shirts for every big race with that motto all over it.

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Melissa said...


What do you eat after a run? I've read you need carbs and protein... I am typically not at all hungry once ive done my run.

After my run I hit up the sauna, hottub,shower etc. and about an 2 hours later I have a normal dinner. The next morning, when im achey I drink one muscle milk for breakfast with a bannana. For a snack I have a greek yogurt... and thats about it for any recovery food then I eat normal meals. Do you have any advice?