I am so excited to share with you a collaborative with my friend, old housemate and fellow Phi Mu sister Jennie from TheFitGirls365! This bright and wonderful lady spreads encouraging words on what it truly means to be healthy and uses her knowledge of exercise science to teach others. I personally have trouble with sticking to a workout and recently decided I wanted to start running. So far it has felt like a complete failure because I have no idea what I am doing. So I asked Jennie to share with you and me her tips on running. After completing the New York Marathon last year I think she has some great tips for runners at any stage of the game!
(The Day) Before:
Drink plenty of water. You’ll feel sluggish, tired, and potentially cramp up if you don’t.
Eat a well balanced diet. Some protein, a little fat, and definitely some complex carbs. Think grilled chicken, quinoa, and spinach salad...mhm yum!!
Plan your run. Are you going to run in the morning? At night? On the road? On a treadmill? For runners just starting out, I recommend running no more than 10 minutes straight and increasing time instead of distance as you progress. Further distances (like 5 miles) will come when you progress to being able to run for longer periods of time.
Lay out your running clothes (or better yet, sleep in them!). This is especially important if you’re getting up early to run. More times than I am proud to admit have I just continued to hit the snooze button and completely skipped my run for the day because I made excuses as to why I shouldn’t get out of bed. Setting your running clothes out not only saves time but, prepares you mentally for the task ahead. This applies to playlists, audiobooks or podcasts as well. Music can sometimes be a saving grace during a run, but don’t waste time you set aside to run playing around with your ipod. Also, make sure your running shoes fit...if they don’t, don’t run until they do aka buy a new pair.
Mediate. I’m not saying sit on the ground criss-cross applesauce, chanting, and clearing your mind of all thoughts for hours on end...unless that’s what you’re into. I’m saying: set yourself up for success. Give yourself a pep talk. Envision yourself not only running, but running well. Take yourself mentally through your run before you do it. Picture what you’ll see on your run. Think about how you’ll feel during (and after!). Envision yourself cruising up that steep hill.
Warm-up! I can not stress this enough, the best way to avoid injury while running is a proper warmup. If you’re new to running your muscles and joints are not going to be used to this new stress on your body. Do a light jog for five minutes and then some dynamic stretches that mimic running motions...think butt kicks, high knees, and marching soldiers (kick your leg straight out and up with each step forward, you should feel a gentle pull in the back of your legs).
Don’t be afraid to walk. The best of the best runners have all had to walk at some point. Walking can be a great way to “reset and recharge” during a run. Of course you’re out there to run, so don’t walk the whole time, but I highly recommend a walk/run interval workout for beginners. Trying running for 3 minutes straight and then walking for a minute up to 30 minutes. You can then gradually build from there before you know it you’ll be crossing a marathon finish line.
Meditate. Count how many blue cars you run by. Name every dog you see. Give people you pass a back story. Count backwards from 100 by 7. Focus on a part of your body that may not be doing that much work like your pinky finger, how does your pinky finger feel? Where is your pinky finger in relation to the rest of your body? Basically, do anything to distract yourself from the heavy breathing and sore legs. You’ll think less about how much you hate exercising and feel more “zen” in the process. Trust me, do I like running? No, but here I am running marathons. The feeling after a run makes it all worth it.
Pace yourself. Don’t go all out in the beginning to just hit a wall before the end of your run. But also, don’t save everything for the end either. Pacing is something that takes practice but, will allow you to accomplish different types of running later on. For example a faster mile or a longer distance.
Smile. It just makes everything better.
Cooldown & Stretch! In the same way your body needed to warm up your body needs to cool down as well. When you finish your run, continue to jog/walk for few minutes and then treat yourself to some stretching, especially your legs!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! You worked up a sweat, you need to put all that liquid you lost back in! Hydrate now so you're ready to rock your next run!
Refuel! Just like water, your body needs to refuel! A light meal, full of protein and whole grains is usually best! I love peanut butter on whole grain toast with an apple!! If a light meal isn’t in the cards, try chocolate milk! The sugar from the chocolate will replace the glycogen stores you depleted and the protein in the milk will help to rebuild those muscle fibers. If you’re interested in a protein powder, which I highly recommend if you do any sort of weight training, the only one on the market right now that’s even worth looking at is Juice Plus+ Complete...if you’re interested in learning more about it, visit jenniebunce.juiceplus.com
Set Intentions for Your Next Run (and set short term and long term goals). Reflection and goal setting is the best way to keep yourself accountable. Realize what your downfalls were and what you can do to improve. How can you continue to do the things that worked during your run?
Do a Happy Dance! Because you’re a runner now!! And runners are some of the most determined, hard working, and FUN people on the planet!! If it’s a 14 minute mile or a 6 minute mile, it is still a mile in the end.
Thanks for reading, runner! Hope these tips help you crush your next run, whether it’s a ¼ mile, a 5k or an ultra-marathon! Keep up with TheFitGirls365 for fitness, health, and wellness tips year round!! Xx J
I can't wait for my next run! If you want to know my thoughts on athletic leisurewear and see my favorite workout outfit head over to TheFitGirls365 !
Blessings from Birmingham!