June kicked off with National Running Day and the competitive and fun run season isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, July is one of the busiest months of the year for anyone interested in 10k’s, half marathons and marathons. Whether you’re training to beat the clock at an organized race, or just hitting the road after work or a weekend to stay in shape, it’s important to look after yourself on the road. From prep to performance and recovery consider these three tips to get – and keep – you road ready while the sun shines.
Pace yourself – and prep well
Even for regular runners, the summer months can require a change in attitude or training. Months of good weather can tempt you to run more, longer and even faster. Take your time to ramp up. Don’t hurtle off the blocks and tackle too much before you’re ready. You’re probably a pro at pacing your runs by the second, but it’s important to pace for yourself for the likely uptick in the number of runs and distance during summer months. If you’re increasing the frequency of runs in your week don’t then also add miles at the same time, at least not for a week or two. When you feel you’re running without effort or injury, add mileage in half mile increments over a span of a few weeks. And stay hydrated as, even without additional miles under your belt, your body is being taxed with higher temperatures. The general rule of thumb is to drink 4-6 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of running or 6-8 ounces if you’re one of the few sprinting less than five minute miles.
Warm up – every time
The more you run the more you feel confident you can just grab your shoes and head out the door. But the pro’s know warm up and cool down is an essential step in any run. Think about dynamic versus static stretches – a routine that warms up muscles through motion stretching. 10 front and back shoulder rolls, gentle upper body twisting from side to side in a lunge position to warm up the hips and rotating knee stretches, rolling your ankles clockwise and counter clockwise through full rotations. To get the heart rate up and get the most out of your runs, try a 15 minute session of light cardio exercises. There are a wide variety of options in the FOD library to keep every pre-run routine fresh and fun.
Eat right – before and after
You run you burn calories but to keep going mile after mile and day after day your body needs fuel. Things like a banana, with natural nut butter which is high in potassium and protein will up prep your system pre-run, while dried fruit and particularly tart cherries will give you an energy boost and aid with sleep later. Everyone is different, but typically try to eat around 30 minutes before you start your run and then 20 minutes after your finish a post run stretch. Protein rich snacks with a little carbohydrates will help your muscles recover faster. Grab things like peanut butter, chocolate milk (the recovery drink of swimmers too), nuts and high protein yoghurt that can deliver 16g of protein compared to the 5g of traditional yoghurt.
Post run hydration
Drink water often. Fluids help regulate body temperature and can reduce inflammation by flushing damaged cells from exercise from the body. Aim to drink approximately half your body weight in ounces for proper hydration, so if you weigh 150 lbs., drink 75oz of water a day. Remember too, that you can get water from tea, coffee and even some fruits and vegetables.