Welcome to part 2, of my two part series on what I consider to be the most crucial things I have learned from running.
6) Nutrition is just as important as logging your miles. So accept it, and start incorporating it.
Any endurance activity going on for an hour or more requires fueling- food, carb drink, etc. Your body likes to use glucose to feed working muscles. Glucose comes from carbs, and it comes from its stored form of glycogen. Glycogen takes some time to be broken down and our bodies prefer sources of glucose that are readily available – like getting glucose in our bloodstream mid-activity.
Gels, bloks, drinks- there are a variety of ways to do this. Except these things can also be upsetting to people’s stomachs, it’s easy to take in too much electrolyte drink – then you get sloshy stomach…. It really takes practice to know what gels you like or dislike, when to take them, etc.
I mean unless you want to take the gamble of bonking at mile 22, or puking at mile 15 – practice your nutrition!!!
And also remember your recovery nutrition. 🙂
7)Know that you won’t PR at every race. Embrace this knowledge sooner rather than later.
This is a harder thing to embrace, especially when you are newer to running- you may actually PR quite often if you run a lot and really dedicate some time to running. This happened to me- I started running and doing races in 2012, and started seriously training in 2013. It wasn’t until 2015 where I had a race that I had full intention of pr-ing and I just didn’t.
No rhyme or reason- it was just not my day to run they way I wanted/needed to to run a PR. Accepting this at mile 6 and just having fun – is what rescued the race.
8) Pace is important. You don’t need to haul ass on every training run.
I’ve learned this the hard way, and having a coach that has set up training plans for me has been extraordinarily helpful. Prior to my training cycles this year – I ran every run in a way that every run needed to be faster than the last. I never really differentiated between an easy pace run, long run pace, or tempo.
This (I am very confident) lead to me over training, and causing me to fall apart on Marathon day last October. Not every training run needs to be at race pace – and sometimes going slower – it just feels better – even when you know you are physically capable of gong faster.
9) Stretching Isn’t fun. But it helps so much
So make time for it. Maybe some people think it’s fun – to me I just like the way I feel after I stretch I just rarely remember to do it – unless I am already sore. But it seriously helps – so does foam rolling, especially as mileage increases.
Ice baths are helpful too. Also not fun, but again- helpful.
10) Remember why you’re doing this. Why you started running doesn’t have to be the same thing or reason as why you’re doing it now.
See I could have been so cliche and said “Have fun!” But if you even took the time to read this two part blog post odds are you find running to be something to be pretty recreational. Personally I find challenging things to be fun – running fits into that category. Looking back I started running on a whim, moreso out of boredom, it became the challenge of doing things I never thought I could to start racing more, and training for longer distances. Currently I run because yes I need that challenge, and I want my redemption race in Chicago.