Here are our top 10 strategic tips for runners to help increase strength, and stamina so you can give your all during your workouts and meet your goals on race day.
Head to Toe Fitness
No strength training plan for runners would be complete without this advice: work out your whole body. You don’t need to get big, stick to light cardio and strength-building reps for your arms and core like sit-ups, push-ups, crunches,and Pilates.
Strength and flexibility go together. Increased flexibility equals increased resilience; it makes you less prone to injury. It is developed with stretching but also other activities like skiing, running hills, or using an elliptical trainer – anything that moves your body in ways that a run does not.
Make sure you have enough to drink before, during and after the run. If your body is dehydrated, it must work harder to cool you down, and you will have less energy for running.
While it is tempting to drink more water, this can lead to demineralizing of your tissues and bones. If you’re not a fan of rehydration drinks, try for a balanced meal or snack that includes some potassium, calcium,and salt.
As much as you want to just lay on the floor and bask in the beautiful oblivion after giving it your all, taking a few minutes to reduce your pace and then stretch all the muscles you just worked will leave you much less sore (and less prone to injury) in the days and hours that follow.
Rest & Recover
It takes time for your body to recover from a problematic workout; fatigue sets in, you feel exhausted. Don’t be afraid to listen to the message your body is sending and let it rest for a day or two after a particularly tough work out.
Eat Real Food
These days, most popular food choices that are quick and easy are also loaded with synthetic chemicals, refined sugar and starches (think, fewer nutrients) and over-processed (bad) fats. Buy foods that are as close to their natural form as possible and get the most fuel for your body from every calorie you consume.
Change the Scenery
If the track you’ve been running is getting boring, try changing up your route. This has two benefits: it distracts you from the difficulty of your work out and re-invigorates your mind and body. The brain thrives on change. Some locales can even give your body a boost. Running in the woods, for example, provides more oxygen per breath than running along the side of a busy road or even a treeless track.
Power with Protein
If your goal is weight loss, it is essential to provide your body with the tools it needs to build muscles. If you want the calories burned during your workout to be primarily fat rather than muscle, eat a meal that is high in protein, rather than just carbs or fats.
It’s great to have a running buddy, someone who can keep you accountable on those days you just don’t want to go. If possible, try making two or three contacts with whom you can work out. That way, if someone gets sick or must take a few days off because of a work project, you won’t be stuck running alone.