Leading The Good Life

Running Week: My Favorite Running Tips

I thought I'd round out Running Week by sharing a few of my favorite running tips. If you've missed any of the other posts, you can check them out here:

My Favorite Running Tips

(Of course, this is what works for me...have fun exploring what works for you!)

  • Drop the cord of your headphones inside your shirt. This will keep it from bouncing around or getting accidentally caught on your swinging arms.

  • Stretch after you run, not before. You don't want to stretch cold muscles, so at least do a warm up mile first if you want to stretch before your run.
  • Don't assume that just because you have a walk signal you are safe to cross. Omaha is not a very pedestrian-friendly city, and drivers don't always seem to consider that there may be someone in the crosswalk. I say, assume they don't see you and act accordingly. I try to make eye contact with drivers and then give a wave when I can tell they are waiting for me. (Be especially careful when the driver is turning right on red...because they will be looking left!)
  • Try lacing your shoes like this for added ankle stability and to prevent rubbing/blisters: Instead of crossing to the other side for the last hole, slide the lace through the hole just above where it is. This creates a loop. Now slide the lace from the opposite side through this loop.

  • Try a running club or find a running buddy. Best decision I ever made for my running.
  • Of course, run on sidewalks when available. But when they're not, run on the left side of the street. That way you can see the cars approaching and move out of the way, if necessary.
  • If you are running in a high-traffic area (cars, bikes, or other runners), only put headphones in one ear. It's important to be aware of your surroundings to help avoid collisions.
  • Two words: Foam Roller

  • If running over for over an hour, take in about 100 calories worth of fuel (GU, Gatorade, etc) about every 60 minutes. (I do every 6 miles.)

  • Go to a running store and get fitted for shoes at least once. That way you know what to look for (neutral, stability, etc.)
  • Cotton is the enemy! At least while running. Invest in some sweat-wicking athletic gear. It doesn't have to be expensive - even Target carries it! (Before my first marathon, I had a nightmare that I accidentally wore a cotton t-shirt to the race. :) )
  • Don't try anything new on race day. This means shoes, clothes, food, etc. You don't want any surprises!
  • Rinse your running clothes before tossing in the laundry. I sweat a lot, and salt can break down fabric fibers. When I get home from a run, I rinse my running clothes in cool water and then let them drip-dry if I don't plan to launder them right away. It helps maintain the integrity of the clothes and cuts down on stank. Bonus Tip: Put an additional spring-loaded curtain rod on the inside of the shower against the wall to use to let clothes drip-dry out of the way.

  • Don't wear anti-perspirant while running. This may seem counter intuitive (exercising is when I sweat and stink!), but really you are supposed to sweat when you exercise. It's how your body stays cool. Plus, the built up residue is what imbues your clothes with perma-funk.
  • Running shoes do not need to be broken in. Granted, you want to take them on a few runs before the race to make sure they fit you properly and don't rub, but they should be good to go straight from the box.
  • Run with identification, whether it be your driver's license, a Road ID, or just a slip of paper with your name and emergency contact information tucked in your pocket.

  • Make yourself visible, especially in hard-to-see situations. Bright colors and reflective gear are great ways to make sure motorists spot you on the road before it's too late. I found some reflective arm bands (essentially, slap bracelets) that I wear whenever I'm running in the dark. And I have these awesome day-glo shorts. ;)

  • Be concious of the fact that everyone runs at different paces and has different goals. When you have running friends, join a running club, or read running blogs, it's easy to start comparing yourself to others. Don't! Also, be sensitive to others' abilities and goals. A "slow" pace for you may be a fast pace for someone else. And just because you want to run a marathon doesn't mean that everyone else wants to, too.
  • Abide by the 10% Rule. To help avoid injury, increase neither your long run mileage nor your total weekly mileage by more than 10% each week.
  • Prepare for your race or long run the night before. Lay out everything you'll need and think about what you'll have for breakfast etc. The less to worry about in the morning, the better.

  • Get a good night's sleep 2 nights before a big race. Chances are nerves and pre-race jitters will keep you from sleeping soundly the night before the race, so rest up the night prior.
  • If you run a marathon on Sunday, take Monday off from work. I'm still learning this one. ;)
  • Ice baths rule. Don't be afraid of them!

Ok, that's all I can come up with for now. Please share any running-related tips that you have!

On that note, I'm off for a run. I hope you enjoyed Running Week!