I grew up playing basketball so running was something I enjoyed, for the most part. I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to run up and down the court and last the entire game. I started focusing on running as its own sport my senior year of high school when I joined the cross country team. I was in such good shape and I miss that feeling of running three miles and not feeling like I was going to pass out afterwards. Unfortunately, that’s my current situation. I went for a run earlier this week and was winded before I reached the two milk mark. I know some of the things I did wrong in preparation for this so I want to share a few tips for when you decide to tackle a long distance run.Hydrate & Fuel I’m not a morning person but I love getting my workouts done in the morning so I get it over with. This is a problem because my body isn't accustomed to eating early so my first mistake was running on an empty stomach. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll list some pre-workout options that are light enough to keep away that bloated feeling yet still give you the energy you need.
- slice of toast with peanut butter
- half a turkey sandwich
- a banana or apple with peanut butter
- yogurt with granola (I’m a Chobani fan)
- English muffin with smashed avocado
Along with food comes making sure you have enough water. You should bring some along on the run but make sure you get around 8 to 16 oz in before your run.
Mind the Temperature
Especially in the summer, you need to be mindful of the condition you plan on running in. Primetime is when the sun isn't up yet but if you snooze your alarm and end up in bed until ten, you should either run indoors or in a well-shaded place. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm so you should aim to run before or after. My disastrous run was done on an empty stomach in the blazing 11am sun. You can say I set myself up for that one. If you can only get a workout in while the sun is out, you want to drink 4 oz. every fifteen minutes to avoid heat cramps or even worse, heat stroke.
Protect Your Skin
The summer heat is one thing but it is also important to protect your skin from the sun when you’re outdoors. You should be using at least SPF 30 when running outside. Also, think about the area you’re running in. If it’s a swampy area filled with flies and ticks, opt for long sleeves to protect yourself from bites.
Listen to your body Like every workout, your body knows what it can handle. Push yourself but know when it’s time to call it a day. Gradually increase your speed and distance as the days go on, don’t hurt yourself trying to get a new PR (personal record). Listen to your body and work towards your goals safely.
Have another tip to add to the list? Feel free to comment and share!