Being home for Thanksgiving break has definitely been full of changes this year. My brothers weren’t home to feast with us, which is terribly sad because his dogs are the best running companions. We also went to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving….but, most excitingly, my mom and I started out the day with our first ever Turkey Trot! We even had Seth’s family join us too- yay!
Despite the 6:30AM wake-up call for us, the drive over, and the colder morning, Seth and I both hit PRs! He also got first in his class and 7th overall, holy smokes! He’s like lightning guys, looks like I found my trainer…hehe.
So thanksgiving was great, ran my best, but then come down to today’s run….. I was burnt out. It got me down to thinking about the reasons why. And more importantly, it may be things that you’re doing routinely that are hindering you from being the best runner you can be! Let’s take a look.
All aboard the hydration station, choo choo!
Hydration is most likely the number one problem for most people, including myself. I’m sure you all have heard the importance water has, and knowing it is the best choice of drink. Staying hydrated during the days (and especially during your runs) allows the body to regulate a normal blood pressure and keep you feeling at tip-top shape. If you get too dehydrated, it results in a low blood volume, causing a low blood pressure. When this happens, your heart will compensate for this decrease of pressure by pumping faster, raising your heart rate.
The poor body then isn’t able to perform as well and chances are you will feel absolutely miserable 😦 If you have trouble drinking water throughout the day, there are multiple ways to change that habit! For example, if you are at the desk for work, try sipping on a water bottle while you go about your daily tasks. This works perfect for me when I study and find myself drinking about 96 oz by the end of my study session! If this doesn’t work, try setting an alarm on your phone every couple hours to remind you to drink up and keep the water coming. Just remember that the hydration a couple of days before the race are the ones that count, not race day.
Healthy Body= Healthy Mind. Healthy Mind =Healthy Life.
This is probably what gets most of us over the holidays filled with wonderful food. Now, I am all about listening to your cravings and letting loose every once in awhile. I think if we don’t, we just end up binging more.
I figured this was my biggest culprit on my run today, eating leftovers filled with delicious butter, cheese, breads, etc. Although it is delicious, it is just not what my body is used to. After eating so much of it, I feel sick, and I almost regret my decisions.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet will provide you with the nutrients your body craves. Not only will a well-balanced diet improve the quality of your everyday life, it should improve your runs. Being resourceful in your energy choices allows your body to be more resourceful in its use while you run.
If you have trouble picking out healthier choices, try to start with adding a variety of colors to every meal. This should result in various vegetables and fruits to fuel your tank! To go a bit further, try to swap out your starchy grains- breads, pasta, rice, etc. – with whole wheat or whole grain products, like brown rice, whole-grain breads, and whole wheat pasta. Still crave your favorite guilty meal/dessert, but trying to stay on track with your training? Try searching for a healthified version of it, or experiment in the kitchen with your kids (or significant other) for some quality time. I have plenty of food blogs I absolutely love for my weakness foods if you would like me to share the suggestions 🙂
Last but not least… Sleep.
I know holidays make it hard, whether you are shopping for every last person in the family, cooking dinner after a long shift, or you’re in the hospital holding someone’s hand during a rough time while dealing with your own…. but be sure to care for yourself and be selfish for a bit. Sleep is vital to your mental health and the better the sleep, the more alert and productive you will see yourself being. Always shoot for 8 hours of sleep, but try not to sleep any less than 6 hours if you have control over it. When running on low sleep, it is hard to keep the mental focus and toughness it takes when your runs get longer and longer (or more painful…). Not having this mental toughness will make it hard to perform your best and stay locked in with the goals you set out at the beginning of your run.
If you find it hard to sleep, try looking into solutions as to what may be causing it. This could be various things, due to carbonation, too much caffeine, or just eating too soon to when you eventually fall asleep. But as always, don’t go wandering on WebMD, be sure to consult your doctor if you are worried!
Hope you guys benefit from learning/knowing the impact these few factors can play into running, and as always, happy training!!