I’ve starting running again; gradually increasing my mileage each week. As I progress, I realize the importance of preparing properly for my run. There are many factors that can affect your running experience such as your clothing, the weather, dehydration, poor sleep, and insufficient warm-up
- Carb load and hydrate the day before your long run– commonly referred to as Carbohydrate Loading or carbo-loading, is a strategy used by endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, to maximize the storage of glycogen (or energy) in the muscles and liver. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day with your meals and avoid excess caffeine. Urine should be a pale, straw color which is the best indicator of hydration. Dark yellow usually indicates dehydration.
- Get plenty of rest the day before your long run and mentally prepare yourself for a good run. Go to bed early to ensure a good night of sleep. Be sure to set your alarm to get up early to prepare for your run. Check the weather for your planned run time and lay out appropriate clothing and running shoes for your run. Don’t forget your Garmin watch if you keep pace and mileage during your run. When selecting clothing, consider layering with a long sleeve running shirt, arm sleeves, compression socks, hat, etc.
- Pack a snack bag the night before to take with you with items for during and after your run. I normally pack a water bottle and sports beans to carry with me on my run. I also pack a full water bottle and a banana and/or energy bar for after the run. It’s important to have snacks and water on hand due to issues you may have with low blood sugar, or electrolyte imbalance. Per Dr. Bennett’s article: Hydration and Electrolytes – Impact on Athletic Performance by Paul B. Bennett, Jr. Ph.D
The body performs delicate balancing acts to keep water and electrolyte levels optimal. If blood sodium levels drop too low, the kidneys are stimulated to produce more urine. This restores balance by lowering the amount of water in the blood. If sodium levels get too high, thirst develops, stimulating the person to drink. Hormones secreted in response to thirst cause the kidneys to produce less urine and conserve water. During intense exercise and sweating these systems are taxed and the endurance athlete must sometimes anticipate where the system (body) is heading in terms of water and electrolyte status in order to avoid problems. The take home message here is: If you are thirsty – drink water! Your body is talking to you.
- 4. Plan to get up at least an hour before you need to leave for your run. Drink water upon arising and eat a good breakfast. I’ve found that organic oats with sliced bananas and a scoop of whey protein is the perfect pre-run fuel. The carb and protein combination helps provide sustained energy for a long run.
- 5. Always make sure you tell someone where you are running and if possible run with a friend. It’s always best to run with someone in case of emergencies that may occur when running. Remember safety in numbers. Make sure you have your cell phone fully charged and carry with you if possible. Per article on myrunningtips.com
- Run With A Buddy
As running safety tips go, this one is not always doable, but if you can find someone to run with regularly, great! – you can look out for each other and you are statistically less likely to be attacked if you are with another runner. But finding a running partner who matches the same pace as you, same running goals and so on, can be difficult. Maybe joining a local running club could help you find someone?
Remember preparation is key for a good run and as you increase mileage it become more important. After your run make sure you take time to stretch, hydrate, and re- fuel to help aid in recovery. Consider wearing compression socks to help with circulation and prevent muscle soreness. Taking a little extra time for planning your run can make it a much more enjoyable experience. Happy running!