6 Ways to Step up Your Running Game for an Amazing Performance
We’ve all experienced those terrible moments during a running workout where our legs feel as though they’ve been filled with concrete or fastened to the floor. The thing that surprises most professional athletes and hobbyist runners alike is that you may not feel exhausted from the things that you’ve done – so much as the things that you haven’t done.
If you take steps to treat your legs, and your entire body before you begin to run, and the cooling-down moments after your workout, the chances are that you’ll experience better performance, improved stamina, and even quicker recovery times. Here are just some of the ways that you can put a touch of extra kick into your running routine.
1. Don’t Run on a Full Stomach
If you fill yourself up with a particularly bulky meal before going out on a run, then you’re not going to like the results. Most nutritionist and health experts suggest that you should wait at least three hours before heading out onto the asphalt following a large meal. Although it may feel as though building up your energy with a bite to eat before you start exercising is a prudent idea, the truth is that almost nothing you eat directly before a run will improve your energy levels or performance.
If you are starving or can’t wait until after your run to chow down, try snacking on something that’s easy for your system to absorb. This can be a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, a handful of dried fruit, or a banana. No, a delicious Whopper, a large shrimp burrito, a slice of carrot cake does not suffice.
2. Stay Hydrated
Before heading out on your run, you should drink at least eight oz. of water to prevent the terrible repercussions of dehydration. If you’re going to be on your feet for longer than 10k, you should probably consider planning your route to hit a water stop along the way, or take your water bottle with you. Staying hydrated is a terrific way to keep your legs from cramping – particularly in those summer days when the weather starts to become hot.
And those in Arizona, you know all about that! It starts getting hot in April!
3. Start Off Slowly
A lot of runners find themselves tempted to engage in some intense stretching when they’re getting warmed up for a run – but try not to get too ahead of yourself. Hip rotations, ankle rolls, and knee circles are just some gentle exercises you can try out to get your body loose and relaxed without straining your joints. Remember to begin your run with an easy and relaxed stride – not taking things too fast.
Gradually increase your pace over time until you’re running at your desired level. Remember that if you start off too fast, you’ll end up with sore legs, and often run out of gas much quicker than you expected.
4. Remember to Cool Down and Relax
After falling into a jog for three to five minutes so that you can cool down, make sure that you stretch thoroughly. Don’t fall into the temptation to jump into a car and head to your next event, or you could find yourself walking around with tight legs for the remainder of the day. A period of stretching and cooling down will allow the lactic acid in your muscles to be flushed out of your bloodstream.
5. Take a Hot Bath
Taking a hot and relaxing bath in your tub after a workout can be a sparkling way to speed up the recovery process and make yourself feel fantastic after a challenging run. Soaking your legs can help to warm up your muscles so that they relax back into their natural shapes – because of this, simply taking a shower is unlikely to work quite as well.
6. Replenish Your Supplies
Finally, if you’ve engaged in a particularly tough or strenuous run, it’s important to make sure that you get the right fuel back into your system if you want to recover as quickly and as well as possible. Most of the time, it’s recommended that you stick to a meal that’s heavy in protein for at least one of your two meals as this will help damaged muscles to start rebuilding themselves – making you feel better. Another thing you should try to stock up on is fresh vegetables and a delicious green salad. This will boost your system with a collection of valuable minerals and vitamins.
If you do not want to make a salad yourself, you can buy salads that are already made at any supermarket. After eating this delicious salad, your day is pretty much complete. Well, you may still have to vacuum or run some errands!
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About Benjamin Roussey Benjamin is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.