It’s pretty easy with running to measure your progress. There’s lots of ways to tell if you are improving. You can tell if your distance increases or you cover more distance in less time.
I always like checking my progress. If I’m not getting anywhere, what I like to do is look at cues my body is telling me and try to improve them.
I’ve put together a list of stuff I like to do to improve my progress.
Eat before I run
I like to add some fuel to my body before I run. About 1 to 3 hours before I run, I like to eat a small amount of carbohydrates. This helps fuel me for longer runs.
During the winter, I’m a little lazy when it comes to running. I’ll run when it’s above 20 degrees but I won’t run on a treadmill.
Instead, I do a core strengthening routine. I’ll do yoga and weight strengthening. The workouts target specific muscles I’m weak in. Getting stronger at your weak points will help improve your overall fitness level, making you less susceptible to injury.
As mentioned, I won’t run below 20 degrees, but I will go out and ski below 20 degrees. I’m not sure why I have this arbitrary cut off line but skiing is great cross training.
Cross training allows me to keep my cardio but use other muscles. It keeps me from being a one-trick pony.
Improve your gait
You will need help from your podiatrist or physical therapist for this one. But, they can help you analysis your gait, which can help you with soreness and help reduce injury, making you more efficient.
Go easy, go hard: Increase slowly
Injuries often occur when people jump into a new activity without acclimating to that activity.
Running is no different. A good rule of thumb is to increase your mileage less than 10 percent each week.
The gradual change helps your body build tolerance to the new stress.
Get the right shoes
This may sound like a no brainer but it is important: Buy running shoes that fit your feet. Also, running shoes wear out faster than walking shoes because of the constant pounding while running. This means that you should replace them every 6 months or so.
Do a trail run with a group
Running solo is great but running with a group is better, but doing a trail run with a group is best, in my opinion.
You get out in the woods and get chatting with friends while running. Cool stuff.
Get a massage
Massages are great. They can help improve your flexibility, relax your muscle, and up the blood flow to the muscle.
When you set training goals or racing goals, you are more likely to follow your program and be more successful. That’s no surprise because you have a vision of what you want and know how to achieve it.
Grab some grub after a run
Your body uses its glycogen stores during a long run and you want to replace them as soon as possible after running. It’s a good idea to eat a small amount of carbohydrate and protein after your run.
The carbs replace the glycogen and the protein helps with muscle repair.
Running is a great sport that can be taking up by just about anybody. It will take time for you to figure out what works best for you but you will learn from experience.