I will have been running for the years this coming May and can honestly say that although i have learnt so much about my body and how it works in that time i still have lots to learn!
In order to get that amazing feeling of satisfaction from a run it seems that there are so many things to consider and make decisions about, before even getting out the door!
1. Top of the list for me is most definitely food. I need to eat at least two or three hours before a run. If I don’t eat I end up feeling weak, if I eat too close to the start of a run I am guaranteed tummy trouble. If I’m going for a morning run I even need to look at what time I’m eating the night before. Anything past 8pm is a no go for me and I tend to stick to my safe option of a veggie pizza the night before a race. Tried and tested is key!
2. Clothing. I would live in my favourite shorts all year round if I could, or my favourite tights. I have various other bottom half items that I have to use inbetween washes but the comfy rating is just not the same. Recently I made the mistake of wearing tights with holes in… These have now been binned after spending two days of walking with my legs as far apart as I can get them and covering my legs in Vaseline to prevent any more chafing taking place!
I start off shaking with cold on a run but by mile 1 I’m usually sweating buckets and my hands get itchy from the heat. I’ve repeatedly made the mistake of wearing long sleeve tops with sleeves I can’t roll up or putting on too many layers for a run. I’m an awful runner in the heat. Give me a cold, windy day any time.
3. Toilet. A must before every run, no matter what time of day. I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s ever had to nip into the pub loo or change a twenty mile to three!
4. Nutrition on a run. I never used to take on either food or drink during running before training for my first marathon. I was so worried about ending up needing the toilet on my run. Gradually I started running with a Lucozade Sport for anything over ten miles and noticed a difference. I can take on Jelly Babies whilst running but until recently all gels destroyed my insides. I really got on with the Maxifuel gels though so those made a regular appearance on my long runs towards the end of last year.
5. Sleep. If I’ve had a busy week my body tells me so and I feel energy less and lack concentration. Often stumbling on runs by not picking my feet up high enough or being alert enough to dodge across a track.
This morning I was due to run ten miles. Five at easy pace and five at marathon pace. Well, the five easy were not particularly easy. And the second five were not run at marathon pace! My body felt tired, probably from the long days I’d had in the week. I knew that if I pushed it too much I would struggle for the rest of the coming week…I hadn’t followed the five commandments above, definitely not the sleep one at least and it made a big difference! I covered the ten miles but didn’t check my watch at all and wrote today’s run off as experience. It really does pay to overhaul each part of your lifestyle to get the best results.