One of the biggest reasons that I love the Spring season, is the running weather. I have been an on-and-off runner for the last several years, but I have remained fairly active with running for about a year and a half now. I have had to take a break from running in the last couple of months, due to a couple of injuries that happened back to back…on the same leg, but I am happy to slowly be getting back to running. One of my best friends and I trained for and ran a half marathon last fall and I learned that there are certain things that you definitely need if you want to be/are a runner.
- WATER. I never really realized how important it is to hydrate before a run, until i was in the thick of training last fall. When I did not hydrate, my joints felt stiff, my stomach would cramp so fast, and I just felt like I had zero energy/motivation to even be running in the first place. However, once I started the habit of hydrating the day before a run, that all changed. I had been drinking a lot of Gatorade and stuff before switching to mainly water, because I had a lot of trouble with my blood sugar after a lot of Gatorade. Just stick with water, however unappealing and boring it might be :), and keep the sugary stuff for mid run or when you feel like you might not make it. I try to drink 3-4 24oz bottles of water the day before a run and it works wonders. I don’t get cramps and joint stiffness hardly ever anymore and I feel energized to keep going.
- A running buddy. This is essential for me when going longer distances, although some may prefer to run alone. I found that when I would go for practice runs by myself, I didn’t even feel like I could go for even a mile or so, but yet when I ran with my training buddy, I could run 5-8 miles and feel fine. I probably has to do with the mutual motivation and accountability that you have with a training partner, so I highly recommend that you have a running buddy.
- Running playlist. Some people can run in silence and left to their own thoughts, but not this girl. When I run without music, all I can do is focus on the sound of my feet, my breathing, and every thought in my mind about why I don’t want to run. But when I have some music on, it just gives me that motivation and something else to focus on. My playlist from last fall had a lot of Elle Goulding, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Rachel Platten, Ben Rector, Of Monsters and Men, etc.
- Snacks. I really grew to love the Gu Energy Gels on days that I had longer runs or on race days. I would do fine without anything to eat until about 3-4 miles in, and then I would need to have something every 3 miles after that. The Gu Gel took me a little bit to get used to as it does have a weird texture, but it is extremely effective to give you that energy boost. And they come in a lot of flavors and caffeine potency.
- Good shoes. This is probably a no-brainer, but I’ll still mention it. Over the last few years I have just bought cheap pairs of running shoes that I could use them up and then buy a new pair because they weren’t that expensive. However, once I got serious about running, a good pair of shoes makes all the difference. I bought my first pair of expensive, good running shoes last year and I’m still a long ways off from needing to replace them. I went to the Asics Outlet in Branson, MO last summer and saved about $20-30 on a pair, than I would have at any regular shoe store.
I hope you have found this useful and that it has provided you with a little inspiration to either become a runner or get back into a running routine. Let me know if you have any tips or suggestions of things that you enjoy while running, or things that have been useful to you.
Love from, Amy.