Some runners seem to have it all. They eat well, they sleep well, they enjoy their training, they’re rarely injured and they’re out running day in, day out, year in, year out. Key to their consistency and success are habits, utilised on a daily basis, to ensure that they are motivated, energised and stronger for the next workout.
Identify the purpose of your next workout
What do you want to achieve from your next workout? Is the purpose of this session to build aerobic endurance, speed, leg strength or increaseenergy efficiency? Maybe today needs to be a rest day in order to maximise recovery.
If every training session has a purpose you can better track and plan your training as well as identify any weaknesses. As a result you will become a more successful runner.
Pay close attention to your body and mind
It’s important to recognise little niggles and soreness rather than ignoring it in the hope that it will just disappear. If you’re feeling sore it’s time to bust out the foam roller; if you have a slight niggle consider resting or lowering the intensity of your workout.
It’s also important to pay attention to your mind. Are you exhausted? Then get to bed early so you’re fresh for tomorrow morning's run. Also evaluate if you’re actually too tired or just being lazy!
Don’t neglect other building blocks
There’s a lot more to being a successful runner than just running. There are a number of building blocks such as cross training, stretching, foam rolling and following a healthy diet that will increase your success as a runner.
Strength training is a fantastic form of cross training that you can use to supplement your running. Key benefits include a reduction in injuries, an increase in power and efficiency and faster recovery. Be wary not to neglect core strength as this is of particular importance in maintaining proper form.
Stretching and foam rolling is particularly important in recovery and injury prevention. Dynamic stretches pre-run to prepare your body and static stretches post-run to return your muscles to their pre-run flexibility. Foam rolling is also key in alleviating muscle soreness, thus allowing you to feel fresher for tomorrow's workout.
A final important building block is a healthy diet. You need to be fuelled up for your workout and also provide your body with the tools to help recover. Following a healthy diet will also motivate you to complete your healthy lifestyle through consistent exercise.
Be consistent with your training plans
Don’t hop from one trend to the next. Find a training plan you like, schedule it into your week and don’t deviate from it. If you’re doing everything else right (getting enough sleep and recovering sufficiently) you will see results. If you’re constantly chopping and changing your routine you won’t give your body the opportunity to become stronger and more efficient. If you stick with your training you will see results and thus become a better runner.
Review your training sessions
If it didn’t go as planned, why not? Don’t just chalk it down as an off day. Did you not fuel sufficiently? Were you too sore or achy? Had you not recovered sufficiently? Identify the problem and rectify it for the next workout. Perhaps you need to increase or reduce what you eat pre-run or maybe you need to cool down more sufficiently.
Connect with other runners
Everybody needs to brag now and again! It obviously shouldn’t be your main source of motivation but it feels good when you can share your accomplishments with those who share the same interests.
Connecting with other runners also provides the opportunity to discuss each other's goals, training plans and offer support. You might pick up some tips!
Recognise your accomplishments
The most obvious source of motivation may be to look forward to your next goal. However, it’s also important to look back at what has got you where you are now. What you have already achieved should demonstrate that you have the ability and determination to achieve your next goal. After all, if you don’t give yourself credit for what you have already achieved how can you believe in yourself to achieve something even greater?
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