Many runners think that they are invincible. Regardless of whether they are sick or nursing a slight injury, they try to run it off, until it is too late. And in order to keep on running, they will take measures such as applying cream, rubs or sport tapes on their injuries in a bid to reduce the pain, even if it’s an injury.You may be able to get away with such antics in your younger years, but as you get older, the body wears and tears over time, and before you know it, you may have sustained a serious injury that keeps you out of running for an extended period of time – the worst nightmare of any runner.
But before that happens, here are some simple tips on how to extend your running life.
1. Get enough sleep
Much as runners may not like to hear this, but resting and getting adequate sleep is vital for a long and healthy running journey.
This is because running is very hard on the body, with the constant pounding on the pavements. Running weakens the body, not strengthens it. In order to repair the body tissues and enable it to become stronger, you need sleep to help with the repair work.
Many elite athletes get about 10 to 12 hours of sleep every night, excluding a short afternoon nap. Though this may be hard for amateur runners who are holding down day jobs, just try and get as much sleep as possible.
2. Hydrate yourself adequately
Like sleeping, hydration is also very important for runners especially as age creeps up.
This is because running makes you sweat and if you do not take in sufficient fluids to replace the ones lost through sweat, you will become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to other serious problems such as kidney damage.
But at the same time, do not drink too much – if you have drunk so much that you are feeling bloated during a training run or a race, then you may have been over-hydrating. This is a condition known as hyponatremia, which reduces the sodium level in the blood to dangerous levels, leading to the athlete fainting or possibly falling into a coma.
So the general rule of thumb is, to drink whenever you are feeling thirsty. Listen to your body’s signals.
3. Do Strength Training
Doing strength training helps to make the muscles stronger and at the same time, to prevent overuse and overtraining injuries caused by running – something that is very common amongst runners, especially female athletes, because of the way that women’s bodies are built.
And by doing a resistance and strength training programme on a regular basis to supplement your running, studies have also proven that you can expect to boost your running abilities by eight per cent. So if you want to get faster at running, then this might be the way to go.
4. Do Cross Training
Cross Training is useful for runners, to prevent their running muscles from becoming fatigued and overworked. Swimming and Cycling are great cross-training activities for runners.
This is because they help to improve your cardio fitness, but at the same time, you will not be over-stressing your running muscles, because different muscles are used for these other activities.
So if you are a regular runner, why not incorporate Swimming and Cycling into your regular training routine?
5. Worry LessRunning should be enjoyable and something you should be looking forward to doing. Do not keep on fretting about unimportant factors such as whether you are wearing the latest running gear or sports shoes, and why you are running at a slower pace than your best friend, during your workouts.
Instead try and look forward to your running workouts. Allow yourself to have some fun. Perhaps reward yourself with a nice meal after a run with your buddy – give yourself a good motivation to do your next workout and you will soon find yourself becoming a more happy runner.