As I prepare to run the Niagara Falls International Marathon, I had some time yesterday on my long run to reflect and think about a few things that have helped me improve my running from last year to this year. Last year was my first time training for a marathon. After experiencing what I did last year, I know I am more experienced and wiser about what I need to do to stay healthy and train to make my marathon experience more positive.
Here is a list of a few things I was able to think of on how I improve my running from last year
1. To run faster, you need to run faster
I am faster this year than last year. I have improved my running pace by about twenty to thirty seconds and can run comfortably at a higher rate of speed this year compared to last year. Now, by all means, I am faster, but that is compared to MY own results from last year. I am, by no means, a fast runner. But I am running faster than last year. Why? How? Well to run faster, you have to run faster! It isn’t rocket science. If you want to run a 5:00 km, you can’t run it if you don’t run he km at a 5:00 pace. So, I started to run faster.
2. Treats are treats
I love chips. And beer. I am a self confessed beer snob. But beer and chips are treats. Hey are not staples in my regular diet. I enjoy them when we entertain or out with friends, but only if it doesn’t interfere with my training. Treats are treats to enjoy occasionally.
3. What I am eating/fueling my body with before I run
My diet has changed to help fuel my body for exercise. I have started to consume more nuts, granola, more leafy greens and more beans and legumes. I tried to make more soup in the Summer as well. All food that goes into my body is for the purpose of fueling my body.
4. The foam roller
Most people who run complain about the sore legs afterwards. The solution to this issue is deep tissue massage and the most convenient way for this to happen is by foam rolling. It is painful, it can hurt, but it provides your legs with some much needed deep tissue massage to help your
Eggs recover a lot quicker and to reduce in the post long run soreness.
5. A stronger core makes for a stronger runner
I am much stronger thanks to the core exercises that I do wWhen stretching after runs. My wife shares a variety of core exercises with me and I work on them in private because my body SHAKES when I do them. Still. After 6 months of doing them. In other words, my body is stronger, but I have a lot of work to get even stronger!
6. What I am eating/fueling my body when I run
Proper fueling during the long runs means I have enough fuel in my body to run for a long time. I finally found gels that I can swallow. I found chews that I enjoy chewing and found an electrolyte drink that I can consume during exercise that doesn’t upset my gut. All from trial and error, but now I am confident with my fuel. Now I just have to practice the frequency of consumption of on the run fuel.
I think my posture is better because of my core but I worked hard to build check ins to ensure that I am upright, gave a proper propelling lean and my legs are turning over like I am riding a bicycle.
8. The importance of a training plan
A training program is key to improvements. You can get a a good plan off of the Internet, from running books, running groups or a coach. A training plan helps focus your training with a goal in mind. You can’t improve if you don’t have a plan (in my opinion).
So, those are my reflections. Hope they help, get you thinking or inspire you to reflect on how they can help you. I know they will help me when I run in memory of Brian the Great in October.
More to come, stay tuned!
————————————————————————————————————–For more information on Andy running the Niagara Falls Marathon in October 2013 (and now October 2014) in memory of his uncle, Brian the Great, or to make a donation, please see the link on the homepage of the museum website at http://www.niagarachildrensmuseum.ca/. Help Andy keep Brian the Great’s legacy alive!