Posted by Sally Kilpatrick Jan 14 2011, 12:02 am
As I mentioned earlier, I have begun training for my first 5K in twelve years. Along the way, I’ve collected some of my hints—some old, some new—and I now present you with the top five things that keep me running.
5. Choose your music wisely. Music can be a great motivating factor or even a part of the psychological mind games you play with yourself to keep running. In my case, I actually have a recording of the University of Tennessee Pregame show to start my running. I start with that show because I used to be in the band, and pregame was always the most grueling part of practice. Each time I hear those songs I remember how I would tell myself, “If I can make it through this, I can make it through anything.” As I get better, I’ll actually shift those songs to the end of my playlist to keep me going at the end. Oh, and don’t forget to bring Sexyback—a little Timberlake goes a long way.
4. Stretch before AND after you run. This is good advice for everyone, but I’ve found it to especially be true now that my college years are rapidly fading in the rearview mirror. I’m not twenty-two anymore—far from it. My muscles aren’t as elastic as they once were, and I absolutely must stretch before and after I run. And don’t forget your ankles! My ankles have a horrible tendency of locking up, especially in cold weather. If you simply lift your leg and rotate each foot in circles, your ankles should do much better. You can find some of my other favorite stretches here.
3. When you need will power, ball your hands into fists. I just read about this phenomenon in the Parade magazine this past Sunday. One study showed that the simple act of making a fist gives you extra strength and/or gives you will power. Ever the diligent Healthy Writer, I put this hypothesis to the test and found it to be helpful in pushing myself a few seconds more while running on the treadmill. I haven’t tried shaking my fist at chocolate yet—I’ll let you know how that one goes.
2. Follow a plan that brings you gradually to where you need to be. I’m a bit of an impatient perfectionist. When I decide I want to run a 5K, I want to be able to do it tomorrow. When I decide to lose weight, I want it gone tomorrow. And, of course, if I don’t run fast enough or lose weight fast enough, then I throw my hands up in disdain at my personal “failures.” Having a set plan that forces you to take things step by step helps moderate your expectations while simultaneously highlighting your progress. You can find several different plans to follow if you want to train for a 5K. I’m currently using the Zero to Hero Plan at Disney Driven Life, and I’m happy with the results thus far, i.e. week three.
1. Posture is everything, so hold yourself high. This was my light bulb moment a few years ago. I wish I could remember what magazine I was reading at the time so I could give credit where credit is due, but the author said that the human tendency is to slouch as we tire. The slouching, in turn, keeps the maximum amount of oxygen from getting to our lungs which makes running even more difficult. I now live by this advice, and I can’t remember the last time I got a stitch in my side. *frantically knocks on wood*
So, what are some other helpful hints for runners? Do you throw a towel over the display to keep yourself from getting mad at how slowly time is passing? Have a special food/drink for before and after you run? I’m a latecomer to running, so I’d love to hear what you have to say.