Rules for runners

 

I’ve been running since the young age of seven and have completed hundreds of races—one might call me a running aficionado.

 

I have some trusted rules for runners to enhance performance. By integrating certain running distances, techniques and utilizing proper form, you can shed seconds, minutes and up to an hour off your 5k, 10k, half or full marathon time. Proper nutrition weighs heavily on becoming a more efficient and effective runner. Make sure you are eating lots of fruits and vegetables to optimize your performance. Here are my golden rules for runners to run stronger:

 

Don’t run hard every day

 

In order to have great results in your running performance, it is important to not run hard every day. Some days you should focus on speed, while on other days your focus should be just logging in distance slow miles to build your stamina. The slower days can also be active recovery for the body.

 

In order to achieve results, variety in running speed is essential. This is one of the most important rules for runners.

 

Vary your training runs

 

In order to run strong and improve your times is important to vary your running distance. One day you should focus on long slow distance, another day short speed should be the focus, with another day focused on running race pace. Adding a good workout with hill repeats can do wonders for your running time. If you vary your runs you will see great improvement!

 

Add in some cross training

 

There are a large group of runners that focus their training efforts solely on running and fail to cross train. Most of these runners sit on the sidelines—often injured and unaware of how important cross training is. Cross training is key to keeping longevity running strong and lowering your risk of an injury. It focuses on different muscle groups and helps diminish fatigue and overtraining in your runs.

 

Make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits

 

It may seem like the same story you are accustomed to hearing—eat healthy for better health and performance—but it is true! This is especially the case for runners! To boost your immune system during your training, make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These fruits and veggies will provide enough nutrients to combat disease and better your health while bettering your running performance.

 

You are what you eat, so choose lean and healthy!

 

Eat plenty of lean protein

 

By lean protein, I do not mean consuming chicken and meat all day. I get my protein largely from beans and eggs. I rarely eat red meat just because of the way it makes me feel. It is important to get enough protein to rebuild and replenish muscle fiber that is broken down from your runs.

 

As a runner, it is even more essential that you consume lean protein on the daily and here’s why!

 

Make sure you get new running sneakers when needed

 

If you have been running in the same sneakers for 6 months and the rubber bottom is worn out, it is time for some new kicks. Most runners get new sneakers every 3-4 months depending on how many miles they log. I usually need new sneakers ever 2-3 months because of my packed schedule as a trainer and marathon runner. Wearing worn down sneakers can cause injury, along with back and joint pain.

 

When in doubt, throw them out! It is much smarter to air on the side of caution then to get injured from overuse of your sneakers. After you purchase new running sneakers, keep track of your miles so you are sure when it is time to go shoe shopping!

 

Do not forget to stretch

 

Numerous runners who run daily neglect to stretch prior to their runs and this increases the risk of an injury. Focus on a 3-4 minute dynamic stretches prior to your run—such as jumping jacks, high knee marches and side to side runners stretches. You will warm up your body by doing so and be less likely to become sidelined due to an injury. So, do not neglect to stretch!

I hope these golden rules will help you to optimize your running performance. How will you integrate these golden rules into your current running schedule?

 

Tara

Tara Zimliki is a nationally recognized weight loss expert, personal trainer, health coach, health writer and founder of Tara’s Bootcamp, the Premiere Bootcamp of New Jersey. Tara also runs her own blog, funfitmama.com