By Marcia Scott
As many of us begin training for the St. Jude and other fall half and full marathons, it’s important to remember some key steps to staying healthy and injury free throughout your training cycle. It’s easy to overdo it and stress your body beyond its limits, resulting in common overuse injuries or even burnout. Here are some tips for staying on the pavement and being ready for the starting line.
FOLLOW A SCHEDULED TRAINING PROGRAM.
Plan your weekly runs and your increase in mileage from week to week. Find a training plan that works around your schedule and is doable and attainable with your responsibilities and obligations. And remember the 10% rule: don’t increase by more than 10% weekly.
DON’T “CRAM IN” YOUR MILEAGE.
While getting in your training runs, especially long runs, is important, don’t cram too much into a week. Miss a run? Don’t try to make it up. One run is not going to make or break your race.
HYDRATE AND RECOVER.
Drink plenty of water and replenish your electrolytes after hot summer runs. Drink 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces of water every day, and 4-6 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during activity. And always try to consume some protein and carbs immediately following a hard workout to aid muscle recovery.
GET YOUR ZZZ’S.
Try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night so you will wake up feeling refreshed and energized for your run. As training and mileage picks up, your body will need the rest. If you find you are not sleeping well, you may be overtraining.
TAKE UP SOME FORM OF CROSS-TRAINING.
Go for a walk, try a Zumba class, check out yoga, or take your bike for a spin one day per week to let your legs take a break from running. The cross-training will help build strength and endurance, and likely even help with your pace.
HAVE SOME ACCOUNTABILITY.
Find a partner or group to train with. Knowing you are supposed to meet someone for your run will make you less likely to skip out after a long or busy day. There are numerous run groups around town to check out, including free weekly runs at Fleet Feet Sports.
HAVE “DRESS REHEARSALS” FOR RACE DAY.
Every long run should look exactly like race day, from apparel to fueling and even your dinner the night before the run. Use your long runs for practice for the big day. The golden rule is to never try anything new on race day!
If you adhere to these tips and follow a structured training plan, you’ll be on the right track to reach the starting line healthy and cross the finish line strong.
Marcia Scott is the Training Program Coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports. For more information call 901.761.0078 or visit fleetfeetmemphis.com.