Saturday, 20 February 2016

Five ways to improve your running without actually running

It's been one of those weeks for us: A week of non-stop go-go-go that spews you out in an exhausted, shrivelled bundle by Friday.  Needless to say that my runs this week have been similarly sad: Short and sporadic and in stark contrast to last weekend's lifetime high.  

But, as frustrating as weeks like this one can be, I try to embrace them: To use them to my advantage instead of driving myself up the walls about things that I cannot control.  Here are my five favourite ways to improve and help my running on days when all my body begs for, is a break:

1.  (Proper) Rest and Recovery

Instead of squeezing in a late-night run on days when my body is truly exhausted (note: exhausted, not lazy - there's a huge difference!), I opt to go to bed early instead.  A good night's rest is often all that's needed to wake up ready to roar! 

2.  Foam Rolling

Oh, the foam roller.  Will hates it to the point that he doesn't go near it, but I just can't get enough.  On days when I'm truly too pooped to run, I grab the roller and roll away - my legs can never thank me enough. 



3.  (Proper) Fuelling

Eating junk when you feel like junk just prolongs the suffering.  Instead, feed your body things that nourish, fuel and build when you have the blahs - you'll crave a run before you know it!    



4.  Cross Training 

As much as I love running, I find that moving my body in a different way is sometimes a welcome change.  Few things feel as good as plunging into an ice-cold swimming pool after a long day in the veld - bonus points if the whole family joins in too.  

5.  A little R & R    

Will has a shoulder that tenses up during his long training rides, and I have a quad that acts funny when I run far.  Our solution?  The Runner's Choice massages for the one with the biggest blahs.  They're pure bliss!    


[Image by Trusted Health Products, Inc.]

Thanks to the ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these tips as part of their Friday Five link-up.

Have a great running weekend, everyone!


10 comments:

  1. I agree that proper rest and recovery is one of the best and most important ways to help your running.

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  2. Foam rolling is the thing I always do the least for some reason!

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    1. I must confess that I also tend to neglect foam rolling sometimes, but when I do it, my body always thanks me!

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  3. Yessss rest!!! I seriously became a better runner when I stopped running every damn day. I would also add strength training to your list!

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    1. Absolutely, Meg. I've actively been trying to incorporate more strength training into my routine since late last year (it's a work in progress...!) - hopefully it will pay off in the long run!

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  4. totally agree with this!! people who think you have to run all the miles and tough it out, if you will, are the key - but it's really all of these other things.

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    1. It took me YEARS to figure this out, Mar - so thankful I did!

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  5. We need to chat more about the foam roller, I don't own one and I need some advice on how to start using it. If it will help my running, I am game!

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    1. I'm a BIG fan of the foam roller, Meg - if used regularly I firmly believe that it prevents niggles from becoming issues (obviously one has to listen to one's body too if it comes to over-training, etc.). There are lots of YouTube videos on the correct use of the foam roller (Runner's World also has a few) - I'd suggest starting there. Dischem's rollers are very reasonably priced (R199 vs. almost R500 at Sportsmans) - I've had mine for almost 5 years and it's still brand new. You should really try it!

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