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7 Tips to Help You Run Your Best

These 7 tips will help you run your best and get the most out of training

Run your best when you follow these 7 tips! There are some things that are out of our control, like the weather. But when you execute the things you can control, you truly run your best. These tips are as easy as relaxing while you run and as technical as checking your cadence. Keep these tips in mind when you’re training for the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon.

Runner runs relaxed during the Austin Half Marathon, one of our tips to run your best!

Stay relaxed and keep your body loose during your run.

Relax

Sounds simple, but we can unknowingly put a strain on our body in an effort to produce mileage or a certain pace. Really focus on relaxing your body. Unclench your fists and loosen your shoulders and jaw. You can even begin your run or workout at a slightly slower than normal pace to really dial in your breathing. Slowly increasing your heart rate at the beginning will help with relaxation.

Take time off

Listen to your body, whether you suspect an injury or just don’t feel good. The last thing you want is to have something minor become a major issue. If you have to take more than a day or two off, visit a specialist and get checked out. Ascension Seton’s Dr. Martha Pyron specializes in sports performance. If there’s something wrong she’ll diagnose it and help you build a plan to get back to running. 

Get more sleep

Feeling a little sluggish since you’ve increased your mileage? Add one extra minute of sleep per night for every mile you run that week. If you run 30 miles per week, add 30 minutes of sleep. Your body repairs itself when you sleep. Make sure you give your body enough time to do what it needs when you begin asking more of it.

Runners hydrate with nuun at the Austin Marathon expo. Proper hydration is one of our tips to run your best.

People try different nuun hydration flavors at the 2019 Austin Marathon expo.

Hydrate

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s extremely vital. At a minimum, you should drink 30-50 ounces every day. The more active the are, the more you should increase that amount. Make sure you have a good balance of water and an electrolyte-infused fluid, like nuun hydration.

Lift weights

Don’t run every day, mix it up. Cross-training is important to prevent overuse injuries. You work your muscles differently and build strength when you lift weights. When lifting weights, focus on a lighter weight with more reps. If you can’t make it to the gym, build your own workout that includes push ups, sit ups, squats, and lunges. Not a fan of lifting weights? Cross-train with these five non-running activities.

Check your cadence

The average runner’s cadence should be 150 steps per minute. You don’t have to count this in your head! Every runner is different, especially if you’re just starting out of have been running all your life. Under Armour makes knowing your cadence seamless. Their bluetooth connected shoes, like the UA HOVR Velociti 2, sends the information from your run directly to their MapMyFitness app. The app even provides personalized coaching tips! Tracking your cadence, mileage, pace, and other running-related data will help you see improvement.

Focus on your stride

This coincides with the first tip to relax. Your stride improves when you relax. Don’t overstride or run on your tippy toes. You want your stride to be smooth and comfortable. This better optimizes the energy your body uses and helps avoid injury.

You will ask more of your body as you increase your mileage. It’s important that you take care of your body. Incorporate these tips so that you can run your best. Do you have a tip that helps you run your best? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

See Improvement During Your Training with these 9 Tips

Incorporate these 9 things runners do every day to see improvement

There’s always room for improvement. This includes everyone, from beginners to elites! But you need to see the improvement you’re making. How else will you know? If you’ve started training for the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon, make sure you incorporate these 9 tasks so you can see your improvement!

Keep a running log

Track your Austin Marathon training with the MapMyFitness app to see your improvement!

Use the MapMyFitness app during your Austin Marathon training to see improvement.

How will you know you’re improving if you don’t track your progress? Write down your mileage and time in a notebook or track that data via an app to see your improvement. We recommend Under Armour’s MapMyFitness.

Schedule runs like meetings

Be prompt. Invite friends. Meet at a certain spot. Start on time! If you think hard enough you’ll find ways to delay the start of your run. Just get started! Invite friends so y’all can hold each other accountable. Note: this doesn’t mean you have to run every day.

Eat right

Your body needs the proper fuel in order to complete the tasks you ask of it. If your body doesn’t have the proper fuel, it won’t run as well as you want. Eat healthier foods, increase your hydration, and make sure you eat at appropriate times. Eating right can also help you recover from your long runs faster. Use our long-run recovery timeline!

Have a running buddy

Runners cross the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line and see each other's improvement.

Train with a friend for Austin Marathon and see each other’s improvement on race day!

We can’t stress accountability enough! It’s a major factor in making sure you get that run/workout done. You can also catch up with your friend(s), discuss upcoming events, and talk about training. You’ll both benefit. Having a running buddy is also a great tactic to ensure you get out of bed in the morning. Here are 5 more tips to help you make your morning run!

Cross-train

Swim, bike, lift weights, do goat yoga, row! If you just run, you use your muscles in one way and one way only. Cross-training forces you to use all of your muscles in different ways. This can increase your strength and decrease the chance of injury.

Stretch/foam roll

Runner foam rolls after 2019 Austin Marathon, a great tip to see improvement during training!

Foam roll often during Austin Marathon training so your body can recover quicker!

Take care of the muscles that take care of you. Stretching and foam rolling allow fresh blood to flow to the muscles. This speeds up recovery and helps prevent lactic acid from settling in.

Rest

Probably the most important way you can take care of your body. Proper and well-timed rest allows your body to repair itself. If your training plan calls for a rest day, take it!

Stay consistent

Consistency is key. This goes for all runners, from beginners to elites. Follow your training plan and stay true to it. Consistency prepares your body for what you’re asking of it. Remember, life happens. If you have to miss a day try to switch it up with a planned off day. Don’t try to make up the missed workout by pairing it with another workout.

Set goals

Make sure you have something on the calendar that you’re working towards. This is a great motivator and helps you keep your eyes on the prize. If your goal is the Austin Marathon, create bi-weekly or monthly goals that will get you to your big goal. This prevents burnout and feeling like your goal is unattainable.

If you’re consistent and stick with it long enough, you’ll see improvement! That’s what excites runners and keeps us training for our goals. Is there a way you see improvement that we didn’t mention? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Follow this Recovery Timeline After Your Long Training Run

Recover from your long training run faster with our advice

Your Ascension Seton Austin Marathon or Half Marathon training plan is certain to include long runs. They’re the core to building the endurance needed to achieve your goals. But just like any other run, you need to recover after your long training run and prepare for what’s next. Our timeline will help expedite the recovery process, from the moment you stop your watch until you lay down for a well-deserved nap. Take our advice, adjust it to your schedule, and make sure you’re ready for whatever is next on your training plan. Having trouble getting up in the morning for your long run? These 6 tips are sure to jump-start your morning!

Rehydrate (within 5 minutes)

nuun display at Austin Marathon expo. nuun is the perfect drink for your long training run.

nuun has the electrolytes you need after your long training run! Credit – Deborah Cannon

You lose fluids during your run when you sweat. This is the price you pay so your body can stay cool during the run. It’s important to drink at least 16 ounces of an electrolyte-enhanced drink (like nuun!) when you’re done. Drinking this will begin the rehydration process and restore needed nutrients Pro tip: prepare a drink that’s specifically for after your run before you begin.

Stretch/foam roll (within 5-15 minutes)

You’re pushing your body further and further, reward it with stretching and foam rolling. Whether you’re increasing your distance or lowering your time, you’re asking a lot of your body. Take care of the muscles that take care of you. Stretching and foam rolling allow fresh blood to flow to the muscles. This speeds up recovery and helps prevent lactic acid from settling in.

Eat a snack (within 15-30 minutes)

Grab some fruit, beef jerky, or your favorite protein bar. Eat something that won’t upset your stomach or dry out your mouth. You need to replace the energy your body consumed during your long training run. Plus, it’ll give you a nice little energy boost. Keep hydrating!

Cool off (within 30-60 minutes)

Barton Springs is a great place to cool off after your long training run.

Cool off in Barton Springs after your long training run.

Take a cold shower or jump in a cold body of water like Barton Springs (stay no more than 15 minutes). The cold water can help your body’s core temperature return to normal and reduce inflammation. 

Eat a meal (within 1-2 hours)

Now it’s time to eat! By now your snack is wearing off and your stomach is beginning to rumble. Your body probably burned thousands of calories. Time to replace them! Grab something to eat, whether it’s a pre-cooked meal, something you prepare, or you go out to a restaurant. Pro tip: check out some of our favorite East Austin restaurants.

Nap (within 2+ hours)

Ahh, the ending to a perfect long run, the nap. You’ve stretched and foam rolled, eaten, hydrated, and showered. It’s time to let your body do some repair work. Find somewhere that’s dark and cool. A 30-60 minute nap is perfect, depending on what you have to do for the rest of the day. It’s not a bad ideat to stretch/foam roll one more time and drink some more electrolytes before your nap. 

Some runner’s recovery timeline might differ. You can adjust this to fit your schedule. But the core of this timeline will assist in your recovery after your long training run. This will help your body get ready for whatever is next on your training schedule!