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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!

Putting Her Mark on the World through Running

Kayleigh is putting her mark on the world and improving her health through running

Sandy Williamson submitted My Running Story’s first entry. However, the story isn’t about her. It’s about Kayleigh, her daughter and the first runner with Down syndrome to cross the Austin Half Marathon finish line. Kayleigh’s health was trending in the wrong direction. She was faced with a difficult task, one she is still working towards today. Read how Kayleigh has greatly improved her health and is putting her mark on the world.

Kayleigh Williamson, the first runner with Down syndrome to cross the Austin Half Marathon finish line, is putting her mark on the world through running.

Kayleigh Williamson was surprised with her Austin Distance Challenge jacket at the 2019 Austin Half Marathon finish line.

The start of putting her mark on the world

Kayleigh began running shortly after she was diagnosed with ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura – low blood platelets) in 2008. Auto-immune disorders tend to affect individuals with Down syndrome. In 2012, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. That was in addition to developing sleep apnea due to her weight and becoming pre-diabetic. In 2014, her diagnoses changed from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease).

In 2016, Kayleigh started training for the Austin Half Marathon (her first!) as part of the Austin Distance Challenge. However, along the way, her platelets dropped to a life-threatening level and she had to have her spleen removed. This affected her training due to her recovery. But nine months later, she stood at her first half marathon. That first race took her almost six and a half hours to complete, but she completed it. She did not earn her jacket for the Distance Challenge.

Running to succeed

Not earning her jacket did not deter her from signing up two more times for the Austin Distance Challenge. On her third attempt, she earned her jacket. During her attempts to complete the Distance Challenge, she steadily lost weight resulting in the elimination of her sleep apnea. I bet you didn’t know that 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, however surgery isn’t the only option. Often a special mouthpiece can help patients get back to a restful sleep. But also, Kayleigh’s sugar count was back in a normal range and her Grave’s Disease went into remission. She did not develop any new autoimmune diseases and was taken off all medications. In 2019, not only did she earn her jacket, Kayleigh lost a total of 60 pounds.

Kayleigh Williamson’s book, It’s Cool to Be Me.

Through running

Kayleigh completed her first out-of-state half marathon last April. She helped found Kayleigh’s Club, a nonprofit running group for runners with disabilities. Kayleigh was not raised to use Down syndrome as a reason for not trying something. She was raised to know that there are things she will be able to do just like everyone else (and we celebrate that). Just like everyone else, there will be things she won’t be able to do (and we celebrate that since that means it’s something for someone else to do and we want to cheer them on).

Running has empowered Kayleigh to the point of writing and publishing her first children’s book. It’s Cool To Be Me is about the experience of her first half marathon. Her first book signing will take place on Thursday, July 11th, in Austin, Texas, at Fleet Feet Austin. Kayleigh is an Athlete Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society. She has goals to influence other individuals with disabilities to start running and make healthy food choices.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Submissions will be accepted through July 31, 2020.