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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.

7 Taper Tips to Follow Leading Up to Austin Marathon

Implement these 7 taper tips leading up to race day

The Taper. For those unfamiliar, tapering is referring to the reduced volume and intensity of workouts in the weeks leading up to race day. While some runners find it hard to scale back after so much time dedicated to training, others find themselves glued to their favorite couch. Doing too little or too much during this time period can compromise all your hard work. Stick to your training plan and focus on what’s in your control. Make sure you are at the top of your game by following these 7 taper tips between now and race day.

Reduce work stress

While it might be out of our hands, setting yourself up with an easy week or two of work can have a big impact on your energy going into race day. If there is a project that needs to be completed, put in the extra effort now to finish it or see if it can be completed after race day. Try building this into your schedule: find a quiet place to meditate for 10-15 minutes in the morning or evening.

No new workouts

We’re clearly stating the obvious, but now is not the best time to roll your ankle playing basketball or pull a muscle lifting heavy weights. Stick to what you know and focus on less-intense and lower-volume workouts. Keep your runs to less than 60 minutes, but leave room for flexibility based on what your body says. It’s fine to do some easy cross-training on non-running days, as long as the activity doesn’t make your muscles sore or increase the potential for injury. If you don’t want to exercise on days you don’t run, that’s okay, too.

  • Example of a one-week-out marathon workout: 15-min warm-up jog / no more than 4-5 miles at half-marathon goal pace / 15-min cool-down jog
  • Example of a one-week-out half marathon workout: 10-min warm-up jog / no more than 2-3 miles at half-marathon goal pace / 10-min cool-down jog

Read a book or binge a show

Has running taken time away from your favorite book or that newly-released TV show on Netflix? Now that you’re logging fewer miles it’s time to play catch-up! If you plan to cross-train it won’t hurt to go for an easy ride on a stationary bike. Read while you pedal. Catch a couple of episodes of that new show. The distraction from that book or the show will also help distract you from taper madness and the fact that you’re running less.

Foam roll

Increase your foam rolling! Make sure your body is in tip-top shape for race day. Work out all those kinks. Keep your muscles feeling good. If you need to, see a massage therapist. As long as you have access to some products, foam rolling can be done practically anywhere. The benefits are immediate. Have some extra time in the morning before leaving for work? Foam roll. Free time at lunch? Foam roll. Catching up on that TV show? Foam roll. You get the idea!

Sleep

This may be the best thing you can do for yourself at this time. Experts recommend sleeping eight to nine hours per night. To start, choose a consistent time that you are in bed, this may or may not include actual sleep. This will signal to your body that rest is important and hopefully lead to more shut-eye. Instead of focusing on trying to get a good night sleep the night before, try for two nights before. Pre-race jitters can sometimes leave us with the “I am not even sure if I slept at all” feeling the night before. Don’t let this bother you. One poor night’s sleep shouldn’t affect your performance if you have tapered well in other aspects.

Nutrition/Hydration

Skip the pizza and beer for now. Focus on a diet that balances moderate carbohydrates from whole food sources, quality protein, and healthy fat. You may also want to keep a close eye on your calorie intake. While you are used to high-intensity training and the extra food that comes with it, you still have to watch what you eat. The pounds you knocked off can sneak back on in these last weeks, which is less than optimal for race day.

Avoid eating that can affect your sleep quality. This includes eating large meals within 90 minutes of going to bed, spicy foods, or large amounts of protein.

Now is also a good time to make sure you are well-hydrated. It is recommended to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. You can also add electrolytes from nuun, to get your body ready for race day hydration. Hydrate with what will be on course, Mango Orange nuun performance. You can also try the on-course fuel with Gatorade Endurance gels.

Race Morning

By starting now, you are setting yourself up to be ready race morning. The last advice we have is to arrive at least 90 minutes before the start. Walk or jog around as a light warmup. Then follow the Camp Gladiator trainers as they lead a pre-race warm-up at 6:45 a.m. at the start line.