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5 Reasons It’s Important to Add Running Variety to Your Training

Adding running variety to your training is critical to your growth as a runner

Everyone’s fitness goals vary, but one thing that remains common in all forms of training is the goal to accomplish growth. Most beginner runners train with the same routine every day. Even running the same route gets monotonous. This is exactly why adding running variety can tackle that boredom and help you become a better runner in the process. Below are five reasons why you should add running variety to your training! Pro tip: when building your training plan, add in variations of these 9 different types of runs.

Build endurance

If you’re running the same course every day at the same speed there is little to no chance for growth. It will keep you fit, but it won’t help you grow. Incorporating different types of running and using different routes will slowly build your endurance. You’ll work and strengthen different muscles which will help with your ability to run for longer periods of time. Use these 10 healthy recipes for busy runners to provide your body with the fuel it needs to build endurance.

Increase muscle definition

Keeping true to your everyday training is certainly good. But the problem arises when you hit a plateau with your training and there are no visible changes in your body. This can be disheartening for some. Runners notice an increase in the definition of their leg muscles when adding high-intensity sprints to their training. Follow these 7 tips to increase your speed when you add speed training.

Reduce fatigue and injuries

When we run, our muscles experience fatigue. Runners can tackle fatigue or avoid cramps by simply changing their running type. If you run the same route all the time you’ll use the exact same set of muscles. You won’t activate other muscle groups. When the time comes to use muscle groups that haven’t been worked your chances for injury increase. If you experience fatigue that might be a sign you need to take a day off from running.

Keep it interesting

Boredom is something that can make us dislike even things we like. Running is no exception. When you add running variety there is a kind of excitement associated with it. You find yourself looking forward to the run. You might explore a new route, visit a different part of your city, or run past an amazing mural.

Build a well-rounded plan

Incorporating running variety into your training program ensures every day presents something different. Your body won’t know what to expect and that is exactly what makes variety bear fruit. Different types of runs have varying effects on our body and when combined, our bodies evolve as a whole instead of targeting a single part.

Well, now you know the benefits of adding running variety to your training. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at these 9 types of runs you can include in your routine. Once you’ve planned that out, it’s time to get running!

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6 Signs You Need to Take a Day Off from Running

Take a day off from running if you exhibit one of these 6 signs

If you are a regular runner, you know how you can get stuck in a rut during training. Perhaps you skip your rest day thinking you can get ahead. You may train longer and eat healthier, but you are not getting any faster or stronger. Sounds like you’re overtraining. Rest days are vital and the key to preventing overtraining. By overtraining, your body doesn’t have the opportunity to recover. This results in getting stuck into the black hole called overtraining. Check for these 6 signs to see if you need to take a day off from running. 

6 signs you need a rest day

1. Tired

If you feel exhausted, sore, or fatigued even after getting 7-8 hours of sleep, take a rest for a day or two. This will aid in your body’s recovery process and give your muscles a chance to heal. In addition to a rest day, follow these tips that’ll help you balance life and training better.

2. Not sleeping

You need a rest day if you still feel fatigued after 7-8 hours of sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping, it is a sign that your nervous system is working overtime. Lack of proper sleep results in poor performance. It could also inhibit the conversion of carbs to glycogen. Avoid scrolling on your phone before bed. Establish and follow a bedtime routine to signify to your body it’s time to sleep.

3. Dehydrated

If you feel super thirsty constantly or the color of your urine is dark yellow, it is a sure sign of dehydration. Exhausted adrenal glands start releasing cortisol, also called the stress hormone, resulting in an increased demand for water. Without proper hydration, the body reaches catabolic state, a condition that can include extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and sleeplessness.

4. Sluggish during run

Every runner experiences a bad workout every now and then. If you feel weak and slow during several workouts, it is a red flag. Your body may not be getting time to recover making you feel fatigued and tired.

5. Mental burnout

Mental exhaustion is a major symptom of overtraining. Though it is normal to feel like not working out every once in a while, if this becomes regular it may indicate a deep physical and mental burnout. Your body is so worn out that your desire to run may not be as high as it normally is. Running can reduce your stress, but it can also increase anxiety if you don’t take a rest day.

You need a rest day if you experience burnout from overtraining.

6. Abnormal heart rate

An elevated or reduced heart rate is also an indication of exercise-related stress. If your body isn’t responding how it normally does then you need to take a day or two off from running. If it persists you need to visit your doctor. Pro tip: become a more efficient runner with this advice on how to breathe properly.

Rest is extremely beneficial

Remember, rest and recovery are great for your body. They provide the opportunity for you to make mental and physical repairs. Take your rest days and make sure you’re sleeping well. Pair that with proper nutrition and hydration and you’ll breeze through your training. Remember, if you experience these red flags your body is telling you to take a day off from running.

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.