Running has been a part of my life since high school, when I joined both the cross country and track team.
Unfortunately,at that time, I was really lazy with it, and there was also a lot about running that I just didn’t understand. For example, I had no idea how to pace myself, and I thought I needed to sprint the entire way. This caused me to fatigue easily, and prevented me from loving the sport. Over the years I have stored up some tips and tricks that have made me a much better runner! Today, I’m sharing tips I use before a run to prepare myself for success.
Tip #1- Wear Face Sunscreen and Glasses
The first thing I do when getting ready for my run is to put on some strong (think 50 spf) sunscreen to protect my face from the harsh elements. I do this anytime of the year because it is so important to protect against aging!
It’s also important to protect your eyes when running. I do own a good pair of Oakley sunglasses, but will run with any pair (especially since I lose sunglasses so often) that protects your eyes from UVA and UVB rays, and don’t slide off your face. Ideally, they will also look attractive.
Tip #2- Avoid Cotton Socks
I learned this the hard way when I ran a half marathon. The bottoms of my feet were actually burning! I had no idea that cotton socks were the culprit. Invest in athletic socks to avoid the rub, wick away sweat, and to stay put.
Tip #3- Dress like it is 20 degrees warmer out
When getting dressed for your run, pick out clothes that you would wear outside if the temperature was 20 degrees warmer. This will allow you to gauge what you will need when you start to hit your stride and sweat. I used to always overbundle because I hate being cold, but then it was a problem for the rest of the run when I had to tote around an extra sweatshirt or gloves.
Tip #4- Foam Roll
This might be my favorite tip, because I just started doing it a year ago, and it’s made such a difference. Before my run, I will use my black foam roller to release the tightness of my legs. My runs have greatly improved since adding this to my pre-run routine, I am able to go longer and feel more comfortable because my muscles don’t feel so tight. A good video to get you acquainted with how to foam roll is added below:
Tip #5- Pre-Workout Snacks
My choice of snacks is time dependent, based on when my run is occurring. If it’s first thing in the morning, I will eat 1/2 a banana, or a handful of fruit. If it’s later in the morning, and I’m starving, I will have 1/2-1 full granola bar about an hour before running. Later on in the day, I try to give myself an hour after my last meal before starting my run.
For an added burst of energy, I have heard that dried cranberries work just as well as any sports chew or goo, except they are a natural alternative. I haven’t needed to try them yet, but would definitely be interested in hearing about any experiences using them.
Also, remember to keep hydrated. I have trouble drinking water right before a run, so I try to drink 8 oz when I wake up, and let it settle as I get ready.
Tip #6- Gear
The proper gear includes the correct outfit, and socks. However, the most important component is the SNEAKERS. You don’t want to scrimp in this area, above all others. Your feet are so important, and can be injured so easily. Your local running store is the best place to be fit for sneakers. (We have Rhode Runner nearby).
The professionals there will examine your gait, and tell you exactly what type of sneaker will work with that. I like a good stability shoe, and am a fan of the Asics Kayanos. I will read review after review of a sneaker to make sure it is something that I want, and that other people aren’t having trouble with. There are always new versions of sneakers, where the creators change features, so you want to make sure they are still the same quality, and will be the best fit for your feet. My motto is to let other people test things out and benefit from their experiences.
Always buy your sneakers 1/2 size up to take foot swelling during running into account. My mom just bought me a new pair of Asics Kayano 22s for my birthday, and I can’t wait to try them out! Find them here.
Other gear I use includes a Garmin watch and a running belt (aka a fanny pack looking thing). I like the belt to hold my money, keys, and phone so I don’t have to worry about losing anything. It may look lame, but I don’t care!
Tip #7- Apps
Apps always make things more fun! You can use apps such as Nike Plus, Charity Miles or Spring to track your progress, sync your music, and/or donate to a good cause.
Tip #8 Gum
It’s funny I am including this tip, because I always forget about it. My friend Lorena swears by chewing gum whenever she’s going for a long run. The reason for doing so is that it keeps your mouth from getting dry, and it helps to regulate your breathing. I never have gum on me, but when she shares I am always grateful!
Tip #9- Friends and Fun
This tip probably brings me the best motivation. When I know I’m going for a run with a friend, it is a guarantee that I will participate and try my best. We always push each other to go that extra mile, and it’s so much more fun to experience it with a friend, and accomplish your goals together. My friends have pushed me to be faster, and to even run different races I may not have tried otherwise.
Hope these tips help! Let me know if you add any of the above into your pre-run routine. Love number 4, as it has helped me the most!