I know lots of people at the moment who are training for either a Spring half or full marathon. The long runs are getting longer. Week on week we're running further than we've ever run before and the total mileage is totting up. As a result we are undoubtedly putting more strain on our bodies. So how do we make it to the start line in one piece?
We've all heard the maxim "prevention is better than cure" but what does that mean for running? It means when you get that niggle you keep ignoring you need to stop and rest. Your running journey is not over because you've missed one training session. Likewise if you're feeling completely exhausted rest. It is much better to rest now and take a day or two out than to put yourself out for a week or worse risk causing permanent damage.
Now is not the time to be resurrecting your old kit. I'd imagine that most of us are doing 5 sessions a week. There is absolutely no chance in the world I could recycle my kit after a hill sprints session or a bike session in the gym so that means 5 sets of everything. I definitely don't have 5 favourite sets of kit and so I'm keeping my top kit for my long runs. I would say that it is worth investing in some new pieces of kit if you're short. It will motivate you and prevent chaffing (we've all got that top which we know we should throw out but we keep wearing even though it rubs us raw) You don't have to spend a fortune.
At the moment I'm loving:
a. Runderwear - I had literally never even considered this as a thing until I got sent me some to try and now I am adding in extra washes in the week so I can train in it as much as possible.
b. Compression tights - I really love training in compression tights and that might be part of the reason my legs aren't too sore. I would highly recommend investing in a pair of 2XU tights. I have the new wind defence ones for outdoor adventures and love them so much I would wear them to work if they let me.
c. Bellum Activewear - I love the colours of their clothes and that they're really soft. I'm all about how things feel on my skin on a long run. You want every little bit of luxury you can get. I also love Bellum because they are a little bit different. You're unlikely to see someone in their kit, unless you run with me and they're also pretty cheap for the quality.
d. Stance socks - sort of similar to the point about underwear, good socks are even more important given they're going to be either a lifesaver or a blister causer every step of the way. I recently discovered Stance and find their trail running socks really comfy for long runs. Plus they're fun to look at which always helps to boost the mood of a long run.
I wrote a piece about nutrition on Monday night following my evening with Science in Sport. You can check that out here. I warn you it's a long one but the advice was so fantastic it was hard to do it justice in a few lines.
4 Post long-run routine
Long runs now are going to be upwards of 2 hours. In these two hours your body is going through so many functions and processes and it's our job to help it recover.
I mentioned last week that I'm lucky enough to get home to a big pile of KIND bars. They are great to grab post-run because they contain balanced nutritious ingredients. The main ingredient is nuts which means you're going to get a slow energy release to help your body rebalanced. They also have natural sugars and salt which your body will be craving after a long run.
It really helps to have something to look forward to when you get in. I always run a really hot bath, with extra hot water topped up from the kettle and that has been working to completely stretch out my muscles and largely avoid soreness.
5 Regular sports massage
This is something that has been recommended to me numerous times and it's something on the top of my to do list but unfortunately I haven't prioritised it yet. I find it really difficult to fit into my schedule when I'm at work during regular working hours. Do you have regular sports massage? Would you recommend it too?
I'm not sure about you but I feel exhausted a lot at the moment. So much so I've turned into someone 12 year-old me would hate. I've given myself a bed time. I'm up at 5:30am and I wasn't feeling great with all the running and just 6 hours sleep so from 10:30pm every night I'll be heading up to bed. I am so rock and roll.
I'd love to hear any more tips and ideas that you may have, let me know your ideas in the comments box below.