Upleveling your running can take place in a myriad of ways. From proper nutrition to hitting pace ranges that elevate your training, to mental strength, so many factors come together to move the needle and uplevel your running. Let's dig in!
1. Consistency - this is one of the first things I discuss when working with a new athlete. If you're consistent and committed to trusting the process, you'll see your training progress quickly. What has been accomplished in life by being inconsistent? Uh...That's what I thought! Let's "say yes" to training, put the work in and be as consistent as possible.
2. Nutrition + Hydration - I should write an entire blog post just on this topic! Whew, proper nutrition and hydration is extremely important for every athlete. Dial-in your nutrition and hydration on long run days (especially fuel/hydrate if you're running race pace for 3,4, 5 miles at a time) so you know what works, and most importantly, what doesn't work for race day. A pre-run snack or meal is encouraged, fueling during runs longer than 60-90 minutes (again, this depends on your body and the intensity of the run) and refueling post-run with a mix of carbs, protein, and fat is critical to begin the recovery process asap (no more than 30-45 minutes). A fresh fruit smoothie with almond butter and protein powder is a perfect post-run snack! Who doesn't want to show up strong for tomorrow's workout? Eat food, eat again, and eat some more with a focus on a high carbohydrate intake.
Hydration is different for everyone, I live at altitude and am a heavy drinker (water, that is!), and I work to consume 110 ounces of water daily. Aiming for 96-115 ounces is a good gauge - take into account where you live, the season and if you're a sweaty athlete, etc. For long runs, I suggest taking a sip of water every 10 minutes or so, this might be a sip for every 1 mile for some athletes. It's important to train your body to drink water while running to ensure your stomach doesn't get a side stitch and you're confident when cruising through the water table stations on race morning to run and hydrate simultaneously.
3. Strength Training - As runners, most of us want to only run. It's important to think of yourself as an athlete and work on other areas that running doesn't target as efficiently. A strong core and lower body are critical if you're looking to move the needle in your training and uplevel your running. It doesn't have to be 2 or 3, one-hour sessions. Mix it in for 15-20 minutes 3x a week and you're trending in the right direction. Your first few sessions can look like this:
Strength Training Ideas:
30 seconds for each exercise unless otherwise listed. Work your way up to complete 3 sets total.
Side plank (each side)
60-second plank with air punches for the last 15 seconds
4. Mental Strength
This is one of the hardest things to master. You may have it dialed in for a season, life happens, and the mental strength you built up over time is gone. As an athlete and a coach, I practice this on the daily and encourage my athletes to dig deep and work on it during each training run. It's a training run for a reason, right?! Let's do what we can to show up as strong as possible on race day (and for life!).
Have your "go-to" mantras:
I like, "This is your home now", "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you" and my number one mantra is from Nike, "Just do it". This last mantra is simple and as a type A "doer" (I like to get sh$t done), the phrase hits home for me and simplifies the pain cave experience, I dig deep and just get it done, as simple as that...right? :-)
Practice pushing through tough training runs and don't give up:
I LOVE to pull from my training runs when I'm racing and it's uncomfortable. If I can run something similar during my training cycle on tired legs with trainer shoes, I can dig deep and run just as strong, if not stronger on race day!
You can find more mental strength tips here.
Find a local run group (usually your local running store will host 1-2 groups a week, if you're in the Denver area, check out my free running groups!) run with friends, neighbors or coworkers. Running with people who you connect with is a great way to uplevel the training experience and make it fun! If we're not having fun, why are we doing it? Plus, you may make a new friend or two in life!
6. Celebrating Your Wins + Gratitude
Expressing gratitude and celebrating small wins each week keeps your training in perspective! You can track the progress you're making and stay in high vibe energy, your training will see the results. Altitude is a big factor in creating successful, strong athletes!
7. Partnering with a Run Coach
Easy for me to say, right? ;-) I hired a running coach before I got my certification to help athletes elevate their running and hiring one helped me tremendously. It made my life easier. It propelled my endurance. It expanded and grew my talent. I had a plan and was able to achieve the goal set. Read more about the benefits of partnering with a run coach here.
I hope these tips helped you! Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any training questions, want to strategize about your current training plan, or want more information about how it works to partner with a run coach.