Whether it's the simplest of items on a traditional warm-up routine or the subtleties of training or racing a particular course, the benefits of constantly reiterating the same talking points over and over are invaluable.
It may be hard to understand the power of hearing the same thing over and over, but training and racing priorities must be repeated for maximum efficacy. While many of these tips you've heard before, hearing them again can only help to spark positive change.
Eat Small Meals With Fat and Protein, Frequently
Sports nutrition has come a long way in the last few years. The importance of eating smaller meals regularly as opposed to the common American way of two to three larger helpings is one of the more relevant changes from the best practices of the '80s and '90s. By eating more frequently in smaller amounts, you will have greater energy throughout the day and lower the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your bloodstream. It's also important to make sure you're getting enough protein and that fat—long viewed as a distance runner's nemesis—still has a place in your diet to help aid recovery.
Vary Your Running
It can't be said enough: Vary the types of workouts that you do. Above all other mistakes, not mixing stimuli is the single biggest mistake runners of every age and level make. Most runners execute similar distance and pace on the vast majority of their runs. Have days where you run hard, days you run easily, days you run intentionally shorter and of course days you run longer. Additionally, along the same "variance" theme, work "gear changes" into your everyday runs. And this advice doesn't just stop with training runs. Vary the distances of your races as well. Don't specialize in one event, and you'll grow athletically on multiple physiological fronts.
Rest Is Part of Training, Not Its Absence
It never ceases to amaze me how competitive runners struggle to take recovery days. Taking easy days is how our bodies manifest the harder training, the longer marathon long runs, the tempo efforts and even the races. Competitive runners need to allow themselves controlled conversation pace "time on feet" days (or for some non-running days entirely) to be able to produce their best racing later on.
Have Goals and Put Them on Paper
Virtually every study on the subject has yielded similar results: Those who have goals are more likely to perform at a higher level. Set goals for yourself. Additionally, as you manage your training and racing, sit down with someone who has an objective eye on your training to help put targets and a plan to achieve them on paper.
On Occasion, Leave the GPS at Home
Distance runners love numbers. How far did I run? What were my splits for every mile? What is my cadence count per minute? How much vertical oscillation do I have? All these elements and more can now be derived with technology. And while it's extremely helpful for ultimately reaching your goals, it's just as important, particularly during relaxed recovery runs, to leave your watch at home and run purely on feel. Most of us began running due to its childlike simplicity. Maintain running's purity on occasion with less external technological feedback.
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