Recently I’ve received a number of great questions from you my dear readers and while I have answered them in emails, I thought it might be wise to share it with everyone!
While reading blogs is a great way to find ideas, I have also recommended downloading The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide by Ryan Robert. It’s a cheap way to get a lot of easy to peruse information from how to avoid injuries, how to get started to a few training plans.
And we know that I believe running is totally mental so I love this “Because the mental aspect of running is such an enormous part of the sport, at the end of each chapter is a short visualization exercise.” Ryan cares this theme through when talking about the excuses we often give ourselves for not running or more importantly not starting…we might feel self conscious or wonder what others will think, but at the end of the day it just doesn’t matter and running is an amazing way to help combat that in general.
Perhaps you, too, have marveled at the “fanatics” who run in all kinds of weather and treat their training as if it were practically a religion. These runners don’t necessarily possess special dedication pills, rare ambition genes, or are particularly self-disciplined, but have found that running enacts the cycle of pleasure and gratification; offering the unique set of internal and external rewards only running can give.
Running mechanics are also super important, but a little too much too think about when you first start running. Checkout my STAR running form for easy ways to check in during your run or if just starting out read Robert's chapter which I think keeps it very straight forward by focusing on your upper body and things most of us can control when we start. If you are ready for more advanced techniques then it’s time to start considering something like Chi Running.
Now I know anyone asking me about energy right now is a new reader. :) In general, prior to my crazy estrogen issue I never considered my energy levels to be honest. Working out was something I did simply because I loved it and I never questioned that I would get up at 6 am to run, etc.
Now I have to admit I am semi-amazed that I powered through two marathons when most people would have been down for the count. I attribute this to most of the basics that many of us know or preach, but sometimes don’t do…I needed to feel good so I was following them as often as possible:
a. Daily green monster
b. Daily shot of greens
c. Krill Oil (not fish oil!)
d. Daily goal of at least 7-9 servings of veggies and fruit
e. Sleep. Probably more than normal to be honest as my body was trying to keep cortisol levels down from both sickness and training
f. Carbs. You cannot workout full steam on a low carb diet or at least I can’t. My weight loss always stalls as my energy plummets when I try to be too low carb. Stick to awesome whole grains, sweet potatoes, fruit and yes the occasional cookie! Your body needs carbs for fuel.
g. Caffeine. I do not drink caffeine during the day, which means if I choose to use a shot block or drink tea with caffeine before a long run I am able to truly get a nice performance booster.
I also found that my energy levels stay higher when I stay active. If I take a 100% do nothing rest day, it is really hard for me to get going on the following day. So I do low impact activities like walking or restorative yoga to keep the blood flowing on off days.
A few friends of mine have also recently gone gluten free and swear that their energy levels have sky rocketed…I tend to believe this is the same as the Vegan Challenge participants who feel better. It is not unusual for people to have a dairy or gluten allergy, so it is worth a 30 day elimination trial because removing any food causing inflammation in your body will certainly give you more energy!
SEASONS AND ALLERGIES
I recently posted my top 10 tips for running during allergy season and can say for sure they are working for me. I know a number of you were going to try the honey trick, so I can’t wait to see a starting line filled with runners this Spring taking their honey instead of GU.
Otherwise I am happy to run outside in all seasons. The Miami humidity can make running very tough as it is reportedly harder than running at altitude, so I try to make up for the hard runs by making sure the scenery is beautiful and I’m wearing the best clothing for the weather. Heat, rain, cold, snow, most long term runners will tell you that investing in the right gear has made all the difference in ensuring they get out the door.
Many of you have asked for shoe recommendations and the truth is that running shoes are a very personal choice. I am over the moon with a low profile running shoe like the Saucony Kinvara, however you have to be willing to work on your running form in that kind of shoe. Others will swear they never felt better than once they went barefoot, so I recommend checkout out some barefoot running guides and then others have been running in their Mizuno Waves for years and wouldn’t trade them.
Personally I love running shoes in general and have tried just about everything…yes this is my current collection. Some women like high heels, some like hand bags…I like running shoes.
If you’ve got more running questions I would love to hear them!
I am grateful for a clear night sky full of stars…it feels like those nights as a kid where you realized how big the world actually is!