By Alyssa Cami
With January right around the corner, it's the time of year where we all start making promises to ourselves about how we’ll be better in the New Year.
As runners, we read and talk about all the best training advice but hardly ever actually end up putting it into action; whether it’s because we're pressed for the time or, let’s be honest, are just plain lazy. As 2014 approaches, think about committing to a few (or all twelve) of the following Runner Resolutions for a year of healthier, happier running.
Running is an extremely repetitive motion, which means sore and tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons are a common complaint among runners. This can lead to a big decrease in flexibility. By incorporating yoga and stretching into your routine, you can increase flexibility and help prevent injury.
There's nothing quite like the agony of trying to roll out your IT Band or calf muscle when it’s all knotted up, but in the end, the long term reward is worth the momentary discomfort. Your muscles will feel less tender and tight afterwards, which will make your future runs more enjoyable. (Gear Review: EvoFit's ensō Muscle Roller)
Hamstrings problems, like strains, tendinitis, and tears are common ailments for runners. These issues usually stem from weakened hamstrings and overly dominant quads. Quad dominance, or favoring your quadriceps muscles while running, is common for many runners. Focus on engaging all of your lower-body muscles, especially your glutes, in order to run faster and stronger, and most importantly prevent injuries.
This one has been beaten almost to death, but since it’s one of the most important parts of running, I'll say it again. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Being dehydrated will negatively affect your performance and can lead to headaches, fatigue, and muscle cramping among other more serious side effects -- especially when paired with running in high temperatures. Drinking water or other non-caffeinated drinks before your run is crucial, especially if you're planning to run a long distance that will take you more than one hour to complete.
Be prepared to rehydrate during endurance workouts, approximately 4 to 6 ounces every 30 minutes or so. Replenishing the electrolytes you’ll lose through sweat by refueling with sports drinks is a good idea, too. If water fountains won't be available along the way, and you don’t feel like carrying your own fluids, try stashing a few bottles of water along your route before starting your workout, which will add a fun scavenger hunt element to your run.
Even if you are slogging through snow or are running on a treadmill, try and find something wonderful and unique to love about each run. Like how you don’t seem to sweat as much when running in the cold, or that one song that came on your playlist that pushed you to finish the last mile.
Deciding to increase your mileage, whether it's a big increase or a small one, is a great goal. The important thing to remember is to not rush it. By pushing yourself to reach your goal too quickly, you increase your risk for injury, which is an even bigger setback than not achieving your goal. Listen to your body. If you notice any aches or pains that don’t feel right, cut back on your mileage or give yourself an extra rest day.
Seriously, your feet deserve some babying. Find a perfect pair that won't slip down your heel or rub your toes the wrong way. Moisture-wicking material will protect your feet from sweat and cushion against blisters. (Related: Brooks Nightlife Running Socks)
For the complete list of the 12 New Year's Resolutions for Runners, go to TheActiveTimes.com.
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