Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.
- Consistency: Without a doubt, consistency in my workouts has made me a stronger runner. I wake up early to run before work, and I make sure to complete all of the workouts that my coach prescribes. There are plenty of days that I wake up tired or get home from work and feel tired, but then I think of my goals and what I want to achieve, and I get my butt outside or downstairs to our gym. (Of course, if you are sick, skip the workout!)
- Sleeping in compression socks: There is debate over the full benefits of compression socks. Some proponents say that wearing them during a run improves running by increasing circulation and reducing vibrations to the leg muscles. Others say that during a run, there’s not really that much added benefit. One thing that is more widely accepted is that compression socks do help aid in recovery (when not running) by increasing circulation. I do like to wear compression socks when I run in the winter, but I’ve found that staying cool when it is hot outside is more important than running in compression socks in the summer. That doesn’t mean that I can’t speed recovery to my legs while I sleep.
- Drinking a lot of water: I started really being intentional with hydration when I was pregnant, and now that I am breastfeeding and working out like a crazy person, it is equally important. I drink a whole lot of water throughout the day, and I only occasionally drink caffeine or alcohol. In addition to water, there are a couple of drink mixes like this one that I like to add for flavor and a little added benefit. I also drink almond milk for the added calcium (still tbd on dairy, so I limit milk).
- Eating enough good foods: Fueling properly has become much more critical as I push my body in training AND in breastfeeding. My body is working as hard as it can, so I need to make sure that I give it the nutrition that it needs. I have transitioned to eating mostly organic foods, and I have cut out a lot of the refined grains that I used to eat. I used to try to eat a low-fat diet, but I now try to incorporate good fats into every meal. I also make an effort to get a lot of protein through good meats, protein shakes, and cheese.
- Rolling and stretching: I’m not the best at rolling and stretching, but I am definitely better than I have ever been. One thing that has helped tremendously is that I carry a lacrosse ball in my purse, so I can roll at any time that I feel a twinge or have spare time in the car. I also keep “The Stick” at my desk at work. I also do at least a light foam roll and stretch every night before bed. One more thing: I schedule semi-regular sports massages. They are expensive, so I have to ration them out, but they are so valuable when I’m putting a lot of stress on my body.
One of the most valuable gains that I am missing is SLEEP. The more intense my workouts get, the more I realize how much extra sleep I need. I am not even getting the minimum suggested amount of sleep when you subtract out the time that I wake up to feed/console Cadence in the night. She has never been a great sleeper, and teething isn’t helping us much. So, I’ll work on this. 🙂
What are your tricks outside of running for marginal gains?