It's officially race season 🏃♀️
Whether you're a beginner or a regular marathon runner, it's important to keep these three tips at the forefront of your training regimen. Not only will you become stronger and perform better, but you'll prevent your body from injury and over-training
Maintaining proper hydration in the hotter months can be a constant struggle for runners. If you think about it, your muscles are made up of over 70 percent water so monitoring your sweat loss and hydration levels is incredibly important. A study out of the University of North Alabama further emphasizes this finding that when runners replenished 150 percent of their sweat loss, their 10k times were over a minute faster on average (that's the difference between a 4:00 and a 3:52 marathon).
Let's put it in everyday terms: you can't dump a gallon of water on a dehydrated yellowed plant and think that it will turn green and flourish over night. Consistent hydration is key as you prepare to take your body for a long endurance journey. Remember that water and water-dense foods all count—foods like watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries and cucumbers have a high water content and will help you rehydrate, too.
How much is enough? Strive to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. For example: If you're 150 lbs, you'll need to consume 75 oz. of water.
2. Strengthen your leg muscles:
If you want to run faster, your muscles must be strong to take you there. As you take each step, your hamstrings, quads and calves are propelling you forward. Incorporating strength training (weighted and bodyweight) in addition to your long runs will help you build lean muscle, cut fat and strengthen your body from head to toe.
We recommend hitting the gym with a special emphasis on 'leg day.' Try the following exercises to accelerate your daily runs:
- Squat Hopscotch: Starting with your right leg, lower yourself into a one-legged squat. Hop up and down, counting to 10. Then switch to the other leg. Repeat 3 times.
- Gorilla Hops: Squat down and put your knuckles on the ground. Shuffle sideways to the right three times and then three times back to left. Repeat 10 times.
- Weighted Sumo Squats: Hold 10 lb weights in each hand, keeping the weights to your sides. Squat down keeping your pelvis under you. Do 8 sumo squats for 3 rounds.
- Calf Raises: Rest medium weights on your shoulders and raise up on your toes. Pulse for 12, raising and lowering your calf muscles. Then raise and hold on your tippy toes for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
In addition to your regular training, you can also try working with a personal trainer that can create customized training workouts as you prepare for your goal race.
3. Stretch and floss your muscles:
When you increase your mileage, you need to take care of the muscles in your calves. Just like you floss your teeth, your muscles build up residue from lactic acid. Foam rolling and yoga will help lubricate your joints and elongate the muscles as they fatigue. When your calf muscles are tight, it causes your quads and hamstrings to tighten, as well. Invest the time into taking a group yoga class and breaking up the buildup in your legs. The goal is to wear that medal at the end of the race.