Editor's Note: This post is authored by Raleigh Distance Project's Andie Cozzarelli. Andie was a local high school runner from Apex and ran collegiately at NC State where she was a 10k All-American. She joined Oiselle in 2014 and is also individually sponsored by Generation UCAN, Jasyoga, & InsideTracker.
Running isn’t always easy. There are days when dragging yourself out of bed in the morning just to force your stiff tired legs to move is torture. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve been running for 16 years and still occasionally have those feelings. But it’s not all bad. I am here to say that these rough days are worth it. Get through them, and on race day, your body will thank you. Tough days are tests for your strength so keep fighting and follow these training tips below!
Pace yourself both literally and figuratively. If you are just beginning training, take it easy and slow. Work up to doing more at faster paces over time. It may not come easy in the beginning so give yourself a break. The more diligent you are in combination with listening to your body, the more likely you are to keep going. Eventually you will find that it comes easier and you can dictate your pace to vary the easy days and the hard days.
2. Give Yourself a Goal
Once you pick that goal race, set some goals to chase once you get there. I recommend setting an A goal, a B goal, and a C goal. The A goal should be what you would love to achieve on a perfect day- kind of like your dreamer goal. It’s important to have this larger goal in mind because it gives you something to keep reaching for. Your B goal is what you feel ready to do based on how training has been going. Your C goal is what you would at least like to do if your race day turns out to not be quite the day you were expecting. Your A goal could be just to finish a race and that is entirely okay! Setting achievable and dreamy goals keep you focused on the positives and what the future may hold.
3. Stay Positive
Try to find the positives out of every run and keep thinking about what your end goal is. Even tough runs where you are not feeling 100% can be beneficial, so take what you can from them. I am not saying to sweep unwanted thoughts under the rug. It is important to acknowledge bad thoughts but think of them as just that: thoughts. Remind yourself of memories when you overcame tough situations and they turned out better than expected. If you let your mind go there, your body will surprise you!
4. Mix Up the Workouts
Easy running every day will help give you a good base for training but can become boring at times. Try adding in some interval training or a workout we like to call fartleks. The change of pace helps work different aerobic and anaerobic systems, making you ultimately fitter and faster. Plus, the varied paces will make the run go by much faster when you’re changing things up. A good fartlek workout to try: 1 min on, 1 min off, 2 min on, 2 min off, 1 min on, 1 min off (repeat 2-3 times during a run). Push it during the on sections and either walk or maintain a light jog during the off.
5. Hit the Gym
Last but not least, get in the gym! While it’s true that runners love to run, we need to get in the gym for injury prevention and strength. We focus on building a strong core which includes our hips, glutes, obliques, abs, backs, and shoulders. We also make time for things like foam rolling and a yoga class here and there. At O2 Fitness, we are regulars in the Les Mills CXWorx classes. While challenging, this class is perfect for runners because it strengthens all the areas we need to keep running strong.
We hope these tips are helpful! If you ever see us at O2, please come say hello! We would love to hear some tips from YOU!