It’s already been one full year since I first started running. I still can’t believe it. Not only did it help me get through those tough months during the pandemic, but it has also changed my life in many ways. Each run has felt like I have released something different. I’ve noticed such a positive change with my anxiety and while it will always be a work in progress, it has definitely improved.
If you watch my stories on Instagram, then you know I’ve been training for a 10 mile race -and by race I mean just me and my Nike app! I unfortunately missed the deadline for a virtual race where I would have gotten a medal in the mail, but that’s ok! I’m doing this for me and I’m sure there will be races in my future.
These last 7 1/2 weeks of training have challenged me tremendously and I’ve still got 3 more weeks to go. So much of this has been a mental game. I have run 4 times a week without excuses. This means I’ve run in the rain, in the heat, on my period, after restless nights… you get the point. I’ve had to say no to certain things because saying yes meant it would interrupt my schedule. I’ve had to be very disciplined and I’m so happy I’ve continued to push through because I’ve been able to show myself what I am capable of. So far I’ve run up to 9 miles! It’s incredible what you can achieve when you stay consistent.
Running might not be for everyone and that’s ok. I never imagined it would be for me. Honestly, if it weren’t for the pandemic I’m not sure if I would have ever gotten into it. I first wrote a running post when I was only 4 months in, but I have learned a lot since then and I know there’s still more it will teach me. I wanted to share some updated tips along with my current running essentials. I hope you find this post helpful!
Tips & Essentials
This is the first time I’ve run on a specific training schedule and it’s completely changed running for me in the best possible way. It helps to have a specific mile goal with each run and by changing up the distance (both short and long) I have been able to build up on my endurance and have learned to keep a steadier pace. You can find training schedules on Pinterest but I was having a hard time finding one for 10 miles. My friend, Grace, made mine for me. I did it on the comp and added it in below so that you can use it if you ever plan to train for 10 miles! The rest days are when I don’t have to run, but I have tried to keep up with some strength training on those days.
I just started taking these and they’ve been so helpful on my longer runs. When I ran 7 miles for the first time I honestly thought I would pass out. I was low on energy and not hydrated enough. I did some research and found that energy gels are supposed to be great although they can be a little rough on the stomach. A couple of people on IG recommended that I try energy chews instead so I recently got Clif BLOKS. They’re basically gummies and really easy to take during your runs. They’re a quick way to give your body carbs and an energy boost. I ordered these off Amazon and got the variety pack with 8 different flavors. So far strawberry and tropical punch are my favorite.
I never ran with water before, but have quickly realized with these longer distances how important it is for me to stay hydrated, especially in the summer heat. I just bought this Nike Hydration Belt. It has a 10oz flask for water and a zippered pocket where you can store a few things. I’ve been using it for the energy chews and my key, but my phone actually fits inside too. I had to play around with the strap a lot to get it adjusted the right way. Since it gets a little heavier once you fill the flask, it’s been more comfortable for me to run with the water and pocket around my back instead of stomach. This has prevented it from moving around too much.
If you don’t want to run with a belt but still want to bring water I also found these handheld bottles. There’s even hydration backpacks like this one. It all depends on your personal preference of what would be best.
Hydration (Before & After)
I recently got LiquidIV and it has been a game changer with my hydration. These little packets multiply your hydration more than water and give you 3x the electrolytes than sports drinks. I have them before and after my runs and highly recommend. They can be very sweet so I like to add them into my tall water bottle and shake it up. This helps dilute it a bit and the sweetness doesn’t taste as strong. I actually have a 25% off discount code with free shipping if you ever decide to purchase something. Use code NATYMICHELE!
Since I’ve been running 4 times a week and at longer distances, I am burning a ton of calories. It’s been so important to make sure I’m eating enough everyday so that I am fueling my body properly. I’m actually eating more now than ever before. I had a bad habit of skipping meals sometimes and snacking on whatever was quick and easy. I am not on a diet and I haven’t cut out any food groups, but I try to eat pretty clean with a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats. I’ve tried to increase my intake of leafy greens and have lowered the amount of processed foods that I eat. Something that’s helped a lot is planning my meals for the day ahead of time. This ensures that I am giving my body what it needs.
Fitted Running Shoes
This is so important especially if you plan to continue running. Last fall I went to Road Runners to get fitted. They recorded a quick video of my feet when running on a treadmill and were able to determine the type of runner I am and based off that could recommend the best shoe. I started out running in Nikes and quickly learned that these were not the best for running. I switched over to the Clifton 7 from HOKA ONE ONE. They say you should switch out your running shoes every 400-500 miles. I’ve already hit around 250 in these. A little tip: I learned to always go a half size up in your running shoes. What a difference that has made!
This is an essential part of the running process. Strength training strengthens muscles and joints and reduces the risk of injuries. It also helps to improve your running performance. There are a ton of videos on YouTube. Sometimes I do workouts from GrowingAnnanas. I’ve also done them in the Sweat App, specifically the BBG workouts.
I’ve learned that static stretching before a run is not enough and it can actually increase your injury risk and decrease your performance. Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your muscles and ligaments for performance and safety. They also get your blood pumping and raise your body temperature to warm up your body. You can do this for 5-10 minutes before your runs. There’s a bunch of these videos on YouTube to help guide you.
My Running Playlist
I get asked about my running playlist sometimes so I wanted to share it. I’m constantly adding to it and try to fill it with a mix of different music that keeps me motivated. You can check it out on Spotify here.
I’m currently on week 8 of training and will be running 10 miles on August 1st! After that I am going to take a little break from running so that my body can recover and then I’ll probably continue to run 4 times a week because I love it so much. Do you have any other running tips and essentials to add to this list? As I mentioned I know there’s still a lot more I will continue to learn. So far, it’s been an incredible journey and I have loved sharing it with all of you!