Guest Post: Have Your Best Run Yet!

I love Clever Training (send me an email to get a code for 10% off!) and buy lots of my training gear from them. Many people know about their awesome selection of running, triathlon, and training gear, but most people don’t know that Clever Training also hosts a great blog with training tips, fun stories, and information about the latest gear. When Ron, the CT Blog guy reached out to me about doing a guest post, I was super excited. I love reading the CT Blog and thought that you would, too. Here’s his post, a set of great tips for having your best run yet. Thanks, Ron!

Have Your Best Run Yet

Any dedicated runner knows that the key to having an amazing run depends on many factors. Perhaps most importantly, it starts with your mentality. Here are a few ways that you can pump yourself up and prepare yourself for your best run yet:

Recognize Negative Thinking

Many runners know that the body can be perfectly capable, but if the mind is not thinking positively, it can have a huge impact on the quality of your run. The trick is to recognize negative thoughts and remember that you have control over them. When a negative thought wanders through your mind, call upon a cue word or song that replaces the negativity with something positive. Focus on the pumping of your arms or your breathing, and you might be surprised at how much easier your run becomes.

Wear the Right Gear

Those shoes you bought for 20 dollars may have been a steal, but you aren’t doing your feet any favors. In order to keep your feet going for long distances, you will need to spend a little more to find the right shoe that is properly insulated. In addition, consider switching from cotton shirts and shorts to moisture-wicking workout clothes. This will help keep the sweat from sticking to your body and turning cold quickly. Having the right workout gear for your runs will allow you to go further distances in comfort.

Learn Proper Breathing

Many long-distance runners make the mistake of breathing too much. This deprives your lungs of oxygen because you are not getting all of the CO2 out of your lungs. Your lungs need oxygen to power you through those distances, so slowing down your breathing will relax you and fully give your lungs the oxygen they need, making running slightly easier. If you get a stitch in your side, matching your stride to your breath will help ease the pain.

Stop Setting Rigid Goals

Setting goals can be good for running, but if your goals are too rigid, then it can fill your mind with a defeatist attitude when you know you are failing to hit that goal. If this happens, don’t focus on the failure to meet your goal. Instead, have back-up goals. For instance, if you set a goal to run nine miles and know that you won’t make it by mile four, set a mini-goal of reaching eight miles instead. Change your self-talk be more positive, and it will help keep you motivated rather than having you want to give up in frustration.

Use Others as Motivation, Not Comparison

Theodore Roosevelt once said that “comparison is the thief of joy,” and this is true in the running world. There is always going to be someone faster than you or who can go longer distances, and this is something that everyone should accept. Instead of getting down about this, use that person as a source of motivation for your next run. Acknowledge that you are only competing against yourself, and that’s all that matters for your enjoyment.

It’s Not a Priority

A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted the “it’s not a priority” quote to her Facebook page. You’ve probably seen it. I know it wasn’t the first time I saw it floating around on the internet. It’s made the rounds of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it.

Priorities

Every other time I saw it, I clicked on by. But this time, I stopped. I’d been feeling frantic and overwhelmed, with too many things on my to-do list and too little time. Of course, too little time is an illusion. I know that, but it doesn’t feel that way when you have 200 things on your needed-to-be-done-yesterday list and are wearing your last pair of clean undies. So I stopped. I decided that I would try it. For one week, I would keep track of all the things that I supposedly didn’t have time to do. I kept a little log in my notes app.

Three days in, I was horrified. Here are some of the things I wrote:

It isn’t a priority to eat lunch. [because I don’t need to eat?]

It isn’t a priority to turn in that report on time. [start employee here]

It isn’t a priority to shower before work. [because I’m too tired to get up on time.]

It isn’t a priority to go to the bathroom. [yikes]

Not eating came up more than once. So did not showering. And not sleeping enough. After just a few days, it was clear that I wasn’t making self care a priority. Sure, I was sticking to my workout schedule and keeping up my fitness. I was doing what I needed to do for work. But, I hadn’t really sat down in days. I wasn’t eating on schedule. In short, my day to day behaviors didn’t match my values. So I made some changes. I cut back on a few obligations, left committees I’d outgrown, and turned down several opportunities. It feels better. I am making a commitment to myself to live in line with my values and it starts with how I manage my time.