I read something that really jumped out at me this week.
You know all those motivational and inspirational posters of strong and sweaty people that clog up your Facebook newsfeed?
I saw one that said: Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.
I've heard nothing more true.
I was running this week and my brain was all: PHEW, THIS IS HARD, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY WALK. No, we have to keep going. BUT IT'S REALLY HOT. It's OK, there's not far to go. OUCH, MY LEGS HURT. WE NEED TO STOP. No we don't, just push through the pain. YOU'RE GOING TO GET AN INJURY, STOP RUNNING! Shut up! We can't stop. And we won't stop. EW, DON'T YOU SING MILEY CYRUS TO ME ... and so on.
Someone once told me the only way to get good at running is to actually run, but surely there's something we can do to help us along our merry way.
To ease my mind from fears of injury or burnout, I decided to go have a chat with my pal Jase at the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre.
Jason Russell, the YMCA Health Club supervisor and personal trainer, sat down and ran me through some important info for runners. (Pun totally intended.)
I did promise I'd share any snazzy tips I learned, didn't I? So don't say I never do anything nice.
First of all, Jason reckons we can supplement our running with some strength training. This will help us to get stronger and speedier too.
He recommends squats, calf raises and especially lunges to help build the muscle in our legs, with quicker movements to help our endurance, and slower movements to work on our strength. Equally as important as our preparation is recovery and stretching.
"After a long run, you probably don't feel like standing up to stretch, so I recommend lying down to stretch," Jason says.
At this point I'm not quite sure how to describe every fancy movement Jason showed me. But he spoke a lot about glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calves as the muscles we need to focus on.
"Stretching helps to prevent injuries and also, when your muscles are tired, it's just good to stretch them out and relax them," Jason says.
The next thing he talked about was my favourite hydration and nutrition!
Jason said we should eat some fruit before we go for a run to give ourselves an energy boost.
Then, within 30 minutes of finishing, it's important to eat some protein and carbohydrates like chicken and pasta, or similar.
A fancy trick to make sure we stay hydrated, Jason said, was to weigh yourself before you went and again when you get home. Whatever the difference is how much water you need to slurp on down.
The countdown to Run Ballarat is four weeks so I'm excited to start using these tricks from Jason to hopefully improve my running speed.