When you’re really passionate about something, it can be hard to know when to stop. For me, the thing that I really enjoy is running. So against my better judgement sometimes I make the mistake of thinking I’m invincible. A little niggle? Pah, it’ll be ok. The next thing you know, I’m limping around with a swollen ankle because I thought it would be ok. Now here we are almost six weeks later and I’m slowly getting back to it. My point is, if you feel pain then take it easy.
The same can be applied to training. If you’re not getting anywhere and find yourself feeling a little lacklustre in the running department, perhaps it’s time to switch your running routine up or down. Here’s how:
Switch it down: forget about the clock
With so many gadgets now on the market, you’re bound to have at least one in your possession even if you don’t know it yet. That humble stopwatch on your phone can be used for those 400m track sessions. It’s important to know you’re times and how far you’ve progressed. However, becoming a slave to the clock can also put an extreme amount of pressure on a runner and what was once an enjoyable part of your week becomes something you dread. You don’t need a watch to make your run count. A slow, long run can fulfil you just as much as a paced workout. Try switch the tempo down and leave the watch at home once a week so you can get in tune with what it feels like to simply run and enjoy the space around you.
Switch it up: mix up your workouts
As much as I love running to the other side of London and back, I know that this will only get me so far on race day. Yes, I’m talking about speed and hill work. The strongest runners are the ones who mix up their training sessions and add at least a hill or track session in once a week. Track work is tough but it can also be absolutely exhilarating and really get your heart pumping fast. Another top tip is to add some cross training into your routine. I’m a huge fan of spinning as it gives me a similar buzz but is less impact on my joints. Barre, yoga or Pilates are also really complementary to running as they help you focus on the core and also loosen any tight hamstrings. Try one of these classes and you’ll realise just how important cool down stretches are.
Switch it down: and rest
As hard as it is, rest days are really important when it comes to running as they allow the body to recover and repair. I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of them but I know that sometimes my body just needs a break. If like me you not very good at sitting still, something like yoga or a gentle walk will make you feel better and also not have too much of an impact on the recovery process.
Here are some ideas for you running fanatics, posted by The Fix on how to avoid runner’s burnout: