5 Little Things That Make a Big Difference in Running

>> Monday, July 09, 2012

Tim Catalano and Adam Goucher, 2 runners and writers, have a book out called "Running the Edge." As part of their book, they have a blog too. Here are some points from an interesting recent post of theirs. It's what they both have labeled as "The Little Things That Make a Big Difference in Running."

Adam’s Five Favorite Little Things:

1. Get more sleep: Depending on your schedule, get to bed a half-hour early, or take a 45-minute nap after a hard workout.

2. Visualize your goals: On many runs your mind is free to wander. Use this time to see yourself running strong and achieving your goals.

3. Use power words: Pick a word like “Strong” or “Believe.” Practice saying this word in your mind during workouts when you need to pick up the pace. Use this same word during difficult moments in your race and feel the energy it brings.

4. Say your goals out loud: Tell everyone who cares (and even some people who don’t) what you are going to do in your next race. The more often you say it and the more people who know it, the more likely you are to accomplish it.

5. Drink a protein shake: After a hard workout or long run, drink a protein shake, or even some chocolate milk, to help speed up your recovery.

My thoughts on those:

1. Yes, yes, yes. Hard to do with a baby in the house, but it's important.

2. Coach Jen had me do something like this, and it helped. Here's where I posted about it before I tried to crack 60:00 at the TC 10 Mile.

3. I dunno... maybe. I think I'd done versions of this, but not exactly this.

4. YES! Tell everyone. It makes it real. It makes you HAVE to do it!

5. Jenny Evans got on me about this 2 years ago, and I've been doing better. I like protein powder in milk with beef jerky on the side. De-lish.

Tim’s Five Favorite Little Things:

1. Use positive self-talk: Constantly tell yourself, “I feel good. I am strong. I can do this.” Keep focused on positive thoughts and do not allow negative ones to enter your mind.

2. Enter a BIG race: Having a goal or something to train for gives a purpose to your training and a deadline to be in the best shape possible.

3. Get a GPS watch: Go for round numbers to increase your mileage. For example, if your GPS says you have run 8.6 miles when you finish your loop, run another .4 to make it an even 9 or even 1.4 to make it 10!

4. Smile when it hurts: The mind/body connection is very powerful. When a race or workout starts to get tough, let a genuine smile spread across your face. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.

5. Celebrate every victory: Whether it is a new PR, or just finishing the longest training run of the year, it is time to celebrate! Go out for your favorite dinner. Call your mom with the good news. Treat yourself to a new song on iTunes. Just do something to celebrate!

My thoughts on those:

1. I try to do a version of this. Check my sub-60 TC 10 Mile report from 2010 where I talk about my elbows at mile 7. Yes, elbows. They were the only thing that felt good.

2. Yes on this. Training for something is the best way to beat the running blues. I've also heard that if you're "just going out to run" each day, THAT'S when you get injured - you need some "training" to make sure you're not getting off track. (That might be a specific issue for ME, because 2 different sports Docs have told me that.)

3. I'm not sure. I just got a GPS (see my last post), and I don't know if this will HELP or if it will make me become too obsessed with my numbers.

4. I can believe this. Although, as many of you have seen in the past, often when I try to smile late in a race, it looks as if I'm shitting out nails. Sideways.

5. I'm least sure about this one. Way too many people say "but I've EARNED [blank]," and I try to avoid this. We sometimes need to stop feeling so entitled. We sometimes just need to work. (Full disclosure: after my hardest / longest days, I WILL do this. All of my eating habits have gotten better over the last few years, but my "I've earned it" treat of choice is full calorie root beer. Hells yeah.) So if you do this, keep it minor. Get your nails did. Treat yourself to an early bedtime. Get an iTunes song as Tim suggested. Don't head to Old County Buffet. Don't not workout for a week because you had "that one good one."

So what "makes a big difference in running" for you? What do you have to add to the list? Or what do you agree / disagree with on Adam's and Tim's lists? Leave a comment, and I may leave my thoughts too. Maybe my next post will be my list along with my readers best ones peppered in...


crossn81 7:50 AM, July 09, 2012  
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crossn81 7:50 AM, July 09, 2012  

Tim's idea of rounding up is surprising. Talk about adding junk miles onto a run. I know I'm not the only one, but we often make fun of people who jog around the parking lot trying to get to the exact mileage of the workout. I could see this for a tempo or interval section - but really is 9.8 that much different than 10?

KellytheCulinarian 9:24 AM, July 09, 2012  

I like training plans and training for a goal. I can't just go out and run or sign up for a race the day before and expect anything good to happen.

Steve Stenzel 11:54 AM, July 09, 2012  

Crossn81: I hadn't thought of that. I hate "junk miles," but since working with a coach, I now DO have a better appreciation for a good, long cool-down. So if I'm not hurting / injured, I'd go another .4 to round it up. (But I've never really stretch it out another 1.4 - that's too much for my injured body.

Kelly, I'm TOTALLY with you on that!

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