Alexander Graham Bell once said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” And we believe that this phrase applies just as well to athletics as it does to invention! The foundation for a successful run is laid long before your feet hit the pavement. Below are six simple steps that should be part of every runner’s routine.
1. Plan Your Itinerary
If you won’t be running on a treadmill or a track, then planning your itinerary beforehand is smart, even if you will be using a pedometer to record distance. The app Map My Run is a great tool for this; however, there’s nothing wrong with using Google maps, either! Not only will a pre-established route help you focus more on performance rather than direction, it will also make tracking progress objectively much easier.
2. Double Check Your Equipment
There’s nothing worse than realizing one mile into your long run that you forgot to bring your water bottle, or that your phone is dying and you are going to be stuck without music for the next 45 minutes! Taking a quick moment to make sure that you have everything you need for a successful run will help you maintain the consistency that is so important for actively training athletes.
3. Get Hydrated and Fueled Up
Thinking about hydration long before your run starts is the best way of making sure that you aren’t running with a tummy full of water — an uncomfortable experience to say the least. Of course, bringing fluids along to replenish during your run is always a smart idea, regardless. If eating is an important part of your pre-running routine, then doing so one to two hours before taking off is the best way to take advantage of the extra energy without any negative effects.
4. Warm Up
Preventing injury and achieving peak performance are both goals that rely heavily on a proper and thorough warm up. This recent Top Fitness Magazine article offers a few simple and practical tips that can help ensure an effective warm-up — though at a minimum, a few minutes of dynamic stretching should always precede your workouts.
5. Set Goals
Giving yourself something to strive for is one of the best ways of keeping yourself accountable, especially if you will be training alone. Moreover, goal setting is a great way of engaging that competitive spirit that drives so many athletes to perform.
6. Share Your Route
Letting someone know when you’re leaving, where you’re going, and when you expect to return is an important component of running safety. After all, in the event of an injury, accident, or other misfortune, you want help to arrive quickly, and for the people who are helping you to know exactly where to find you.
So now we’ve covered the keys to preparing for a successful run. But what about optimizing performance during the run itself? Check out the Top Fitness Mag Running Archives to continue learning!