In some ways a lot of conditions have to be ideal for a run. That’s probably true of plenty of other workouts too but running more so than others. Of course you can break all of these ‘rules’ but you might not have the best run possible. To maximize your comfort level and performance on your runs there are certain things you might want to avoid. But also life am I right? Sometimes you just have to break a rule so here are some tips on how to do that and at least suffer less of the consequences.
Having a big meal
Oh this is the worst. It really can cause so many issues… from side stitches, to cramps, to acid reflux, feeling icky and bloated and maybe even barfing eating too much or the wrong thing too close to a run is an awful idea. Everyone is a bit different but we’re also kinda all the same. So if you’re going to have a full on all you can eat moment you might want to wait 5 hours or more, but usually 2-3 hours after a regular meal is fine a little less after a light meal. There are certain snacks you can eat and head out the door for a run if you need some energy on board.
You might have to experiment to see what works well for you but just as a point of reference here’s how I roll. My favorite heading out the door snacks are a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of raisins which I also use for fuel. I need about three hours after a big meal before I do a hard run, 2 if its an easy one. One hack I often use is to eat half my dinner wait an hour, run and then eat the rest when I come home. That way I’m also not having a big meal too late at night. I do know however that eating a lot of fried food means I have to wait a lot longer to run.
Drinking a ton of water
Guess what if you drink a ton of water (or anything including soup) too close to your run you can feel it sloshing around in there. Actually I think you can hear it too! It’s not awful like eating too much but it’s still pretty unpleasant. You might even end up opting to walk because of it. But sometimes you really are dehydrated before your start. Then by all means have some water before you go but bring extra with you and just drink more, more often as you go. You can also plan your route to buy a bottle along the way.
But also not drinking enough water
You just can’t win right? The best way to prepare to be adequately hydrated is to drink more all day if you know you’re running later. As long as your run is more than 90 minuets away then you can even pound it back because that’s long enough time to avoid that sloshing feeling. Just sip cautiously in the hour leading up to your run. I usually have a bit before I head out the door because that’s now water I don’t have to carry with me. Just make sure to make a pee trip an hour, half an hour before and right before you head out the door. Even if you don’t feel like you have any excess liquid on board once you sit (or whatever) you’ll usually have some success.
Not changing all your clothes
You might be thinking ALL my clothes? Normally yes! If you have other things to accomplish later in the day your bra, undies and socks can hold on to stink. More important than body odor however is personal comfort on your run. That can even mean avoiding injury. Running is tough and purpose built clothes are best for the sport. That doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks and you can find things that work well for running in most ‘regular’ stores. Moisture wicking clothes, socks and even undies will make your run so much more enjoyable and can even prevent injury. Sometimes for shorter less intense runs I’ll just leave my regular socks on but… if I do that too often it will inevitably lead to blisters. Since changing into running clothes is so easy and maximizes your comfort level on your run it’s ALWAYS worth it!
Wearing stupid shoes
Here’s a controversial statement, runners should never, ever wear stupid shoes, even when they aren’t running. What are stupid shoes then? Well anything that rubs, pinches, raises blisters, offers no support or hurts your feet shouldn’t be worn by runners. Do I always follow that advice? No, no I do not. But on a related note I’ve had to skip runs because of wearing stupid shoes in the past. When I got back into running in a big way I actually got rid of all of my stupidest shoes because the temptation to wear them was just never worth it. As a runner your feet and legs are what carry you forward and let you accomplish your goals. If you own a pair of truly stupid shoes, trust me you know if you do, get rid of them because it’s only a matter of time until they ruin one of your runs.
No applying more deodorant
Here’s a life lesson you might think you’re going to come directly home from your run and have a shower but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes unexpected visitors are there when you return home or something (maybe even outside the house) requires you immediate attention. Sometimes that shower doesn’t happen. If you apply a fresh layer of deodorant before your run you’d be shocked how little you stink. It doesn’t matter how far or how hard you go a fresh layer hides a multitude of stank! I have a theory that your day deodorant mostly ends up on your day shirt and then you are left pretty much bare pitted once you change into your running clothes. However working up a stink can be motivation too. For example I neglected this step for a run during a brick workout and opted to wear my most smell inducing shirt and I had to keep running fast just to get away from my own smell. Gross? Yes totally, but also pretty motivating. Adding an extra layer is rarely a wasted step.
No visiting the loo
It takes me a hot minute to get my run stuff together and fill up water bottles, keep on reading for that. Ideally I’d like to pee a little twice in that process. Usually if you give it a try you can produce something. No one wants to go on the go but that does happen from time to time too. So that’s number one covered but what about the dreaded number two? Somewhat surprisingly I’ve never HAD to go while on a run. It’s surprising because I don’t have a really great digestive system overall. I think I’ve cut a few runs short in order to get home and skipped some morning runs for this reason. It’s gross but if you’ve never discussed pooping with your best runner friend ya’ll aren’t that close. This is often is an issue for morning runs and races. About all you can do is give yourself some time and pound back some strong coffee. However as much as I stressed about this for my first half I didn’t poo until after and everyone including my shorts made it through
Start something you want to do more
It’s often said that the hardest step if your whole run is the one out the door and I think most of us will agree with that. If you need to, plan to or want to get a run in don’t start doing something you want to do more in the moment. That includes things like starting an episode on Netflix, putting on you PJ’s for a minute or opening a bag of chips. Because if you start something you want to do even a little bit more than heading out for a run you might just put it off. If you really want to trick yourself start doing something you hate like say cleaning the dishwasher and then your run will seem like a relief.
Not warming up
Guilty as charged! Really we should all be doing some sort of warm up before we start our run. That is not just running a bit slower at the start. Some people swear by stretching but the scientific evidence doesn’t really support that. It doesn’t have to be fancy though it could be just a walk for the first 5 minuets. In the winter when I do warm up, it makes the cold seem less cold, I’ll just run up and down the stairs a few times. You can also just start with some drills like high knees too. Even this is the most skipped pre run ritual it’s actually super important. There is some evidence a warmed up run prevents injury but it does more than that too. It gives you a chance to check in with your body, think about and plan out your run. Equally important is the cool down but that’s not what we’re here for today.
Rushing your prep routine
I don’t carry a ton with me but what I do is important. I like to change all my clothes down to underwear and socks and I tape up one of my knees. I always carry a water bottle and I listen to music on old school wired head phones. I carry road ID, a phone holder to take a picture and I only like certain hairdos. That means I’m running around the house and preparing for a bit putting everything together. Plus the knee tape sicks way better after it’s been stuck for a while. When I’m rushed I always forget something and my tape rarely stays stuck. Just the action of rushing around makes your run more likely to suck plus you might even forget something important.
What’s the one thing you never do before a run? Which one of these is most important for you? Leave it in the comments below!