Runners need to balance the scale between properly preparing for a run and actually running. Runners tend to place too much emphasis on the run and not enough on the preparation. Proper planning actually begins days before a run and can begin with the completion of a previous run.
Fueling within 30-60 minutes of completing a run allows your recovery to begin as well as the preparation for your next run. Focus on foods and recovery drinks with a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Chocolate milk is always on the top of my list. Properly cooling down and stretching also sets the stage for a full recovery and reduces the risk of injury.
The key ingredients of proper run planning include proper rest, adequate hydration and listening closely to how your body is adapting to each run. Monitoring your resting heart rate each morning is one of the best indicators of how well rested you are. Monitoring RHR (Resting Heart Rate) regularly allows you to establish a baseline or average RHR. Anytime you have an elevated RHR you should consider cutting back the distance and pace of your run, cross training or taking the day off completely. A well-timed and much-needed rest day is as important as a great workout.
Maintaining a more strategic approach to your training allows you to capitalize on the intense effort running requires. You will also establish more rhythm to your running and build a stronger foundation of confidence. Getting into great shape is only part of the equation for optimal training…confidence is another key ingredient to getting the most from your training.
Establishing a more scientific approach to your training will provide a lifetime of enjoyable and meaningful running.