Whether you have a New Year’s resolution to get in shape for a race or you want to set a personal record in 2019, in order for you to achieve your goals, it’s essential that you stay healthy so you can continue your training and improve your running. Practicing healthy habits isn’t as simple as eating plenty of vegetables and getting 8+ hours of sleep each night. I wish it was that easy, but the reality is that life gets busy, we start “burning the candle at both ends” and eventually we lose focus of our wellness habits.
Even if you do have a few “bad days,” don’t beat yourself up. Having a piece of cake once in a while isn’t bad for you, it’s having cake everyday and not exercising to burn those calories off, that will lead to declines in your health.
Do what you can from the following list. Obviously the more healthy habits that are a part of your daily routine, the better.
- Get plenty of sleep
Without proper rest, your mind and body can start to suffer ill effects rather quickly. Lack of sleep leads to depression and anxiety as well as confusion and overall cognitive impairment. When you don’t sleep enough, you just don’t feel like yourself, so be sure you are getting plenty of shut-eye. Have a sleep routine, and stick to it. Going to bed on time is one way to improve your mental wellness. Because sleep is crucial for restoring your body and your mind, you must value this activity. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day reinforces your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, which means you are more likely to sleep better and longer.
- Pay attention to what you are and are not eating
Your diet has a profound effect on your mental wellness. Not only can eating unhealthy foods affect your body, but they also disrupt your sleep, rob you of energy, change your mood, throw your hormones out of balance, and lower your immune system. All of these can leave you feeling lethargic, sad, and confused. Focus on eating healthy foods, including those high in vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats (like fish, avocados and nuts), which your brain needs.
a) Eat more omega-3 fatty acids
The fatty acids found in cold-water fish, flaxseed, and other foods are not only good for your heart and gut but also your brain. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce depression and lower the risk for dementia.
b) Stop Drinking Soda
Drinking too much soda increases your risk for type two diabetes by as much as 26 percent. People who drink sugary drinks such as soft drinks tend to weigh more and have poor eating habits.
c) Eat More Fruits
Add some more fruit to your diet. Fruits provide access to fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium and folate. Vitamins are necessary for the overall function of our body. They contribute to the repair of skin, hair, nails, and organ function.
d) Eat More Veggies
Do not skimp on your veggie intake. Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals which help to lower blood pressure, promote digestive health, protect our heart and contributes to our eye health.
If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.
e) Eat Nuts!
Aside from containing omega-3 fatty acids, nuts are an excellent source for magnesium and vitamin E. Which nuts are the best? Almonds, macadamia nuts, and pecans are among those who appear to offer the best benefits.
f) Drink Water
Water intake is essential for good health. Water improves the function of our kidneys, serves as a cushion for our spine, supports hydration, and can prove beneficial to those trying to lose weight.
g) Eat These Foods to Improve Your Cholesterol
Need to improve your cholesterol levels? Try consuming barley, oats, nuts, apples, grapes, citrus fruits, and beans. Aim for foods that are rich in sterols and polyunsaturated fats. These substances are important for blocking cholesterol absorption.
h) Eat these Foods to Improve Your Cardiac Health
Protect your heart health by heart-healthy foods. Salmon, blueberries, dark chocolate, lean meats, soy, citrus fruits, extra virgin olive oils, nuts, and legumes may boost your heart health.
i) Eat these Foods to Lower Blood Pressure
Change your diet to lower blood pressure. Try to eat foods that contain magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Pomegranates, pistachios, olive oil, dark chocolate, bananas, oatmeal, and beets may help you control your blood pressure. Consistency will be critical for success.
j) Improve Your Energy with These Foods
If you’re in search of the best foods to give your metabolism and energy stores a swift kick, try adding lentils, fish (i.e., tuna, salmon), eggs, chia seeds, oranges or green tea to your diet.
k) Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are high in sugar and contain large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup. They can produce devastating effects on the body over a period causing heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes.
l) Drink Water with Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar with water can offer a wide assortment of health benefits including a reduction in high cholesterol, weight loss, improvement in overall cardiovascular health, liver function and reduce the risk of cancer.
- Set realistic goals and put a plan together to achieve them
I discussed this in an earlier post. Goals provide you with a purpose and sense of direction. Set a few critical, meaningful, and attainable goals for your personal or professional growth, and devise a plan that will help you achieve them. Keep working regularly to make progress toward reaching these.
- Complete Strength training & conditioning exercises weekly
Strength training for runners won’t bulk you up and slow you down as long as you complete runner-specific training that emphasizes movements that directly correlate to running performance. I discussed some of the exercises I completed during my marathon training last year. Increased strength contributes to improved running because it can help improve your form when later in races when you’re fatigued. Strength training can also assist in preventing injuries because you have stronger muscles & tendons. Completing strength and conditioning exercises regularly is a proven way to make your body more resilient to the demands of running.
- In order to help prevent injuries, make Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), rope stretches & foam rolling a part of your daily routine.
It’s essential to maintain your flexibility with a set of simple daily exercises. You should also include activities that will relieve muscle soreness and speed the healing & recovery process after your workouts.
- Start the day off right and plan your workouts for the week
To avoid the rush of the morning preparations, prepare as much as you can the night before. Pack lunches, lay out clothes, place workout clothes in easily accessible places, and make sure devices get charged overnight. Having a morning routine and help you get your day started smoothly and eliminate unnecessary stress.
One of the keys to completing your training is to plan ahead. You may have a schedule and know which workouts to complete each day of the week, but the key to actually finishing each workout is to plan when during each day you will workout. I provide a number of proven strategies to help plan workouts. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch or after work, plug your workouts into your calendar like a meeting and do your best not to allow any changes. When you start missing workouts due to a busy life, it can get discouraging and very difficult to get back on track.
- Beware of Fad Diets
Fad diets do promise results, but some have health risks tied to them or they’re simply not proven for long term health. Keto and fasting may yield results initially and result in immediate weight loss, but those results may prove difficult to sustain and even later contribute to higher weight gain. A balanced diet has stood the test of time as the best way to lose and maintain a healthy body. Follow my recommendations above regarding diet and you won’t go wrong.
- Complete exercises to keep your glutes strong.
Glutes are arguably the most important muscle group for runners. Studies link glute weakness to achilles tendinitis, runner’s knee, iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and other common injuries. Read my comprehensive post about glute weakness and how to strengthen your glutes.