Runner’s World September 2003
By Jeff Galloway
Recover from Summer
Run strong this fall with these eight energy-boosting strategies
Consistent summer running and racing can be the perfect setup for
a great fall marathon or half-marathon. Or it can leave you physically
and mentally burned out, relegating you to the sideline instead
of the starting line. Sometimes the first signs of burnout emerge
in your legs-they start to feel heavy and achy. Sometimes your sluggish
body gives you the first clues, as you begin to struggle on a daily
basis just to log a minimal number of miles. And sometimes it’s
your mind that starts to bring you down. Whether it’s your
legs, body, or brain, the best thing you can do is take action now.
The sooner you pinpoint your problem, the sooner you’ll be
FOR TIRED LEGS
Feel great after 38. Daily running can leave your legs feeling dead.
Instead, switch to running every other day for at least 2 weeks.
When you give yourself 48 hours between runs, your body h as that
much more time to repair the microscopic damage that occurs during
Get off to a slow start. A longer, more thorough warmup is often
the key to feeling great later in your runs. So start each run by
walking for a few minutes, then ease into running slowly.
Give them a break. Running regularly on blacktop or concrete can
be tough on your legs. To help rejuvenate them, do half your weekly
mileage on softer surfaces such as grass, trails, or all-weather
tracks. Treadmills are also easier on the legs.
FOR A SLUGGISH BODY
Fill up the tank. If you notice marked drops in energy, especially
during the later miles of your runs, your body may be begging for
food. To avoid this sinking feeling, have a high-carbohydrate snack
such as pretzels or a banana about an hour before your run.
Refuel for tomorrow. No energy right from the start of a run? You
may not have replaced all the glycogen (the carbohydrate stored
in and used by your muscles) you spent during your last run. Counter
this by eating at least a snack –if not a meal- within an
hour after you finish your workout. It should be high in carbohydrate
and include a little protein, such as a bagel with some peanut butter.
Get some answers. When you’re low on iron or certain B vitamins,
you feel run-down all the time. Consider a consultation with a sports
nutritionist who can identify the areas in your diet where you may
be deficient. If no dietary problems can be found, your doctor can
perform some routine blood tests to root out a medical explanation
(such as a thyroid problem) for your fatigue.
FOR A WEARY MIND
Give your mind a mission. To stay motivated, write down a “mission”
to be completed by a certain date, and display it in plain sight.
Goals could include exploring a new trail, attempting a particularly
tough speed workout, or building up to a significantly longer run.
It’s best to schedule your mission within the next 4 weeks
to maximize mental focus.
Draw motivation from others. There’s a whole running community
out there for you to tap into if you’re in a mental slump.
Get a pep talk from a friend or running mentor. Hunt down a few
inspirational quotes from the best running books or Web sites. One
runner I know goes to a popular running route and settles in behind
a slower runner. At a particular part of the course, he accelerates
ahead and visualizes that he’s about to win an Olympic medal.
Hey, if it helps you break out of a slump, go for it.
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