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40 years of running - passing on the lessons learned

Now the wrong side of 50, if I reflect on almost 40 years of running, I know that I have made many running related (and other!) mistakes along the way.

As a teenager I was convinced that I was aiming for great things – but if I’m honest I wasn’t quite determined enough and not nearly talented enough!!

What I find frustrating is that with the knowledge I have now have I could have avoided a number of mistakes that would have improved my running and my enjoyment of it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Here I’ve identified some of those mistakes with an aim of keeping you on the right track.

Enjoy it! – whether you’re planning to run to maintain a reasonable fitness level or possess great athletic talent - you’re heading in the wrong direction if you fail embrace running at the outset. So how do you maintain enthusiasm for running over a prolonged period??

Listen to your body – with so many external pressures this inner sense is easily ignored. But ignore it at your peril! Your body will fail you (I promise!) if you consistently fail to heed its warning signs. Your body needs time to adapt to the stresses and strains of running (at any level) so don’t be tempted to do too much too soon as your body will not thank you for it!

Rest – My biggest regret is not fully comprehending the importance of rest. Where possible, I wish that I had always incorporated a 20 min afternoon nap into my daily routine. This simple step has increased my enjoyment of running and other aspects of daily life.

Try to avoid eating after 6pm – this simple step has greatly improved the quality of my sleep- you’re not going to run well if you don’t sleep well!! why not give it a try?

If your training schedule says ‘easy run day’ then don’t be tempted to overperform. The easy run is a part of your recovery process from the harder stuff so chill out and slow down!

Oh, and rest days should be exactly that!

Training Plan – this doesn’t have to be complicated and very importantly allows you to set short/medium/ long term goals that will keep you focused. Be sure to warm up and warm down following each run.

Diet & fluid intake – I used to believe that I could eat and drink whatever I wished if I was burning off calories by high mileage running each day. Indeed, I got away with this in my 20s but began to realise my theory was flawed in later years! Much as there’s a need for training plan your diet and nutrition need some thought. Have a plan. It needn’t be expensive.

Variety – your body and mind will appreciate a regular change of route and change of surface in order to reduce the risk of repetitive injury and becoming bored. So, mix things up! Get involved in other activities. Other sports will improve your running strength/ endurance and help you avoid injury.

Help with injury – Invariably, you’ll get injured at some point. I became an osteopath following osteopathic treatment I received for running related injuries over a number of years. At Gower Health Clinic as well as treating your injury we seek to identify the route cause thus preventing reoccurring injury. Happy running!

Want to know more or book a tailored treatment & troubleshooting session with Ian David click here

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