This year I don’t need to make a resolution to “exercise” or “lose weight,” but there are definitely some things that I could do more often or more consistently to improve my chances of staying healthy as a runner.
- Warm up. When I run on the treadmill, I usually walk for 5 minutes, run at an easy pace for at least 5 minutes, and then work up to my planned pace over another 5 minutes or so. I think that’s a decent warm up. When I run outside, I might walk for 5 minutes, but I have a hard time easing into my running pace. And, depending on my route or how cold it is outside, I may only walk for a few minutes. I really need to commit to a solid 5 minutes of walking and 5 min of easy running.
- Cool down. My treadmill had a built-in 5 minute cool down, but that’s probably not enough, especially if I am running hard to the end of the program time. For my outside runs, I usually walk for about 5 minutes from my stopping point back to my house or car, but I don’t really have any running cool down.
- Stretch. I actually have gotten much better at this. A tight ITB will convince you of the importance of stretching. Still, if I’ve run outside and get distracted when I get back to the house or if I’m in a hurry to get home from my running trail, I may skimp on my stretches or skip them completely.
- Strength train. This is another thing that running injuries have brought into my fitness life. I used to view weights as a necessary evil, but now I really enjoy my weight workouts. And, I really do think that they have helped me keep injuries at bay.
- Cross-train. Running is my favorite form of cardio, but I don’t do it every day. I try to mix things up with the elliptical and walking outside in my hilly neighborhood. I also have exercise DVDs that get me moving and sweating. Like strength training, cross-training with different forms of cardio helps keep my body balanced and adds variety to my routine that fends off boredom.
- Yoga. Yes, I said yoga. Another thing I used to resist, but I found some Rodney Yee programs that I really like. They feel sooo goood. And, they are only about 20 minutes long! Even so, I couldn’t tell you the last time I did one–maybe in my hotel room on a business trip in early December?
- Listen to my body. I know it’s good to set goals and make plans to accomplish them, but when it comes to running I need to listen to my body. If I am tired from my previous day’s workout, run down from lack of sleep, or worn out from a hard day/week/month at work, I need to listen to my body and opt for an easier workout or even an extra rest day.
How long do spend warming up? What does your cool down look like?
Do you have any resolutions to improve your fitness in 2011?