Hi everyone! I am Kristen and I blog over at The Smith Summary. I am super excited to be guest posting for Heather today while she and her hubby are on a much deserved cruise!
I work full-time as a pharmacist and as a wife and mom of two so I know first-hand how life can get in the way of taking better care of ourselves, and that couldn’t be more important while training for a race. We push ourselves to the limit while we are training but sometimes our bodies need a little break so that we can stay healthy and injury free. I will be the first to admit that I don’t take care of myself as well as I should, and my body told me that the hard way last week when I got sick. Being sick is no fun, and then I felt super guilty about missing my workouts for a few days but I knew this was my body’s way of waving the white flag and that I needed to give myself a break. So I decided to share my tips on how to keep yourself healthy while training for a race (and maybe by putting these on paper, I’ll follow my own advice too!)
1. Drink water.
Doesn’t everyone though?
The old rule of thumb is to drink at least 64oz of water each day but if you are exercising that day and/or it’s especially hot outside you should consume more than that – and for longer runs, this includes properly hydrating in the days leading up to the run, not just the day of. Try to consume at least 16oz of water about an hour before you exercise (just don’t wait any longer so you don’t have to take potty breaks during your workout) and about 4-6oz for every 20 minutes during your workout. These are basic rules of thumb, of course, since your needs will vary depending on your sweat rate. Also don’t forget to hydrate after your workout as well!
2. Eat healthy.
I know this probably goes without saying but make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet because they are chock full of antioxidants which boost your immune system and help prevent illness. Also try to limit your intake of saturated fats, since those can decrease your immunity.
3. Wash Your Hands
Nuf said. While you’re at it, if you’re exercising at a gym, take a pack of Lysol wipes to wipe down handles of machines and weights (before AND after use!) because sweat and warmth are a playground for germs!
4. Get your ZZzzzs
This is my youngest daughter getting hers J
This is definitely an area I need to work on because I KNOW I don’t get enough sleep (caffeine is my friend). Strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs it not only to boost your immune system but also to help your muscles recover from your workouts.
5. Avoid ramping up too soon – AND taper when you have a big race coming
Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10-15% each week while training for a big race. If you are increasing your mileage then don’t increase your intensity (i.e. add speed training) – just do one at a time. Take at least one rest day a week so your body can recover. Likewise, if you are tapering for a big race you’ll need more rest so that your immune system is ready for race day.
And lastly, as a healthcare provider I feel it necessary to remind you to see your doctor yearly for a physical!!! Health conditions can go unnoticed in your day to day life but your doctor is trained to look for things and you’d hate to find out the hard way that there’s something wrong – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
QOTD: What do you do to keep yourself healthy while training?