I love a good to do list. This might be because I know if I don’t write something down, I’ll likely forget it. Or, time gets away from me and I forget just how long it’s been since I last…
(Side note- I just created a ‘last time I…’ list when I realized how long it had been since I switched out my toothbrush. Yikes. Time is strange these days)
Why should running be any different?
The Runners To Do List
Here are a few things that should go on all runners’ to do lists.
Stretching shouldn’t only be a before or after a run thing.
Get in the habit of doing a short stretching or yoga routine every day. Just 5-10 minutes every day will make a huge difference to your mobility and your state of mind.
Drink lots of water everyday so your body is fully hydrated for the run and for life.
Regularly (After Every Run)
You know you should, but do you?
Warm up before every run – this doesn’t need to be anything involved or complicated. Before a run, I usually just walk for 5-10 minutes to warm up my body a bit before I start running.
If I’ve been sitting still for a long time, or the conditions are cold or inclement, some dynamic warmup movements may be in order.
Try this: How to Warm Up for a Run
Just like you shouldn’t go directly from real life to running, you shouldn’t go from running back to real life without cooling down.
Consider Your Run or Journal
Especially after long runs or while training for a race, spend a few minutes after your run to consider that run:
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- Is there anything about the run you learned that could/should impact your running or your training in the future?
Weekly (at least)
Aim for: 3-4 times a week
While yoga, stretching, and foam rolling are all specific things and play different rolls in keeping your body, muscles, and joints happy, for this purpose, I’ll lump them all together under the category of mobility work.
Pick one or two of the above (depending on your personal needs and preferences) and do them in regularly.
Aim for: 2-3 times a week
Strength work doesn’t have to be anything involved, just a few lunges and squats added in at the end of your run can make a huge difference.
But don’t forget your core and upper body. Both are easily overlooked by runners and play a huge role in keeping your running form strong, even as you fatigue.
Good for your body and your mind.
Keep your body active while you let the muscles that are worked (or overworked) while running a day off.
Plus, variety is the spice of life. It is good for the mind to do something different for a change. Just beware of activities with lots of lateral movements (think tennis or basketball), which can increase your risk of injury.
I’ll be honest: I hate massages and never get them.
However, many of my running friends swear by them.
If you don’t know if you are a massage person, try it out and see how it feels.
Quarterly or Semi-Annually
For me, I think of these to dos at the start of a training cycle.
Check in on your shoe usage: how many miles have you put on them? Go shopping, if necessary.
Do you have the right gear for the upcoming season? Rain coats, winter gear, or the right options for hot summer runs?
How is your sunscreen supply? You do wear lots of sunscreen on the run year round, right?
Just because X minutes/mile was your ‘tempo run’ pace last summer doesn’t mean it still is.
Depending on your training and your life, your training paces may need to vary.
Do a time trial and check what paces are right for you, right now.
Or, don’t use paces at all:
Goal Check In
What running goals are you working towards?
What steps are you taking regularly to accomplish those goals? Are you still on track to accomplishing your goals? If not, what steps should you take to get back on track?
What races do you want to do in the short and long term? What races are coming up? Do you have your training laid out for those races? Have you registered and taken care of other logistics?
Check-in with your doctor, chiropractor, nurse practitioner or other qualified medical professional.
This is just good life advice, and the bonus is you can finally ask about that niggle or issue that you’ve noticed on the run, but that is never quite bad enough to see a doctor about.