Get More Sleep
When it comes to recovery, the most important thing is sleep. That’s the time when we rebuild muscle, inflammation subsides and our minds get some respite. So turn off that Netflix marathon and head to bed for 8 hours of kip a day.
Most folks say they want to run more miles, but I reckon in the first instance, you’re generally better off focussing on making better use of the kilometres you do run, rather than trying to add extras. That can come later. Get rid of the junk miles and be as specific as you can.
Have Regular Massage
Like sleep, massage plays a big role in recovery and injury prevention. If you can afford the time and money, a fortnightly hard rubdown will make a big impact on your training and injury mitigation.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Most of us get a little niggle and figure “She’ll be right!” and continue training as normal or slightly modifying things so you can still get your daily running fix. However, this often results in not only having an injury hang around longer, but getting a lot worse. So as soon as something doesn’t feel right, see an appropriate medical professional for advice and take a couple days off.
You don’t need to obsess over your eating habits, but where possible, try to avoid eating to excess, processed sugars and junk food. It’s also wise to eat as fresh a produce as you can, only a few serves of meat a week and ideally plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Drink Less Alcohol
This is a no brainer. A glass of red of an evening is ok, but if you find yourself knocking over half a bottle then you might want to cut back. While I certainly don’t practice what I preach, I advise runners to drink the least amount of alcohol possible, and try to have two alcohol free nights per week as a minimum.
Do Some Strength Work
Instead of running more, pop some heavy lifting into the regime. Apart from increasing power, speed and endurance, weights can also reduce your risk of injury. Get yourself a runner’s specific program and aim to develop power, rather than doing high amounts of reps.
Encourage Others to Take Up the Sport
There’s nothing better than sharing the journey with others. Having folks to train alongside, travel to events with and to help with motivation, makes the experience more enjoyable. So invite friends along for a run and try to instil in them the running addiction.
Try New Things
It’s always good to mix things up a little in both the training you do and the events you participate in. If you normally do ultras, why not give a short race a go? If road running is your thing, then pop a trail race into the mix. Think you’re a flatlander? Try including a mountain race in your calendar. Apart from keeping your mind fresh and giving you some different training and racing stimulus, you may just surprise yourself and run a blinder!
Regularly Update Shoes
Old shoes can be a major cause of injuries or general muscular/tendon fatigue that makes running unpleasant. While shoes can be expensive, so too will regular visits to physios or other medical professionals to fix problems. So where possible, try to get new shoes every 600-800km, and in an ideal scenario, have a couple pairs on rotation.