5 Things I Do Every Day To Make Myself A Better Runner

We all know that running gives us time to think and lately, since I have been running on the treadmill, I find I have even more time to think ( I do not know why this is but it’s how I feel).

My runs feel even stronger than normal these days and although I think the treadmill has something to do with it, I also came up with this interesting list of other things I do everyday that help make myself a better runner.

5 Things I do Everyday To Make Myself a Better Runner

1.Eat Mindfully

No no no, I haven’t succumbed to the January health hoopla way of speaking. My idea of eating mindfully is a little different from the average eat mindfully chatter.

What I mean is, I pay attention to what I eat and what I need to eat in order to run and recover to then run again at my best. It’s not about calories or watching what I shouldn’t eat, it’s about eating enough before my run and then eating enough and fairly quickly after my run. It’s about paying attention to my appetite and eating more/less depending upon how hungry I am throughout the day. It’s about ignoring the clock and having lunch at 10:30 if that’s when I want to eat.

It’s about having some extra banana slices in my oatmeal if I am craving them OR if I feel crampy in my calves, not worrying about the calories but focusing on the possible need for potassium to help ease and relax the muscles. Food is fuel and medicine too ya know.

It’s also about eating chocolate cake when you really feel that nothing else is going to do the trick, knowing that the next run you have will show it’s appreciation in its splits from the nice jolt of chocolate and the food that fed your soul.

chocolate cake

2. Hydrating throughout the day, not just during a run

If you ask me, waiting to hydrate yourself during a run or a race is too late. I personally feel that your hydration needs to be your focus all day, every day and especially in the days before a race. If I am not properly hydrated before a run, nothing I attempt to drink during a run is going to save me and I will feel the effects in the hours after my run too.

I have always been a water drinker but I find I feel my most hydrated and balanced electrolyte-wise when I eat watermelon so lately, even though it’s not summer fruit season, I have been filling up on the water–packed fruit, even eating it in my car (I don’t like to eat in my car!).


3. Wash and hang dry my workout clothes

I am not the person you want doing your laundry but I am slowly (and I mean slowly considering I am 37) getting the hang of this laundry stuff. I spend good money on my workout clothes which means I must treat them right if I want them to last and always feel and fit like new. If my workout clothes don’t fit right, I cannot run well.

I take the time to hang dry each piece so that they don’t shrink in the dryer or lose the sweat-wicking abilities in the fabric.

workout clothes

I have also found that drying them ever so nicely on a drying rack helps to keep the mildew smell that can form if not air-dried properly.

4.  Allow myself to rest

In addition to a good night’s sleep, I force myself to rest. To sit on the couch. To be lazy. In a world that is hyper-focused on step counts and fitness gadgets that buzz us to keep moving, I am rebelling against it all by allowing myself to put my feet up.

I cannot do it all. I cannot run a bazillion miles and continue to step count my day away. Of course I try to move and walk during the day rather than sit in front of the computer for hours but I also need to rest.

It’s okay to sit on the couch and watch television at night like a lazy lump without lifting a limb. If I were to keep walking in circles to meet step counting requirements (who even thought about such a thing before we had gadgets to track our every move?) I would probably be too tired in the morning for the run on my schedule.

5. Do other things

And I don’t just mean cross training here. Running is my favorite form of fitness, a fixture in my morning routine and my hobby. However, it does not define me, it is not what I am all about.

There is so much more to me than running (I wrote a post about this topic here).

I love talking to you about running, calling my dad in the morning to chat about my splits but that’s just about it. Although writing about healthy living and fitness is a part of my job (which I love!) I do not talk or think much about my own running during the day. There is so much more to life than the activity I choose as exercise, you know?

I think that focusing on who else you are as well as a wide range of other interests and hobbies (chatting and spending time with family and friends, dining out, baking, shopping, going to hockey games etc.)  helps to keep a balanced attitude to everything else in life and also helps to limit the chance for burnout.

I also think that the less time I spend thinking about or talking about running, the more likely I am to feel refreshed and excited about my upcoming workouts.

thinking out loud

5 things I do every day to make myself a better runner #running #thinkingoutloud #runner #fitfluential @runwithspoons Click To Tweet

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today 🙂


What are some of your other hobbies aside from running?

What drinks/snacks hydrate you the best? Are you a Nuun drinker? Which flavor?

Are you good at doing the laundry?

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  1. says

    I’ve always loved your approach to running… especially because it includes chocolate cake 😉 And you know I’m with you on #5! I think it’s great to have something that you’re super passionate about, but to keep in mind that it doesn’t define who you are. I think a lot of people seem to make that mistake, which is what makes getting an injury THAT much more difficult for them.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…like a kid in a candy store, banana science, and temptation bundling (ToL #166)My Profile

  2. says

    PREACH to this. Running isn’t just about running–yes, there are always things that we can improve on the run, but running is just as much about everything else. When I wrote the “Why All Runners Should Learn about Marathon Training Plans” post, it made me think about just that–that those types of training plans emphasize just as much what you do away from your running shoes as in them!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…The Moral of That Story is…My Profile

  3. says

  4. says

    Love all of these! #1 is me especially—I eat based on how fuels my running and makes me feel my best. I think I have the same drying rack, and with two runners/hikers in the house it is probably the best housekeeping item we own.
    And yes, we should have other hobbies! I love cooking, hiking, traveling, reading, history, and craft beer.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Yoga Poses for Stronger Running Form {Sublimely Fit}My Profile

  5. says

    All of these are so critical. It took me a long time to get to the point where I eat to live for real – as in, eat when I’m hungry and when I need to, in order to live like my best self. And to allow myself to rest rather than walk some more when I already went for a run and ate the fridge!
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…Finding My Balance With FoodMy Profile

  6. says

    Love these things. The mindful eating is so so important – sometimes I’ll be so ravenous on a rest day but I know my body needs that extra fuel. And hydration? I just keep drinking throughout the day because I know that I need it. And just.be.lazy. SO true.

  7. says

    I am way more intentional about drinking water lately. I love Nuun too, especially the kind with a bit of caffeine in it.

  8. says

    I am in a constant state of semi dehydration. I am truly awful about it. Most of my morning runs are done without so much as a sip of water before hand. I just cannot break the habit. When I get my remicade infusions (IV meds for my Crohn’s) I have to remember to hydrate for several days prior or else my poor veins go into hiding, I usually have them hang an extra bag of saline just to help me hydrate!
    I miss having laundry at home, I send mine out and am wayyy too lazy to separate what they should have dry.
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted…Half Marathon Training: 1/11/16 – 1/17/16My Profile

  9. says

    I love your, ‘doing other things.’ It’s so important for me to not be hyper-focused on my running but to still structure my day, nutrition, and hydration around fueling for the BEST run possible. And the laundry one is not something that I do often enough, and I think I wear my workout clothes out faster by drying them in the dryer.
    Emily recently posted…Recovery Series: One Day At A TimeMy Profile

    • says

      I do better drinking water when I am not home and when I worked outside of the house! I think it’s because I always packed a ton of water for the day and made sure I drank it. So, I would suggest bringing it with you. If you don’t have it, you can’t drink it.

  10. says

    Aside from cleaning from sweaty clothes, I feel like I’m doing all of these things right now to get through this pregnancy and still be healthy. We’ll just replace that one with lounging in my pimp suit (also known as my velour sweat suit). 🙂

    Good advice for many situations.