Maintaining your vitality when you are a runner

We talk about how recovery is the key to maintaining your vitality when you are a runner and training regularly.

Any running that you do should give you more energy and an increased vitality for life. If you are struggling to get out of the door and you feel you have lost your running mojo, that vitality is missing.

A lack of motivation for running can be caused by overtraining. It can also be caused by any life stresses that are affecting you. It is important to balance a busy life with any training you do. Running should help to relax you not add to the stresses you already feel.

Work with your body’s powers of adaption to train effectively and maintain your vitality.

Your Body’s Powers of Adaption

Your body is forever changing as your cells die and renew all the time. In particular, the energy factories or mitochondria in each cell are continuously renewing themselves. The majority of your cells will have renewed over the course of a year. It’s as if you get a new body every year! This means that the potential to change your body for the better is entirely with you. But how do you go about achieving a changed body in a year’s time? If you give your body a stimulus and then allow it to recover, it will adapt to make you stronger. It’s a three step process. Go for a run, recover and your body will give you back more. This is called supercompensation.

Tune into Your Body

Always listen to your body. If it is telling you it doesn’t want to go out for a run don’t blame a lack of motivation on your part. Look for a cause instead. Perhaps you have been running too fast or too often for your level of fitness. You might be fighting off an illness or simply be tired from life stresses. Don’t force your body to run. Instead go for a gentle jog, walk or take a rest day. Wait for the ‘spark’ to return.

Getting the Training Right

Once you tune in to what your body is telling you, you will be able to give it just the running stimulus it needs and know how much recovery to take before training again. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete training five or six times a week. You have the same body and it needs recovery time. A recovery day for an experienced athlete may be a gentle jog, as they have the ability to do more whereas a beginner may need several days off.

Give Supercompensation Time to Happen

If you train before you have recovered from your last run you will find yourself becoming more and more tired. This is because you have not fully adapted from the last session. Give it time, otherwise you will grind your body down and fatigue will lead to a loss of running mojo. Running will feel like hard work even though you are going at your usual pace.

Train Smart not Hard

It’s important not to fall into the trap of training hard all the time thinking that this is how to improve. Pushing your body to its limits is counterproductive. It only needs a small stimulus to for your body to adapt and become stronger. The bigger the stimulus the longer the recovery time required. Chatty running is all you need at first. Well timed sessions of faster running are effective for experienced runners accompanied by plenty of Chatty recovery running.

Signs Your Training Needs to be Smarter

You will know that you are not allowing your body to recover if you notice the following signs:

Your runs feel harder although you are going at your normal pace.

You do the Parkrun every week and your time is getting slower or it just feels harder.

You are loosing your running mojo.

If you notice these signs then don’t panic. Take a break, slow down, run Chatty for a while and let your body recover.

You can learn more about how to train Smart here.

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