Runners dread the plateau. That period where just nothing seems to work, and you’re left searching for a change to move in the right direction.
Reflecting back on what actually makes the most different in running performance, I came up with these as my top 10 running game changers–the areas that make the most difference.
I’m going to talk about my beloved Newtons right now, but I know there are plenty of other sneakers that promote forefoot running. I just happened upon Newtons back in the day when they were at the forefront and have been in love ever since.
If I never switched to Newtons, I don’t know if I’d still be running today. I know that sounds exaggerated (and it might be slightly), but that is how I feel. In my pre-Newton days, I ran in Nike Pegasus (we’re talking like 6 years ago). They were a cushy, stability shoe, for my over-pronating ankles. So I trained for my first marathon, continually jamming my heel into the pavement.
I wasn’t using my actual feet and ankle area muscles at all. Just relying on the shoe to do all the work left me injured and ill-prepared for my first marathon. It was a great learning experience.
Newtons were these brand new, colorful line of sneakers sold at our local running store. Although the flashy colors drew us in (my husband and I), the focus on proper running form sold us.
For someone who loved to be barefoot all the time, Newtons were perfect. The tutorials on form taught me to activate muscles I had all but shut down in my cushioned shoes. I’ve been strong, fast, injury free–and a loyal Newton runner ever since!
More Newton love stories here
Although I strength trained primarily during college, I stopped when I started running. Recently, I’ve rediscovered my love for strength training, and also the benefits it has to me as a runner at this point in my life. After kids my core was destroyed, and I suppose I’ve done a good job building it back up, but I am always a work in progress! Weighted squats, burpees, and planks are some of my standards.
These are some great workouts I rely on to keep me strong
Something I don’t often talk about here, but weight does make a difference when running. I can feel just 5 pounds, and prefer to be at ‘racing weight’ when possible. This of course ties into nutrition.
Run With Purpose
When I started running, I thought there were two types of workouts:
1- running during the week
2- long run on the weekends
And I wondered why I never progressed! The best eye-opening book I read was Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster (affiliate link). I wasn’t actually looking to run less, but the 3 day per week, run with purpose plan fit my life completely and just made sense. The three core workouts balance the areas the body needs, and is completely adaptable to any level at any distance.
Check it here for a more in depth review
Something I’ve grown to love over the last couple of years since I rarely get it! Sleep not only is a cozy, quiet time to cuddle up, but those hours are when your body has a chance to repair the damage done. If you’re not getting enough of it, your body will not be able to perform to its full potential.
My rule of thumb in the ‘diet’ department is to eat clean. Clean power foods for me include lean protein like chicken (or vegetarian protein sources), quinoa, tons of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats. Meal prep will make or break my nutrition goals since I work full time during the week!
This is one of my absolute must-haves
We have no control over this one, but it definitely is a game changer! Heat and humidity, or even snow and ice, will severely impact your performance. Since mother nature doesn’t care about your ‘A’ race, there’s no choice but to accept it and move on!
They say the body achieves what the mind believes. Running is already hard, and running without motivation is just plain painful. Stay motivated by taking time to reflect on your goals, and even take some time off if necessary. The reignited drive to succeed can be just what you need sometimes!
Running is undoubtedly hard on the body, and without proper recovery, goals can be a lost cause. Taking care of yourself on the inside and out is crucial after every run.
Check out these recovery essentials
What’s been a game changer for you?
Welcome to our Wild Workout Wednesday link up! Each week I link up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub, and Nicole at Fitful Focus to bring you workout ideas, motivation, inspiration and recipes to try. Join us for a wild workout each week by reading along or grab the button and link up if you have a fitness or healthy living post to share!
Linkup below if you have a workout, fitness find or healthy recipe to share! Just make sure to link back or grab the badge and we will make sure to spread the inspiration around 🙂
Also linking up with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday!
Stay in touch!