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Get the most out of your upcoming training schedule with these self-care tips

A key to crossing the 2021 3M Half Marathon finish line and securing a new half marathon PR is to maximize your training. Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming long run or recovering from a speedy track workout, these 5 self-care tips will help you get the most out of your training! BONUS – we did some shopping for you and found some great deals on some of our favorite items.

5 self-care tips

Pay attention to your surroundings

We get it, we love listening to music during our runs and workouts too! That’s why we’ve built this massive #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist. But it’s imperative that runners pay attention to their surroundings. We like the Titanium Open Ear Headphones from AfterShokz because they allow for the best of both worlds. They allow you to jam out and hear what’s going on around you!

Wear headgear and sunglasses

Running with a hat and sunglasses can make all the difference. Hats can keep sweat out of your eyes and help your head stay cool. Sunglasses can help you see better by reducing that random glare and protecting your eyes from dust and other debris. We like Under Armour’s Launch Run Cap because of its breathability, keeping your head cool. Check out the Zone Sunglasses from Under Armour. They’re lightweight, wrap comfortably around your head, and have polarized lenses.

Image of female running listening to Aftershokz headphones while running. She can listen to music and her surroundings, an important self-care tip in this 3M Half Marathon blog.

Shorten your stride when running downhill

The downhill portion of your run is coming up and you’re ready to fly! But wait… don’t pick up so much speed that you lose control. You also don’t want to put unnecessary strain on your quads with the extra pounding. Shorten your stride and keep your feet underneath you. You’ll still pick up speed, but you’ll be in more control and will save your legs for the rest of your run. Pro tip: read more downhill running tips.

Hydrate

We know what you’re thinking, you hear this all the time. But it’s absolutely vital. Proper hydration provides energy for your muscles, helps you fuel better, and aids in recovery. Consuming 60-80 ounces daily is recommended. You should drink more if you’re more active. Don’t forget to include an electrolyte-enhanced drink. Water alone does not fully hydrate you! Check out Nuun and their rainbow of flavors. You simply pop a tab or two in your water and voila, you have electrolytes!

Foam roll

High mileage can take its toll on your body. You’re asking a lot from your muscles. Make sure you take proper care of them by foam rolling every day, even if it’s for a few minutes before bed. Setting aside a dedicated daily foam rolling session increases the chances that you follow through. Foam rolling can decrease injury risk and your recovery time, getting you ready for the next run. Set an appointment with Fleet Feet Austin today and check out all the different recovery options they have available.

Training has begun. Now it’s time to maximize your efforts so you can stay healthy. These self-care tips can protect you from the elements, speed up your recovery, and reduce your chances of injury. Is there a specific self-care tip that you use to maximize your training and prevent injury? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

These downhill running tips can save your legs

It’s no secret, running on hills is beneficial. You strengthen your lower body and your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Over time, running gets easier, allowing you to push your body further. You think hill workouts and your mind immediately goes to the uphill climb. But don’t forget, coming back downhill is just as important. Incorporate these downhill running tips to improve your form, become a better runner, and save your legs. With a ~300 ft. elevation drop from start to finish, this advice will benefit you at 3M Half Marathon.

Lean forward from your hips

Gravity naturally pulls you downhill (thanks Sir Isaac Newton!). Lean slightly forward from your hips, not your shoulders, to help maintain control of your body as you descend. If it helps, you can lean your shoulders back slightly, but not too much. This combination might feel awkward during your first couple of runs. Maintaining your center of gravity when running downhill will help avoid injuries and give your body a chance to recover from running uphill. Pro tip: engage your abs and glutes to provide extra control.

Use your arms for balance, not power

When running downhill, you don’t need the forward-back arm movement to generate power. That’s mainly used when running on flat ground and uphill. Take the above advice and partner it with your arms. As you descend, find the arm placement that best helps you maintain your balance. Your arms will naturally move back-and-forth, that’s okay. But remember that specific movement needs to focus on balance, not power.

Shorten your stride

As mentioned above, coming downhill doesn’t require as much power as going uphill. You need to alter your stride just like you altered how you use your body. Don’t overstride, you’ll overextend your body which forces you to lose control. Shorten your stride and keep your feet underneath you. You’ll feel like you should fly down the hill, but maintaining a controlled descent will benefit you during and after the race or workout.

Focus downhill

Focus beyond your feet. Continue to pay attention to your surroundings and the terrain, but don’t look at your feet. Doing so will disrupt your center of gravity and throw your stride out of sync. Adjusting your stride going downhill is designed to prevent injuries, maintain control, and allow for recovery. Looking at your feet leans your shoulders forward and disrupts your center of gravity. Then gravity takes over and you begin running faster, overextending your stride as you descend. Focus on what’s downhill and trust that your lower body will take care of you.