I had written previously about what's working in my running life. Here are a few more things since then that are helping me out, too.
#1 Eating well and adjusting my diet as needed
I've always said that I run so I can eat. This was especially true when I was losing my baby weight from Liam. This time around though, the weight is coming off slower, and I have diet restrictions since my gall bladder was removed. (There's a few things I can't eat at all and several things I have to keep at a minimum or I get sick.) The first time I ran the morning after a night of overeating unhealthy food was awful. I didn't last as long either. I realized I've got to eat well if I want to be able to run. I still have treats, but I'm motivated to keep them at a minimum and not to overeat.
About halfway through the summer, I started to feel sick more often. The heat was zapping me. I took more time off and hydrated more. I also realized I needed to up my protein. I'm eating tuna and Greek yogurt with almonds and drinking chocolate milk on running days. It's made a world of a difference.
Most importantly, I'm in a good cycle of eating and running. I eat well so I can run. I'm motivated to run because it's keeping my body in balance. I rarely get sick from food and feel healthier.
I'm still working on this one, but I'm realizing I need to do it.
I didn't run while I was on vacation. I planned to run; I even took my running stuff. It just didn't happen. We did a lot of walking and swimming, but I was nervous when we got back, and I only had one week until my next race. It worked out just fine though. I think my body needed a running rest. I took another week off when I got dehydrated. I'm taking days off now when I can tell my body needs to recover.
I'm mostly an all or nothing girl. I like to do something 100% or not at all. I'm trying to accept the fact that rest is part of the running journey. To be a 100%, I've got to rest. Without it, I won't be able to sustain my running.
#3 Taking care of those feet
I'm finding that my feet need support when I'm not running. If I'm doing housework or on my feet a lot, I really should wear my tennis shoes. If my feet hurt before I even start running, it's not going to be a good long run.
#4 Speed(ing) work (still)
Trying new speed work activities and running with fast people is what's helping me get quicker.
#5 Keeping at it
Rough runs are going to happen even on race days. My last race didn't set a PR, and it was pretty awful. I guess that's part of running though. Not every race can be record-setting. I've also been told by seasoned runners that training through the summer is going to pay off in the fall. I'm looking forward to that magical fast run in the fall weather!
#6 Looking for signs
Every time I reach a milestone on this running journey, I joke, "Another sign I'm a real runner now." It's encouraging when I'm sore and tired. Some signs for me: getting up at 5 AM to run isn't horrible (just hard now), running in the heat, keeping running clothes with me in case I get a block of time to run spontaneously, stress making me want to run, and getting excited about new speed work. What are some of yours?