Runners exert a lot of energy on a regular basis. Running can be energizing and exciting, but it can also wear you out if you don’t take care of yourself. It is very important that runners take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. A have a few favorite self-care tips for runners to share with you.
I am a huge advocate of self-care. As a mental health advocate, I think self-care is critical for everyone. If you are not tending to your needs, you will inevitably burn out and crash at some point.
It’s like they say in the Flight Emergency Instruction videos – you must put your own oxygen mask on before you can put the oxygen mask on others. You need to take care of yourself so that you can be your best to take care of others!
Back in the day, I would de-prioritize self-care. I over-worked myself and didn’t get enough rest, and it affected my overall well-being. Over the last few years, I have definitely improved this. I now make self-care a priority! Even as I have transitioned into being a mom, I still make time for myself.
Here are a few of my favorite self-care tips for runners:
Make Rest Days Truly about Rest
I know from my own experience that running can be addictive, and once you feel that runner’s high, you can’t get enough! But it is important to make sure you are taking time to rest and let your body recover. Make your rest days truly about rest. It can be tempting to replace your rest days with some other form of intense exercise, but you’ll be able to perform better in the long run if you let your body rest.
Take a Warm Bath
This is something I don’t do enough. Taking a warm bath is a great way to relax and unwind. It is also a great reward for your running success. Studies show that you’ll get maximum benefits from the hot tub by soaking 36 to 48 hours after the run. By then, the inflammation is past and the increased blood flow will stimulate healing for your damaged muscles.
Stretching is a great way to loosen tight muscles and help your body to recover after a run. I always make it a point to do a stretching routine after I finish any run. I have found that when I stretch, I don’t feel as sore the next day. Here is a great 10 minute video that shows some basic stretches for runners. It is important that you warm up your muscles before stretching, you should never stretch cold muscles.
Hydration is super important for runners. Water delivers nutrients to working muscles and assists in temperature regulation. Improving your hydration will improve your running performance. It will also make you feel better and have more energy during runs. Drinking enough water is an excellent way to take care of your body and prepare yourself for optimum running performance.
Practicing mindfulness or meditation is an excellent way to calm your mind and ground yourself. I wrote a blog post about mindfulness a few months ago, where I shared about my favorite mindfulness app, Headspace. Even just 10 minutes of mindfulness per day can help improve your mood and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Mindfulness has definitely helped me, and I highly recommend giving it a try!
What is your favorite self-care habit?
My hot tub!
My massage gun.
these are definitely a few of things I do for self care as well. It is hard when you have younger kids but definitely gets easier as they grow up. Self care both mentally and physically is so important
Nice tips, Lauren!
It made me think about the last time I took a bath… it must be over 30 years ago!
My favourite self-care strategy is to curl up with a book and a glass of wine.
I have a hard time with rest days. I work 2, 12 hour shifts a week and use those as my rest days. It’s more of an active rest.
I do enjoy some time in my hot tub though.
The biggest thing I’m doing for self care right now is sleeping more. I can be really terrible about it, because I like staying up late but also like getting up early. But sleep is SO important. Lately I’ve been making it more of a priority.
Thanks for the tips!
It’s been a looong time since I took a bath! I used to take them all the time. Staying hydrated and resting are so simple but so important.
Rest is huge!! I totally agree that it can be difficult to dedicate that time, but it is so important for your running health and overall well-being!
Oh, these are all so important! I think most of us de-prioritize our own self-care, and it’s something I cld totally be better at.
I am really good about taking rest days. Sometimes I’ll strength train but I always take at least one day completely off. I need to be better at rolling and stretching though.
Sleep is the best form of self-care for me. I always feel much better after a good night’s sleep!