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What you count as fun while running can be subjective. Maybe you need to leave the GPS behind and just enjoy the scenery, or maybe you need to try running in a group.

Regardless of whether you’re new to running or a seasoned veteran, everyone can benefit from mixing up their training a bit to help bring some fun back to a sport that we love so much.

Here are some things you can do to make your runs fun:

1. Run Together With Friends

Maybe a friend or a neighbor also goes running regularly, and wouldn’t mind joining you on your runs. You can join a training program as well, where you can find new running buddies. Running together with people that have similar goals and being a part of a larger running community can be fun.

Consider developing a hangout for your running buddies. You can decide to meet at a local area after your runs, so you can relax and hang out. You may also decide to meet for breakfast. Turning your daily run into a social event can help you enjoy it even more.

2. Running Events Can Be Fun

Running events like the 3M Half Marathon or the Austin Marathon are a fantastic way to bring some joy to running. Not only can you meet new people with a shared hobby, but you’ll also get to experience your own city (or destination cities all over the world) in a brand new way.

2022 3M Half Marathon Recap

3. Change Your Routine

Running the same route every day can get tedious. Instead, why not change up your routine, to make running more fun? Maybe you’re more interested in social runs, or you may prefer running alone. From time to time, switch up how you go running.

Run in different places, maybe even in the woods when you have time. Eventually, running the same route can start to feel stale. But consider also that you can explore new places while you run, which can make your daily runs a lot more fun.

Another way to change up your routine is to go running at different times of the day. If you usually go running in the mornings, then try going for a run after work.

4. Help Others Through Running

Some people need the help of a goal to start running regularly. This provides them with a sense of purpose. Consider running for charity or to raise funds. You can align yourself with your favorite organization, and the proceeds you raise from running will go to your chosen organization.

A fun way to dip your toe into this is by volunteering at a local running event. These events run on help from those in the community, and you’ll be doing a great service to your fellow runners which always feels good.

5. Gamify Your Run

You can download and have fun using running apps, and there are plenty to choose from. You can use apps to measure the number of miles you’ve run. You can also build a training log for yourself, and even keep track of your friends. Running apps can provide you with motivation, and also turn running into a social event.

6. Pay Attention to Your Body

The most important thing while running is to listen to what your body is trying to say to you. Don’t compare yourself to others who run more than you, or those who train hard every day. You need to run in a way that suits you. Listen to what your body wants to tell you, and take rest days when you feel it’s necessary.

When you nurture your needs and take care of yourself, all your runs will turn out to be more fun for you.

Giving birth to a baby is like no other experience in this world. It is highly gratifying to nurture a life inside you and then bring them into this world. Returning to running after pregnancy will require consideration of the demand your body has been through both emotionally and physically.

On the other, pregnancy also takes a heavy toll on you both physically and emotionally. The period that immediately follows childbirth (postpartum) can be equally taxing. Sliding back to normalcy and getting back into your previous running routine may take some time. 

Luckily, we’re here with some tips that may help get you back to training for a half marathon sooner than you think. 

Start slowly & be realistic 

Whether you are deciding to start training during pregnancy or after childbirth, the first thing you should do is discuss your plan with your doctor. For hassle-free pregnancies, your doctor may recommend weekly strength training or aerobic exercises. During the pregnancy/postpartum period, your body undergoes a lot of cardiovascular changes, resulting in more oxygen circulating through the body. This means your body is functioning more efficiently and you can use that to your advantage.

However, whether during pregnancy or postpartum it is important to keep the intensity level of your exercise in mind. When starting a post-baby workout, you’ll want to consider a few things: your level of activity before and during pregnancy, the type of delivery you had, and your overall health condition, both physical and mental. It is recommended you do not go into overdrive with your training schedule post-delivery. 

Brace yourself up for hormonal changes 

The increased release of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy (and also while breastfeeding) results in the pelvic floor becoming more relaxed. This, in turn, may also impact your ligaments and joints while running, increasing the chances of injury. It is, therefore, advisable to start with low-impact aerobic exercises followed by strength training. These will help strengthen your muscles and prep you for a better training regimen in the future. 

Eat a nutrition-rich diet

Try to incorporate food items that are rich in iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B, and D. These will help your body recover faster from both pregnancy and running. Iron and electrolytes are especially helpful in avoiding dehydration, and if you are breastfeeding they also help prevent a drop in breastmilk production. Here are some healthy and easy breakfast ideas that fit the bill, try them out!

Pay attention to your feet

Your earlier training shoes may not fit you anymore as you may have experienced swelling in your feet, and unfortunately in some cases, your feet will be permanently bigger. Consult a professional for an appropriate shoe size for your feet. 

Do not carry your baby on the same side of your body 

Make it a point to switch sides while holding your baby. Otherwise, when you start intensifying your exercise after delivery your lower back muscles may soon give up on you. This may lead to immense pain and suffering down the hip and the leg of the side you are most used to carrying your child on.  

Run with your baby 

Babies are usually able to handle a running stroller around 6-9 months of age. Once the baby’s doctor says it’s safe; by all means, you should take your baby with you while you are running! This is a great way to bond with your new child. Just be sure to buckle them in safely according to the standards of your running stroller. Head here for some helpful tips about running with a stroller. 

Manage your load

Before you start preparing for the marathon, walk for 30 minutes without any discomfort. Once you are comfortably walking at this pace and time increment for a few weeks you can then start slowly running. You may begin at low weekly mileage and then move up slowly. You may gradually increase your speed too once your pelvic and leg muscles are strong enough to absorb the load. 

 

By following the above guidelines, you will find yourself back to a normal training routine in no time. Just remember not to push yourself too hard; listen to your body, start slow, and stay hydrated. Through a healthy and productive training regimen, you’ll be back running a marathon in no time. 

Following GU’s nutrition planner can help you perform your best

You train for months to chase your 13.1-mile PR at 3M Half Marathon. All of your hard work leads up to Sunday, January 23rd. GU Energy Labs, the Official Energy Gel and Chew of 3M Half Marathon, is here to help you perform your best! Their products are scientifically proven to give you the energy you need. Their on-course Nutrition Station will be near Mile 7.

GU will provide the following flavors of gels and chews on course: Salted Caramel (35 mg of caffeine) , Tri-Berry (35 mg of caffeine), Campfire S’mores (no caffeine) Chews Flavors: Strawberry Energy Chews & WatermelonEnergy Chews (no caffeine).

All aid stations will be stocked with water and Strawberry Lemonade nuun to keep you hydrated on course.

But it is not all about race day. What you do in the days leading up can also impact your performance on the course. Below we will provide some tips and information that you can do before the race.

Fueling Before Running a Half Marathon

During the week before you run a half marathon, you need to focus on both hydration and providing sufficient energy/fueling.  Your calorie intake will be higher than usual and you will increase your carb load. It is also important that you hydrate in the week leading up to race day. You can supplement your water intake with nuun hydration to make sure you are getting the electrolytes your body needs to be sufficiently hydrated come race morning.

When you combine carbohydrate loading and tapering your workouts, you can store more energy in your muscles which will give you more energy sources during your event.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that carb-loading begins one week before the event with another additional increase 1-3 days out. ” Increase your carbohydrate intake to about 8 to 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. Cut back on foods higher in fat to compensate for the extra carbohydrate-rich foods. Also, scale back your training for three to four days before the event. The combination of eating more carbohydrates and tapering activity appears to boost muscle glycogen stores.

For most athletes, 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily is right for general training. (Note that 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.) Endurance athletes may need up to 12 grams per kilogram.”10 Low carb hit SvV | Voedingscentrum | Flickr

To give you an idea of carb counts, these foods have 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • One slice of bread
  • One 6-inch tortilla
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 medium baked potato or sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup rice
  • One small apple
  • Two tangerines
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups green beans
  • 1 1/4 cup milk or yogurt

On race morning you will want to rise early so that you can eat at least 2-3 hours before your start time. This will allow you to digest and not have a heavy stomach. Oversleep? Don’t panic, go with a lighter meal with supplemented liquid or gel carbs.

On Course Fueling Advice & Half Marathon Nutrition Planner

Image of GU Energy Labs' half marathon nutrition plan. GU is the Official Energy Gel and Chew of the 3M Half Marathon. Click on this image to download the nutrition plan that can help you perform your best on race day.Here are some tips for making sure you’re giving your body what it needs so you perform your best on race day. Planning what to eat during a race can be overwhelming. With so many variables, it’s hard to determine what the “right” answer is for you. When deciding what to eat and drink, we think it’s helpful to break it down by looking at the nutrients your body needs.

A successful nutrition plan takes into account the number of calories your system can handle in an hour. It should also factor in your body’s need for electrolytes, amino acids, water, and protein. When thinking about your nutritional need for a race or training session, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. Every day is different. For example, body size, air temperature, activity type, intensity, and personal preference will affect your nutritional needs.

That’s why we recommend mixing and matching products to find out what works for you. For example, if you prefer to drink your calories, you can bottle up your fuel using ROCTANE Energy Drink. We developed a half marathon Nutrition Planner to help you dial in your plan for race day. We all know things can change on race day, but it helps to start with a plan! Download the Nutrition Planner and follow the steps below.

Here’s how to use our Nutrition Planner

  1. Pick your goal finishing time and find out what your average pace will be
  2. Use the table to determine your total nutritional need for the event
  3. Mix and match your favorite products and flavors, then calculate your totals
  4. Make sure your plan meets your body’s demand for each nutritional element