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Light Your Fuse! The Little Things That Make a Big Difference in Running

Posted by Tim Catalano on Jan 3, 2018 2:42:50 PM

Dynamite sits quietly until it meets a match. Lighting the fuse is a little thing that releases the explosive potential hidden inside the dynamite. Sometimes little things can make a big difference.

How do you light the fuse in your running? Can doing a few little things release an explosion of potential hiding inside of you? Try adding a few of our favorite “little things” to your running this week. You will be surprised at the tremendous difference they can make.

happy runner

Adam’s 5 Favorite Little Things:

1. Get more sleep: Depending on your schedule, get to bed a half-hour early, or take a 45-minute nap after a hard workout.

2. Visualize your goals: On many runs your mind is free to wander. Use this time to see yourself running strong and achieving your goals.

3. Use power words: Pick a word like “Strong” or “Believe.” Practice saying this word in your mind during workouts when you need to pick up the pace. Use this same word during difficult moments in your race and feel the energy it brings.

4. Say your goals out loud: Tell everyone who cares (and even some people who don’t) what you are going to do in your next race. The more often you say it and the more people who know it, the more likely you are to accomplish it.

5. Drink a protein shake: After a hard workout or long run, drink a protein shake, or even some chocolate milk, to help speed up your recovery.

Tim’s 5 Favorite Little Things:

1. Use positive self-talk: Constantly tell yourself, “I feel good. I am strong. I can do this.” Keep focused on positive thoughts and do not allow negative ones to enter your mind.

2. Enter a BIG race: Having a goal or something to train for gives a purpose to your training and a deadline to be in the best shape possible.

3. Get a GPS watch: Go for round numbers to increase your mileage. For example, if your GPS says you have run 8.6 miles when you finish your loop, run another .4 to make it an even 9 or even 1.4 to make it 10!

4. Smile when it hurts: The mind/body connection is very powerful. When a race or workout starts to get tough, let a genuine smile spread across your face. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.

5. Celebrate every victory: Whether it is a new PR, or just finishing the longest training run of the year, it is time to celebrate! Go out for your favorite dinner. Call your mom with the good news. Treat yourself to a new song on iTunes. Just do something to celebrate!

These are just a few of the little things we use to help light our fuse. Of course none of these are a substitute for normal training and hard work. The more miles and work you put into your training, the bigger explosion you will get when you light the fuse by adding the little things!

We also polled our Facebook fans, asking them: “What is the smallest thing you can do that can make the biggest difference in your running?” Here are just a few of their good suggestions:

runners staying positive

Melissa Miller: Loosen my laces. No more shin splints.

Sabrina Ivory: I now drink chocolate milk after my long runs ... speeds up my recovery big time!

Nicole Rose Scott: Slowing down on my ‘easy’ runs.

John Ehntholt: Stopped comparing myself to others.

Jennifer Gatz: I embraced the pain of fatigue, learned how to push through.

Troy Vaupel: Compression socks, post-run.

Brett Grothouse: I’ve stopped training and started running. I’ve come to realize that race results don’t make nearly as much of a difference in my life as the things I learn about myself along the way.

Emily Kathleen: Running with a group instead of by myself has changed everything for me. It made me a better runner, but the therapeutic effect of talking, sharing, and being surrounded by like-minded friends makes me a better person.

Dave Sabol: Either moving to a more minimal/less drop shoe or being extremely disciplined about stretching every day, whether I run or not.

Melissa Rinchiuso: Signing up for more races, the more excited I get about upcoming events the more excited with running overall I am.

Larry Gonzales: Friended “Run The Edge” (This one is our favorite!)

Jose Renero: Double-knotting my shoelaces!

Marjolein Baas: Smile, and thank myself for running, since it makes me feel happy!

Andrea Kassai: Strengthening my core. Just spending 30 minutes a day, mostly doing planks, my running has changed a hundred percent.

Margaret Kaneko: Look straight ahead instead of looking down.

Anthony Romano: Slowed down when I am suppose to run slow.

Jon Ashworth: Rest and recovery!

Myrian Cavalli Fontan: Believe in myself!

Erin Elizabeth Miller: Run slower on long runs.

Cait Chock: Keeping up on when to update my running shoes and adding inserts.

Jeanette Lopatka: Took smaller strides — like a marathon runner, as opposed to a sprinter stride.

Anna Souzis: Keep my shoulders relaxed. After running for a while, it doesn’t hurt as much if you keep them relaxed instead of letting them tense up.

Mollee Huisinga: Made goals.

Wendy Ricci: I finally believed I could.

What little changes have you made that have made a big difference in your running? Which of the suggestions above would you try?

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