Before you even go near your runners and jump head first through the gym doors, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: Why are you doing it? What do you want out of it? How is it going to fit into your daily routine? Once you have an idea about what you want to achieve, you can set some SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) goals so you have something to aim for. If you know what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by, you have that extra motivation to push yourself that much harder.
Sleeping is like plugging your phone into the charger: It recharges your body, gives it time to update and perform repairs on anything that’s damaged. If you don’t get enough shut eye, your body’s battery will slowly run further and further down until you have nothing left. It is hugely beneficial for a plethora of reasons including; improving your productivity at work or whilst studying, maintaining a healthy immune system, ensuring you have enough energy to run as far and train as hard as possible and reducing your risk of sustaining an exercise-related injury. Each individual’s sleep requirements are different, so someone might only need 6 hours sleep to function properly and the next person might need 10. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep for YOU.
If you want to perform well, you need to make sure you have the energy stores in your body to draw on when the going gets tough. Carbs get a bad rep but they are the primary source of energy for your body and are essential to load up on before a workout.
Protein provides the building blocks for new muscle to form allowing you to become bigger, stronger and faster. To optimize your muscle’s growth and repair and overall effectiveness of your workout, you should already have protein in your system prior to a exercising to ensure it’s readily available once you’re done.
Eating immediately before any type of exercise is not recommended (unless you don’t mind the taste of it coming back up), so make sure you’re eating your last main meal at least a couple of hours before your workout. If you’re a morning exerciser, have a small breakfast and a snack rather than a full English breakfast!!!
If you’re anything like me and you start sweating even thinking about exercise, let alone 30 minutes into a run, take note! Sweating is one of your body’s key strangulation strategies (stops you from overheating) and without it our body would start to shut down in the middle of an exercise session, which would be pretty inconvenient to say the least. The harder you work, the more heat energy is produced by your muscles and the more sweat you will produce. Some of the WAFL players I worked with during the year were losing between 1-2 liters of water per hour during their pre-season games.
To ensure your body can effectively keep your core temperature down and allow you to work out harder for longer, you need to be fully hydrated in the lead up to a session. Most people will have learn the hard way that sculling a bottle of water prior to running isn’t such a great idea, so to reach optimal hydration levels you need to up your drinking the day before. In the hour before a workout you shouldn’t be drinking more than a glass of water otherwise your stomach won’t have time to process it.
As a basic rule, if your urine isn’t clear in the lead up to a big workout, you simply haven’t drunk enough water.