A blog by runners. For runners.

6 areas runners neglect

6-areas-runners-neglectRunning is one of the best things we can do for our health and wellness. However, if we don’t watch it, the sport can take over our lives and negatively impact our health — physically and emotionally. Thing is, we might not even realize it when we’re in the trenches of, say, a demanding marathon training schedule.

Check the following areas in your health/life to see if you might need a balance check.

Between blisters, bunions, cracked heels, and weird toenail issues, our feet can surely get ugly. There’s a difference between surface or cosmetic issues and those that might require attention, like fungal infections. Be sure to pay attention to aches and pains, too. Overuse injuries start small but can mean big changes (or breaks) from training. After all, each stride begins with a toe-off.

Most of us log the majority of our miles outdoors. Aside from our feet and legs, our skin takes the brunt of the punishment. During the summer months, I’d like to claim I’m diligent about sunscreen. Truth is, I could do much better. Winter up north can be deceiving, but unless it’s dark outside — the risk is there. No matter the time of year, protecting skin is important and often neglected by the best of us. Here are some savvy tips to keep safe.

Social lives
During particularly difficult training seasons (yes, marathons, I’m looking at you!), I can get pretty wrapped up in all things running and forget much else, including my social calendar. Fostering relationships within the running community — and beyond — is important too! So, surely pencil in those long runs and track workouts. Plan for them accordingly, but also make time to spend time with friends, family, and significant others doing non-running things, like catching a movie and a slice of pizza.

General health
As runners, we’re ever-conscious of the weather forecast, how our legs feel, and what’s marked on the training plan. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen friends or fellow joggers slogging through a chest cold that eventually turns into something much worse. Or running through an injury and eventually burning out — I see that one a lot. It’s important to get in those key runs, but not at the expense of your general health and well being. If you’re sick, rest and recover. If you’re injured, get the help you need and rehabilitate. It sounds simple, but it’s hard for even the best of us.

Other interests/hobbies
Yes, running is a hobby. But there’s nothing more boring than logging long miles with someone who only talks about running. Even if that “person” is yourself and that “talk” is all in your head. Broaden your horizons  and pick up a book, some knitting needs, a paintbrush, or even a spatula. Not only will these activities make you more well rounded, but they will also give you some social fuel. Oh, and you’ll have fun stuff to fall back on if you’re injured and have to take time off from running. It happens, and it’s better than sitting idly on the couch.

Upper body
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve horrible at balancing out my athletic pursuits physically. I often skip over core and upper body strengthening exercises, leaving my lower half super strong and the top, well, not. Runners can benefit from taking the time to do simple pushups, core exercises, and even free weights that target the arms, back, chest, etc. Anything and everything that focuses the areas we neglect while running. It might not seem like a worthwhile activity at first, but your form will improve, you’ll have less aches and pains, and you’ll get fitter overall.

Written by  Ashley Marcin.