How to improve your general fitness and run better

8 tips to achieve and maintain a good level of general wellbeing: something everyone can try, especially anyone who wants to improve their running

Improving your running performance is not just about speed. It’s also about your method, approach, and attention to details that at first may not appear relevant to your training. Many studies have been carried out to understand how to improve general fitness (and therefore running performance). Putting these tips into practice is the first step towards running even greater distances.

Vitamin D

There are many vitamins and minerals that runners should ingest regularly in their daily diet. Vitamin D is one of the most important. High levels of vitamin D improve our body’s maximum capacity to consume oxygen relative to muscle contractions: a good indicator of your fitness level. Vitamin D levels between 20 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL is considered normal. Values below 12 ng/mL are suggestive of vitamin D deficiency. To be sure you have enough vitamin D, in addition to spending time outdoors in the sun (wearing sunscreen), try incorporating egg yolks and fatty fish into your diet.

Protein

In addition to your training program, what you eat is also important. In particular, how much protein you consume. The suggested amount of protein intake is 1.8 grams per kg of body weight. Foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, and beans are all good sources of protein that can improve your physical wellbeing and running performance.

Iron

You have probably heard people talk about the importance of iron, but you may not know why it is important for runners. In fact, this mineral is indispensable for runners (and all athletes in general) because it provides energy and is essential to replenish oxygen in your muscles. Foods such as clams, red meat, white meat, fish, eggs, raisins, wholegrain cereals, spinach, and legumes are all good sources of iron that you can make a regular part of your diet.

Snacks

It’s not true that snacking is never a good idea. Having a little ricotta 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed can help restore your muscles while you sleep. Stronger muscles mean you can run faster for longer.

Sleep

We strongly advise sleeping between 7 and 9 hours without interruption. In addition to providing rest and recovery, 8 hours of consecutive sleep help combat dehydration. Being dehydrated can affect your cognitive and physical performance, leaving you with less energy for running.

Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A cappuccino and brioche bun are not the best way for a runner to start the day, but a breakfast rich in carbohydrates and protein (and fats, for example on toast) is the best way to prepare the body for a workout first thing in the morning.

Motivation

How to the great champions like Eliud Kipchoge or Marcell Jacobs win races? Of course they train, but they also have great mental strength and self motivation, which come into play when the going gets tough. Concentrating and focusing on your breathing, visualising your movement, and recalling phrases that motivate you are essential tools that amateur runners can use to improve their performance.

Running

Running regularly can benefit multiple aspects of your life, improving your mood and relieving mental stress. Running regularly, month after month and year after year will increase your heart and lung capacity and keep your muscles in good shape, typical of people who might even be several decades younger than you.

Not just running

There’s more to running well than just running. Your everyday diet will determine how certain physical traits develop. And the different musculoskeletal groups that are not directly involved in running also need to be strengthened, especially as you get older. Doing cross-training and bodyweight exercises with equipment at home or at the gym are ways to look after all aspects of your physical fitness.

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