I’ve already started to see plenty of tweets and posts from others about the weather starting to cool off in their city. Although we have quite a while until that happens in Florida, it is smart to remember how to keep healthy as the seasons change. Even though running and regular exercise is an aid to help our immune system, it can actually harm us too. People that engage in long bouts of endurance exercise (cough – marathon training – cough) are more likely to catch colds when exercise sessions increase. This especially happens to me when I am travelling to another state for the race, and I ride on a plane (aka, my last 3 marathons!). To help keep myself well this training season, I am diligent about making sure I do the following things to stay in tip-top shape for race day!
1. Load up on Vitamin C
This is probably the most obvious tip that people think of. Rather than grabbing a glass of orange juice, get a box of Emergen-C. It has a yummy taste when added to water, and it has 1,000mg of Vitamin C in each packet!
2. Get adequate sleep
When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies don’t have enough time to repair the muscles that we have broken down, day after day by exercising. Our bodies do a lot while we are catching zzzz’s to help repair those muscles, so let it! If you can’t get in the right amount of sleep for your body, try going to bed earlier at night, or pushing that workout to the evening rather than the morning. Your body will thank you.
3. Immediately change out of those wet running clothes
I don’t know about you, but I tend to stay in my
drenched sweaty running clothes for a while after I am finished with my workout. I stretch, usually eat something, or just waste time. More often than not, I am pretty quick to just change out of my sports bra and top, so that I warm up and don’t have sweaty clothes sticking to me. When your body temperature goes back to normal in the cold A/C, that sports bra can send chills up your spine, and be another reason why you may catch an unwanted cold. And sure, you could always shower too…
4. Eat for your health
It is so easy to get in the mindset that you can eat anything during high endurance training. Now more than ever, it is important to truly fuel your body with the nutrients that it needs – fruits and veggies are all packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay strong and healthy. Of course, its ok to indulge too, just make sure to do so when you are not recovering from a hard workout, or you have a key long run coming up.
5. Skip a workout if it is necessary
Rather than just logging crappy miles when your body is broken down and exhausted, a) take the day off or b) cross train. There is not reason to push yourself when it is actually going to hurt you, rather than help you.
6. Limit alcohol intake
It is no surprise that alcohol suppresses the immune system. According to Livestrong.com, “Excessive alcohol can damage the immune system because the alcohol will prevent nutrients from feeding your immune system…With less than an optimal amount of oxygen, your organs and your immune system will not operate at peak efficiency.” And really, it isn’t something you really need to be partaking in when you are peaking in training anyhow. See #4.
7. Take your workouts inside
I am not a fan of the treadmill. I think my max distance that I have ever ran on a treadmill is probably between 6-8 miles. I would definitely rather run in the rain than be subjected to run indoors. However, when temperatures start to drop, it is not the smartest to brave the elements, so inside I must go! Just be sure to wipe off your equipment before and after you workout, since they could be a host to all kinds of germs!