Opinion: How You Can Quickly Become The Best Runner You Can Be: Advice From A Varsity Cross Country Athlete

Improving at running can be a challenge. It can be difficult to beat your personal time. It can feel like you are plateauing with your skills. I know this to be true from experience. But I have learned that there are simple tricks you can use to get better fast!

My first trick and I know that you might groan, is to have a positive attitude. If you are stepping on the starting line with thoughts like "I'm going to do bad today" or "That person is going to beat me" then it will happen! By fueling your brain with thoughts like "I'm going to do my best" and "I am strong" than it will help you. Step out of that negative mindset.

Next, be consistent. Develop pre-race and post-race rituals and habits so that your races are more consistent. For example, don't try a new food or stay up really late the day before a race. I find it helpful to have the same meal the day of the race that your body likes and go to bed at the same time. Though there are things you can't control, this is important.

Switch It Up
Even though it sounds like it contradicts the last one, switch it up. Not before a race, but with your workouts. If you do the same run every single day, then your body will get used to it and not improve beyond that. Vary your workouts with hills, long runs, speed work, intervals, upper body, strength, core, and fun workouts! Then you will be well rounded and ready for your race.

Set goals for yourself. If you just go into a race not really knowing why you are running, you will, in general, be less motivated. Your goal could be a certain time, beating a certain person, ranking well, or just feeling stronger in your race.

Set a plan. Write down when and where you are going to run weekly or monthly. Then you can hold yourself accountable and can mark down your workouts.

Take time to rest. Rest at least one day a week. For me, I prefer to rest on Sunday. If you are not resting, then your body will never have a chance to fully recover. Therefore you have a higher risk of getting injured. The most common running injuries are due to overwork. During your rest day, it is an awesome opportunity to stretch and roll out to recover more.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Your body is working so hard for you and deserves to be replenished. When you drink lots of water not just the day of a race but through out your week, your body is able to work faster and therefore you can run faster. This also goes with eating a healthy diet!

If you apply these tips, I promise you will see improvements in your running and strength!

The opinions of the stated author do not constitute an official position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District or of the LS News editorial board.

--By Grace Burdge, LS News reporter

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