Experienced runners weigh in on how to find longevity in the sport.
In The Long Run
Get enough sleep.“The average woman sleeps six hours and 45 minutes per night but needs seven to eight hours of sleep. For women who run, sleep is especially crucial for endurance, mental resolve and recovery. Adequate sleep aids rehydration and releases growth hormones to grow and repair muscles broken down during the day. And finally, a good night’s sleep is necessary for mental toughness and resolve required to complete those tough runs.” —Chris Brantner, certified sleep science coach at SleepZoo.com, runner
Fuel yourself appropriately. “Proper nutrition is critical to optimize performance, keep your immune system happy and keep you healthy in the long term! Focusing on nutrient-dense (that is, full of vitamins/minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber), unprocessed foods is a great place to start. Not only do whole foods fill you up without filling you out, they provide an abundance of health-promoting substances that benefit your body’s unique biochemistry. Fueling yourself with intention goes a long way in staying healthy for the long haul.” —Roxanne Vogel, sports nutritionist at GU Energy Lab
Wear the right shoes. “Having the right footwear helps to prevent injuries and keep you running. If you are a heel striker, then have shoes with more cushioning in the heel; if you are a forefoot striker, have shoes that help compensate for that. To help with this, have your gait analyzed by a trained professional. We all have different gaits and running styles—understanding your gait can help you take precautions to prevent injuries and stay on course.” —Alex Tauberg, D.C., chiropractor at Tauberg Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, certified strength and conditioning specialist
Find your community.“Surround yourself with the right people. Fuel yourself with relationships that build you up, and find a training partner—someone to keep you accountable and energized.”—Chris Gumbs, P.T., D.P.T., physical therapist, running specialist
Mix up your training. “I believe that at least 20 percent of your active time should be spent doing other active pursuits. I used to think that yoga wasn’t a workout because it made me slow down too much, and I needed to increase my heart rate and push with everything I did. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that it’s important to have days that are focused on moving in different ways. Today I do approximately 50 percent of my workouts running and hiking; the rest are in the weight room, walking, swimming, skiing, yoga or trying new sports like surfing!”—Nicole DeBoom, former pro triathlete, longtime runner, triathlon coach, founder of Skirt Sports