Keep fit! Follow these 10 points, provided by the Hokkaido Marathon committee:
As I attempted the 2013 Hokkaido marathon, this past August, I was paging through the marathon’s program. So many moments living and running here in Japan, make me smile and this is a moment I wanted to share with you.
The 10 points—
01) Make a habit of eating nutritious food and sleeping well.
We write about this often and it’s an important part of your running life. When you eat well, your body is ready and charged for your next challenge, instead of trying to recover from lots of extremely processed or chemical laden foods.
The same for sleep. When is the last time you woke up after a solid 8 hours of sleep? You felt fantastic, didn’t you? Sleep provides hormonal balance, weight management and is a key to a long, healthy life.
02) Don’t smoke. Not much to add to that one…
03) Have an annual medical check-up.
Jannine wrote about how this helped diagnose one of her clients with an iron deficiency. A check up helps you with the unseen factors.This is something I need to get taken care of, too.
04) See a doctor for any lifestyle related conditions…not exactly sure on this one. Anyone else?
05) Train systematically.
This is vital for long term running success. Much like yoyo dieting, which we know is horrible for our bodies, yoyo running or exercising makes it difficult to achieve your potential. Every time you stop for a long gap, your body goes back into lazy mode. That next run back will be harder than it should be, which may drive you to throw in the towel. Instead of stopping (with injury exception), try to get some type of workout in every day. Yes, I said it. Some type of exercise every day or train systematically.
06) Wear clothes appropriate for the temperature and humidity and drink plenty of water.
So often at races in the fall and winter, I see runners overdressed for racing. Instead they are dressed to keep warm before the race. When it’s chilly, bring a 100 yen rain jacket or large bag to wear to keep your body heat in. Before the race starts, find a trash bin and strip down to your racing gear. Keep your body’s air conditioners cool, i.e. arm pits and top of your thighs. Think tank tops and running skirts or shorts.
And hydrate! We all know this one. Drink to keep your air conditioners working optimally.
07) Stop running immediately if you experience chest discomfort, have chest pain, break out in a cold sweat or feel light-headed.
These are warning signs that you may be having a heart attack. Although uncommon, it’s not unheard of either. The stress you are putting on your heart to perform at a higher level, may be too much for those with a undiagnosed heart condition, or extremely overweight and out of shape.
08) Take early measures against pain in the feet, knees and lower back.
If there is a little thing that hurts you at the beginning of a run, stop and fix it before it becomes a bigger problem, causing more pain later. This also speaks to doing core strengthening, as it’s all connected.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, anyone?
09) Have the courage to withdraw from the race if you feel unwell or may struggle to finish.
This is a tough one, no doubt. Some of us feel you should finish no matter what, others of us feel that it’s okay to quit and try again another day. I can tell you I have done both and feel great about both decisions.
During the 2012 Hokkaido marathon, temps soared to a very sunny 85 degrees with about 99.9% humidity. I ran by runners who were sitting on the side of the road and by mile 20, I started walking, wanting to quit too. Instead, my fellow WOOTer and dear friend Amy, stopped with me and told me to keep going and reminded me that I could do this. So I kept on and finished and although it was one of my slowest races, I am proud that I finished.
This year, temps started in the high 70s with a big sun beating us down again. Around the 15 mile mark, the clouds rolled in and thunder rolled (no rain, though until mile 26.19!). At the 40km mark, I saw that I was not going to hit my A time goal, so I had a mini-breakdown and started sobbing and walking. The crowd was incredible, cheering me on to finish. No one realized why I was crying, they just wanted me to finish my goal.
10) Learn how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
This point works for all aspects of our lives, from our family to friends and work and play. It’s a skill you pray you never have to use, but thank God that if you must, that you did.