As an athlete, you know that getting to the next level requires year-round dedication and commitment. But constantly pushing your body and mind can leave you feeling a little beat.
You’re not alone. Many athletes battle against that feeling of burnout—even at the elite level. Just ask Olympian Kara Goucher, one of the top pro distance runners in the country.
In her new book, Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons [Simon & Schuster], the 10K World Champ bronze medalist details the setbacks and triumphs of her running career, mixing in lessons learned and insights gained from her experiences along the way.
Whether you’re a newbie with a dream or a veteran looking to achieve more athletically, Goucher's book is the ultimate resource for female runners. Each chapter breaks down key aspects to help you get the most out of the sport. Topics include:
Staying Motivated: Ways to incorporate running into a busy schedule; attainable goal-setting; avoiding running ruts.
*Tip from Goucher: Find a running buddy. She says, "My running benefits the most when I share intense competition and support with another woman." Goucher trained for awhile in Portland, Ore. with marathon great Paula Radcliffe.
Training: How to maximize your workouts; breakdown of easy, long and tempo runs; the value of speed work and hills; how cross-training improves flexibility, strength and overall running performance.
*Tip from Goucher: Skip a day occasionally. She says, "When most runners aren't feeling well, and every run seems hard, they think they're not doing enough running. But it could be they're doing too much."
Staying Injury-Free: How to cope with running injuries; types of training surfaces that minimize risk of injury.
*Tip from Goucher: Be careful with your knees. "Do exercises to strengthen your quads. Squats are good; Squats on a downward-sloping board or hill are even better, as they isolate the inner part of the quadriceps, which is notoriously weak—and a weak quad allows your knee to get out of alignment. Inevitable result: pain, inflammation, time off from running."
Nutrition: Detailed healthy eating plans and fueling strategies for training and racing; recommended vitamins and supplements.
*Tip from Goucher: Consider taking extra iron. "As a woman runner, you are more prone to low iron than male runners. If your workouts and/or races suddenly drop off a cliff in terms of performance, that's a clear sign that you may need a simple blood test for iron."
Racing: Pre-, during and post-race goal-setting tips and race strategy advice.
*Tip from Goucher: Get active with your arms. "A more active arm swing and a slightly exaggerated, 'snappy' knee lift will help propel you up big hills. On steep descents, try lowering your arms a little bit and holding them slightly wider to provide better stability."
*Tips reprinted with permission from Kara Goucher’s Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons
Photo: Simon & Schuster