Pace Points: Making Strides with Healthy Habits

One of the things I love about coaching is watching the ladies and gentleman I run with week after week, mile after mile, transform from someone who is “just getting some exercise” or “trying to lose a little weight” into someone who is a passionate runner. I watch as their thoughts, actions, behaviors and habits switch from something they have to do into something they want to do – and not just in terms of running. I watch as everything – from eating to sleeping to other activities to what they read, where, talk about and watch – begins to revolve around how they can be a stronger, healthier, sometimes faster, smarter runner. It is so rewarding and amazing for me to witness and is one of the reasons I enjoy coaching so much. This transformation happened with me over two years ago now; and now watching another runner experience what I did brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart that inspires me time and time again in my own running journey.

Me & Judi getting ready to run with our group!

If you have been running for some time or maybe training for your first race, you are most likely realizing that running is much more than just exercise for your body. It truly is a positive lifestyle that filters into all aspects of your life, which is one of the things that makes running so enjoyable to so many people. Have you ever had a great run and it keeps you smiling for the rest of the day or night? Your thoughts, actions, attitudes and thoughts are all transformed into something completely positive and infectious to those around you.

As you keep running, you may even find that you are developing healthy habits that keep you running strong and healthy. Suddenly, everything you do in your day-to-day life starts to benefit you, the runner. Below are some quick tips that will help you continue to make the transition from a healthy runner to a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eat lean and green. Start feeding your body the heart-healthy foods it needs on a routine basis. Center your diet on whole grains, fish, lean meats, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. These foods will not only meet your basic nutritional needs, but will help your body recover from exercise.
  • Eat in moderation. Watch your portion sizes and eat five to six small meals or snacks a day, instead of three large meals.
  • Hydrate! Make sure you drink at least eight ounce glasses of water a day, although most runners choose to consume water continually throughout the day. Don’t wait until the night before your long run to chug water! Your urine should be pale yellow to clear if you are properly hydrated
  • Change your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Our shoes wear down over time and don’t provide the stability and support our feet need.
  • Stretch after every run. This is a habit we should all probably become more familiar with.
  • Take time to rest. Every training program should have a rest day in addition to two or three easy days (shorter, less-intense runs following harder efforts) each week. If you didn’t have a strenuous week, its okay to cross-train (go for a hike or swim, take a yoga class, or treat your dog to a long walk). However, if you’re coming off a high-mileage week, reward yourself with a day of total rest. Your body needs time to heal and recover!
  • Get sufficient, regular sleep. Most people need 7 to 8 hours night.
  • Seek medical attention. Don’t try to be your own doctor; if something hurts, feels out of the ordinary or is causing persistent pain, see a doctor to rule out a serious injury and develop a plan of action.
  • Set goals. Tell your friends, family and running buddies what your goals are. It helps hold you accountable and gives you a reason to celebrate as you achieve them.
  • Buy a new winter (or summer!) running outfit or a new pair of shoes or jeans. Treat yourself once in a while as you reach new milestones – a new distance, time, weight loss, etc.
  • Tweak your running schedule from time to time: Do one of your weekly runs on a different day than you normally do, or at a different time than you normally do. Run a new route, with new friends or sign up for a local 5K to keep things interesting.

Until the next mile marker,


  1. Sounds great advice! I kinda wish I was one of those people you watch and help 🙂

  2. Great advice, Sara, as always! I look to your for guidance and information.

  3. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean says

    great tips! especially love the one about tweaking your running schedule every now and then

  4. Great tips!!

  5. TurboTurtle says

    Well said, and all very true! You are terrific!

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