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20 ways to boost your running energy
Running energy tips

There’s nothing worse than running out of energy and hitting the wall during a training run or race. We’ve all been there, and we all want to make sure we never experience that helpless feeling again, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 20 top tips for keeping your running energy high throughout your runs.

Count your calories

As a runner there is a big difference between watching what you eat and not taking on enough fuel. The daily recommended calorie intake for men and women is 2500 (10460 kilojoules) and 2000 calories (8370 kilojoules) respectively, and those calories are the fuel that keeps you going throughout your runs. A 15 mile (24km) run burns around 1500 calories (6275 kilojoules), so it’s clear you’ll need to up your calorie intake slightly on your long run days to fuel yourself.

Eat more whole grains

Whole grains are the holy grail of runners’ foods. The high fibre content of whole grains means they take longer for your body to digest, therefore fuelling you for longer during your runs. They’re also packed with other body-friendly nutrients like iron and magnesium.

Warm up properly

As well as helping to prevent injury, warming up before you run gets your body kick-started and ready to train. That means your energy reserves will be ready for you to dip into as soon as you need them, allowing you to keep going for longer when you reach the run itself.

Eat consistently

Keeping your energy levels high is all about eating consistently throughout the day. Try having multiple small meals instead of one large meal at the end of the day. By doing so you make sure your energy intake is constant, rather than one large spike at the end of the day.

Sleep more

Did you know Paula Radcliffe used to sleep around nine hours each night when she was at her peak? Sleep is when your body is able to recover from your training sessions, and tops up your energy reserves for the next day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night – get that and your running energy will soar.

Mix up your routines

No matter how much you love running, if you use the same routes and routines over and over again you will get bored. We all know that boredom leads to lack of motivation and energy when it comes to running, so make sure you mix up your training by adding a variety of sessions to your schedule.

Add lentils to your meals

Lentils are tasty, versatile, and a great energy source for runners. They’re high in energy-boosting carbohydrates, and most importantly have a low glycaemic rating. That means they won’t lead to spikes in your blood sugar level, which can often lead to tiredness while exercising.

Eat natural honey

This is one snack that is best eaten before a run, rather than generally throughout the day. Natural unsweetened honey contains sugars that are easily digested by the body, making it a quick boost of natural energy to keep you going during your run.

Reduce your stress levels

One of the biggest causes of tiredness is stress. If you’re feeling stressed at work or at home this can spill over into your running training by making you feel tired and lethargic. Take steps to de-stress and you’ll soon notice a newfound burst of energy when you run.

Snack on nuts

With their healthy fats and high levels of protein and fibre, nuts are a great snack for runners. Almonds, pecans and hazelnuts are all great options, as they’re also high in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant.

Avoid caffeine

You might think of it as an energy boost, but as soon as you consume caffeine you’ve kick started a cycle that leads to tiredness while you run. Caffeine causes dehydration, and one of the most pronounced effects of dehydration is a lack of energy.

Eat sweet potatoes

A study carried out by the Center for Science in the Public Interest pitted all vegetables against each other to find out which had the highest nutritional value, and sweet potatoes came out on top. As well as being a healthy source of carbohydrates, they contain fibre, vitamin C and potassium.

Have a sports massage

If your muscles are feeling stiff and tired, you may need a sports massage. Sports massages are great for loosening your muscles and reinvigorating your performance, so the next time you run you’ll be brimming with energy.

Drink more water

As well as avoiding diuretics, one of the best ways to prevent dehydration is obviously to drink enough water throughout the day. By drinking enough water you’ll avoid any feelings of mid-run fatigue, and make sure you’re full of energy until the end of your training session.

Avoid sugary snacks

Snacking on sugar during the day of a run is never a good idea. With every sugary high there has to be a low, and if that hits when you’re running you’ll feel sluggish, tired, and will really struggle to perform at your usual level.

Try flexibility exercises

Supplement your training with flexibility exercises such as yoga and Pilates to seriously increase your energy levels. The breathing and flexibility taught in these disciplines will make you a more efficient runner, which means you’ll be losing less energy.

Eat bananas

When it comes to quick and easy energy filled snacks that are good for you, it doesn’t get much better than bananas. Their high carbohydrate contents will boost your energy levels before a run, and they also contain the mood boosting amino acid tryptophan.

Stay active

Even on days where you don’t have any running planned, make sure you stay active. Small tasks like walking to work instead of driving, and taking the stairs instead of the lift all add up, and ensure that your energy levels don’t start to dip due to inactivity before your next run.

Try energy gels

If you know you’re going to be running a long way then energy gels are always a great idea. They’re easy to carry, easy to use, and will give you a real burst of energy when you need it most. There’s plenty of varieties out there, so experiment during training runs to find what works best for you.

Snack on blueberries

Blueberries are a great food for runners because they’re high in both fibre and carbohydrates, as well as the antioxidant vitamin C, which all combine to keep energy levels high. As an added bonus, research carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found blueberries also improve balance and coordination.

5 Things Runners Should Know About Knees
Starting with whether "running will ruin your knees."

If we had a fast-twitch muscle fiber for every time we've heard "running will ruin your knees," we'd be able to outsprint Usain Bolt. And our knees would feel good while we did so, because despite what your potentially well-meaning but definitely ill-informed neighbors, co-workers, and relatives may have told you, there's no evidence that regular running damages knees.

That's not to say that no runners' knees ever bother them. But many knee problems in runners are the result of things going on elsewhere in the body, and most can be overcome with some simple changes.

Here are five things all runners should know about knees.

1. Runners don't get arthritis in their knees more often than nonrunners.
Those are the facts. Period. If anything, long-term studies have found that runners have less incidence of knee osteoarthritis. One study that followed runners and nonrunners for 18 years found that, while 20% of the runners developed arthritis during that time, 32% of the nonrunners did. A large study that looked at runners and walkers found that regular runners had roughly half the rate of arthritis as regular walkers. In that second study, the runners with the highest regular mileage had the lowest rate of arthritis.

2. The above is true regardless of your age.
Some medical experts have said that loss of cartilage, including in the knees, is a natural part of aging. But there's no evidence that running accelerates that loss. In fact, at least one study found that when people who were at risk of developing arthritis began a moderate running program, the health of their cartilage improved, while the cartilage of a group of similar people who didn't start running didn't improve.

3. Supplements won't re-grow knee cartilage.
Despite ad claims, no dietary supplements have been proven to increase knee cartilage. The most popular such supplement, glucosamine, may help with knee osteoarthritis by protecting the articular cartilage, which, among other roles, helps to lubricate the knee joint. A study that looked at vitamin D supplementation in people who had knee arthritis found that they had the same levels of pain and loss of cartilage after two years as did people with arthritis who didn't take vitamin D.

4. Runner's knee is usually caused by issues elsewhere.
The most common knee injury among runners is runner's knee. Known clinically as chondromalacia patella or patellafemoral pain syndrome, it's inflammation of the cartilage under your kneecap. There's increasing consensus among sports medicine professionals that many people with runner's knee have a few common biomechanical problems. These include weak hips and glutes, which introduce instability further down the legs; weak quadriceps, which can make it difficult for the kneecap to track properly; and tight hamstrings, which shift some of running's impact to the knees. A good strengthening program, such as seen in this video, can go a long way to preventing runner's knee.

5. There are some simple ways to keep your knees happy.
As noted above, weakness and/or tightness elsewhere in your legs can mean trouble for your knees. So get stronger.

Extra weight places tremendous strain on your knees. The American College of Sports Medicine has said that each additional pound of body mass puts four extra pounds of stress on the knee. Running's long-term effect on keeping weight lower is thought to be a key reason why, as we saw above, runners might have less incidence of knee arthritis.

Run on level ground to lessen the torque on your knees.

If you have a history of knee pain, including from accidents or other sports, consider switching to more of a forefoot strike. One recent study found that more impact force affects the knees in rearfoot strikers, while forefoot strikers have more impact forces in their ankles.

It's advisable that you also send a copy of your application to T&T NAAA and TTOC in case your funding is delayed as you may need their help and advice in chasing up your application with the Minsitry of Sports. The T&T NAAA is there to help and support T&T athletes so it is always best to keep them in the loop with regards to the details of your EAAP application.

Elite Athlete Assistance Programme (EAAP)

In keeping with the National Sport Policy, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is committed to providing financial assistance to outstanding athletes, in support of their preparation for, and participation in international competition.

The Policy that guides the EAAP provides financial support for nationals who have attained the qualifying international ranking determined by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC).
These policy guidelines were developed through consultation with the TTOC, national sporting organisations and other co-opted interests.

As such, the EAAP speaks to:

    Athletes who are world-ranked in individual sports
    Those sports included in Olympic events and programmes
    Athletes who medal at Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Senior Pan
    American Games and Senior Central American and Caribbean Games.

Funding is allocated under the following categories:

    Athletes ranked in the World Top 15 positions will qualify for the current maximum sum of $250,000
    Athletes ranked in the World Top 16-40 positions will benefit up to $187,500 (75% of the maximum
    Athletes who medal at the specific Games and Championships will benefit, on a case-by-case basis,
    from up to $75,000 (30% of the maximum sum)
    The funding will be provided for athletes who undergo a four-year cycle of preparation and training
    leading up an Olympic year.

The funding is intended to meet the following expenses:

    Training schedules
    Coaching fees
    Nutritional and medical expenses
    Travel expenses for training
    Travel expenses for sanctioned competitions and pre-Games tours
    Accommodation for training
    Professional expenses

How to recover from a bad race
5 ways you can benefit from a bad race

We’ve all been there. You train for months, do the taper properly and arrive at race day in tip top condition. You feel great on the start line and set off enthusiastically. However, a couple of hours later you feel like you are limping over the finish line, seven minutes outside your estimated time, feeling cross and dejected by what just happened. It can be a familiar tale and a disheartening one too, so here are some of the strategies you can use to help you recover from a bad race.

Put your performance into context

One of the first things you need to do is put things firmly into context. Yes the race didn’t go as well as you had hoped and no, you didn’t come anywhere near the PB (PR) you were looking for. But you got over the finish line when you weren’t feeling your best, so give yourself some credit for that. You also burnt a ton of calories and you know you are in good running shape (even if your time didn’t do your fitness justice). Taking the positives out of sport, even when it feels like a giant negative, is one of the most important preliminary steps as you recover from a bad experience. Remember to be kind to yourself and rather than focusing on the negatives, think carefully about what might have gone wrong.

Examine your race preparation

It’s important to figure out why you had such a bad run, so one of the first things to do is to You also examine your nutrition and hydration strategies. Did you eat enough breakfast or indeed enough carbs in the build up to the race? What were you drinking during the run? Was it enough or did it disagree with you in any way? Did you get enough sleep the night before? Even though you felt fine at the start, perhaps tiredness contributed to your fatigue and inability to perform to your usual level. Did you get your race pace wrong by getting caught up in the moment and going off too quickly?

Learning from mistakes is a huge part of running, as is getting to know your body and controlling how it performs in certain situations. When you can clearly identify a weakness, it gives you something to build on and improve. Sometimes a poor performance can be the result of a tiny mistake and when you realise that, it is easy to fix and move on.

But also remember that sometimes a disappointing performance can be a result of circumstances out of your control (weather, conditions, incidents during the race etc), so rationalise that and then move on.

Try something new

Even if there is no smoking gun in terms of identifying a specific reason why you had a bad race, it might be a good idea to think about making a change or two. The old adage about doing what you’ve always done and getting what you’ve always got is particularly true of running. Runners are creatures of habit and one of the joys of the sport is the knowledge that if you follow a plan meticulously, it will get you where you need to go. That said though, there are times when a certain type of preparation just doesn’t work for you.

If you are a runner who keeps preparing a certain way and keeps experiencing the same disappointing results, change might just be the answer. That can mean anything from trying different routes on your regular runs, to fundamentally transforming your approach to training. What that change looks like is up to you, but don’t be afraid to do things differently. There is always a reason or several of them for poor performance and sometimes those reasons will necessitate only a minor alteration and sometimes a radical change of approach.

Research and advice

Talking to other runners and sharing your experiences can be hugely informative and comforting. You will quickly find that other people have suffered exactly the same experiences as you. That could be anything from a series of poor training runs (we’ve all had those) to a spectacular let down in a big race. Learning from the mistakes and reactions of others is a brilliant extra piece of research you can easily do. How about chatting to someone on your next training run?

Yes, get out with a running buddy as soon as you can and start to erase the memory of a poor run by replacing it with a positive experience. It will probably be hugely frustrating that you can produce a terrific training run mere days after a shocking race, but at least it will be a reminder of what a good runner you really are.

Ask some tough post-race questions

One phrase regularly lurking at the back of a runner’s mind is unrealistic expectations. Be honest in the wake of a disappointing race and ask whether a 90 minute half marathon was ever realistic? Had you been showing that kind of form in training or was it never really possible? Bad races can actually be just a good race seen through the filter of unrealistic expectation. If that is the case, then change your targets. Reset your goals and focus on what is achievable.

For instance, instead of slogging away for a marathon time that isn’t realistic right now, how about dropping back to running quicker half marathons for a while? That will (a.) make you feel good about your running again and (b.) help in the long term, towards achieving that original marathon time.

If however, when you’ve analyzed everything, you conclude that your target was achievable, perhaps all you need to do is tweak certain aspects of your race and you will get there. Remember though that honesty is definitely required on this one.

8 Things That Destroy College Athletes
By Ian Warner on September 8, 2014 in Athlete, Motivation

What is it that happens to college athletes that diminishes an athlete’s chances of succeeding?  Every athlete comes out of high school with big dreams, but where is it that those dreams become unrealistic?

I survived 5 years as an NCAA athlete at Iowa State, and somehow managed to become an All-American and an Olympian during that time. The amount I learned my freshman year alone about what it takes to succeed is probably enough to write my second book after ENDURE.

As a result of this move I get to look at this topic from an “outside looking in” perspective. Every weekend I got to hear the things other athletes say they want, and just watch how they behave.  It brought me to some simple conclusions. As I became a senior and my team started to look to me as a leader, I had some awesome conversations about goals and what is willing to be sacrificed to reach those goals.

All in all I was able to come up with 8 different things that ruin athletic careers in college.


1. Too Much Partying

The number one reason is the easiest one to come up with. Kids come into college and get this freedom to do whatever they want and instead of using that freedom for a positive they put it all into partying, which becomes a negative.

I quickly realized that I did not want to just join the party culture because it was changing who I was from the inside out. I started Cover Ground to give me something positive to focus on, so I was either working on it late or I was sleeping and getting myself better.

The more you party the higher the chances are of alcohol consumption and doing all types of other things that don’t need to be done. In reality all partying does is make the wall between an athlete and success and couple bricks higher.

2. Thinking and Acting like a Normal Student

The fact of the matter is student-athletes are not normal students. They should not think at any time like how a normal student does.  Most sports spend 20 hours a week training!  A normal student can use that extra 20 hours an athlete does not have to do their work or whatever they want to do. They have more time, and if they use it to get in trouble no one besides their parents will care. While for athletes, newspapers love getting hints of an athlete getting caught up in some mischief involving the police.

3. Eating like a Normal Student

Athletes should be eating on a different level because athletes expend more calories than a normal person. If all your friends want to go to McDonalds and then grab a couple of beers, you are dropping down to their level. You need to bring those around you up to your level or don’t hang around them.

The issue with eating is a lot of kids had dinner made for them in high school so they get to college and can eat anything and usually veggies and other important nutrients that athletes need, get left out.  A normal student can go through 4 classes in a row without food. An athlete trying to step their game up cannot do the same.

4. Chasing Sex

The issue with always chasing after sex is it shows a lack of focus on the things that need to be done like training hard, sleeping, eating right, getting all your homework done. The fact is that most of the time spent chasing sex and having sex is done when you should have been sleeping already.

I’m not going to sit here and say don’t have sex or do have sex because it is not my business but make sure that it is not taking away from being a great athlete. I have seen many of my friends just get lost in this chase. It becomes all they can do and think about! They will skip class, meals, practice, studying or anything else just to get it.

My freshman year one of my teammates had sex so many times one night that for saturday morning practice he could barely function. It was like this every Saturday. His track career at Iowa State lasted one season.

5. Doing Nothing Right & Complaining About the Results

This is my favorite and I will give you an example of why. If I do everything the exact same as what I did last year how can I get mad if the result is the exact same? There needs to be a CHANGE to the way you do things if you want a DIFFERENT result.  College kids love to stick to their ways and refuse to change.

Most college athletes have a wack mentality. They want to do little work but reap huge rewards. Frankly it does not work like that and it never will.  Strive for perfection in all aspects of your life, than you can expect some excellent results.

6. Living in High School

The thing about college is it is pretty much a high school all star team when you think about it.  Everyone who is playing sports in college was good in high school. Get over what you did in high school, and focus on what you are going to do in college.

“If you are talking about yesterday it is because you have not done anything today.”

7. Have a Hard Time Accepting New Things

In all aspects of life, things in college are different. What was good before is not good anymore, what got you an A before will not now. The way you trained before may not cut it but you have to just accept that things are different. I struggled with this a lot my first year of college. You just have to accept it. I wanted to hold on to the way it was in high school because I saw success there. I never was able to improve in college until I let go of everything high school.

8. No More Spoon Feeding

This one bugs me the most of them all. Everyone thought I was given everything in high school, yet I came to college and became one of the most independent student- athletes on my team.  It is like having a tutor in school there is a difference between a tutor that helps you arrive at the answer and one who gives it to you. In high school my parents were always there to help me arrive so that when college came I could arrive all by myself.

Too many kids come in to college fresh from having parents and coaches who gave them everything and never made them work for a thing. They slowly start to see that it is a dog eat dog world. Everyone in college is trying to be a success in every way possible so if you can’t keep up no one cares and no one is going to help you either.  Get the spoon out of your mouth and start working hard.

About Ian Warner
Ian Warner is an Entrepreneur, Olympian, NCAA All-American and is the managing director of Cover Ground. He graduated from the business school at Iowa State University. When not managing Cover Ground or spending time with his wife Emily, Ian is dedicated to helping athletes succeed, both on and off the field by inspiring others to realize the focus, determination and how hard you have to work to become the best. He is also the author of Endure: An Athlete’s Guide to Faith, Hope, & Success, and is very active on Twitter.


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