It is one month until your big race! You've established a training program to prepare – whether it's Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna or another running event – and you're seeing good results. Way to go! Now, it's imperative to continue improving.
To help you achieve your runDisney goals, we gathered expert tips from Cigna's chief medical officer for national accounts, Dr. Charles Smith, and Cigna health coaches who have identified five key areas to focus on in these last few weeks. If you are not currently seeing improvements, your training program may be lacking in one of these areas. Not to worry, we can help!
Sleep – Getting good sleep is one of the biggest advantages when it comes to your health and it directly impacts performance. During sleep, your body heals itself and your central nervous system processes important information. For runners, that includes new movement patterns and firing muscles in sequences that improves efficiency and speed. Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
Nutrition – Just like a car cannot go the full distance with only half a tank of gas, the same concept is also true for our bodies. Here are three ways to help you properly fuel your body:
- Don't Skip Meals – When feeling starved, you are more likely to over eat at the next meal and choose fast foods and snacks. Head off temptation and eat regularly.
- Eat Balanced Meals – Eat for nutrients and health, not necessarily for taste. Meals should include a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
- Drink Plenty of Water – We have all heard this but sometimes don't do it. A good rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water two hours before your workout. For workouts over one hour, try to drink 4-6 ounces every 15 minutes. Once you're done, continue hydrating to quench your thirst.
Core Training – Every time you take a step you are using your core for support. Your core consists of obliques, glutes, abdominals, and lower and upper back muscles. The stronger and more stable your core is, the more efficient runner you will be. For distance running, strengthen this muscle group up to 4-5 times a week.
Cross training – Combining two or more different activities such as cycling/weight training, swimming/yoga, or a fitness class/calisthenics enables you to build different muscle groups while giving others a chance to rest and repair. Cross training also helps improve cardiovascular endurance and prevent injuries. Try strength (yoga) or weight training every other day. Your cardio can be done on consecutive days.
Mindset – Your ability to overcome mental barriers will have a big impact on your success and overall experience. Read our last article to help you start training your runner's mindset today!
To help support your training program, try our Coach by Cigna mobile app. Discover fun, healthy activities, and be inspired and encouraged every step of your journey with Cigna coaches, experts and resources in the palm of your hand!
Just as we're part of your team to help you achieve your running goals, we're here to help you stay on target with achieving your health goals, too. If you haven't had your annual check-up with your doctor yet, now is a great time to schedule it to know your numbers: Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and get recommended preventive screenings. Knowing your numbers helps you continue on your road to wellness and achieving your runDisney milestones!
Cigna® is the presenting sponsor of Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend and Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend.
Coach by Cigna mobile app is free and available with Android OS 4.4 and higher and iOS 8.0 and higher devices (U.S. only). The downloading and use of the Coach by Cigna mobile app is subject to terms and conditions of the app and the online store from which it is downloaded.
This content and the Coach by Cigna app are for educational purposes only and do not provide medical advice. Speak to your doctor if you have health concerns and prior to starting a new diet or exercise program.