The concept of self-care routines seems to be very trendy lately. But with all the hype, it can be hard to tell whether something is just a fad or really a worthy concept.
While self-care activities may seem like just a trendy fad to some, the idea has really been around for a while. Treating your body and mind to some indulgences once and a while is a great way to maintain positive spirits.
As runners, we put our bodies through quite a lot. The act of running in itself is certainly a type of self-care, but between the continuous pounding and constant movement, it’s important for runners to indulge in various other forms of self-care as well.
Treating your body and mind well is always something worth making a priority. Aside from eating healthy and exercising, there are many ways we can promote a healthy mindset, help reduce stress, and stay calm amidst the chaos of life.
These 10 self-care ideas are specifically tailored for runners and our busy lifestyle. At times it can feel impossible to find time for running, let alone a few daily acts of self-care, but making the time for these activities will do us (and those around us) good.
Check out these simple self care ideas for runners to pamper your body and treat your mind to some well-deserved love.
10 Simple Self Care Ideas for Runners
Create a stretching routine.
We all know the importance of stretching and recovering immediately after a run, but creating a simple stretching routine to complete on a regular basis is a great way to soothe your body and promote blood flow.
Completing a few relaxing stretches each night while you watch TV is a great way to keep your muscles and joints fresh and lubricated, even long after a run. Wind down with the relaxing movements at the end of the day, or start the day by relieving any aches and pains. Whichever way you choose to incorporate stretching, your body and mind will thank you.
Practice 5 minutes of meditation.
Meditation has the power to really transform your mind. It doesn’t matter whether you meditate for one minute each day or one hour, the benefits are plenty. Dedicate a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and relax into meditation.
Set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes, close your eyes, and focus only on your breathing during this time. If your mind begins to wander, reset and bring it back to your breath. Even just 5 minutes have the power to be transformative. This simple time will help reduce stress, ease tension, and maybe even improve your mood.
Journal positive thoughts about your run.
We’ve all had those terrible runs – the times where it seems like nothing goes right. But amongst all the frustration, there’s usually at least something that went our way. Taking the time to journal about the positive aspects of each run is a great way to train your mind to associate running with positivity.
Find a blank notebook or journal that you can use to jot down your thoughts after you return from a run. Make a point to list out everything that you enjoyed, what went well, what progress was made, how you felt, and what didn’t hurt.
Take a hot shower or bath.
There’s nothing more relaxing than a hot shower or bath, especially as a runner. After logging many miles each week, the heat and steam of a relaxing shower feel wonderful on tired muscles. Not to mention the fact that the heat can help speed up the recovery process.
Make time each week to indulge in a hot shower or bath. Whether this is immediately after a long run or just at the end of your day, your muscles will thank you.
Complete a gentle yoga routine.
With the constant pounding involved with running, it can feel nice to mix things up once and a while with a gentle workout. Try incorporating some yoga once a week or on your recovery day to really give your body a break.
A simple, relaxing yoga routine may not feel like a workout, but it’ll helping your body gain strength while your mind relaxes. Set aside this time to be intentional and present, and do your best to forget about all of your stress.
Enjoy a short post-run nap.
Let’s face it: running is hard work. Whether you log 5 miles a week or 50, all that time on your feet can really add up. Before we know it, we’re constantly feeling tired and really can’t seem to catch a break.
When you’re feeling especially fatigued, make it a priority to take a quick cat nap. Those extra few minutes of shut eye may be exactly what your body needs to refresh and reset after plenty of miles. Taking this time for yourself may feel a bit selfish, but it might actually help you get more done in the long run.
Make a delicious protein smoothie.
After all the work you’re putting in on the run, hardly anything sounds more satisfying than a refreshing smoothie. Nothing is more rewarding than that first sip of a cool, smooth drink after a sweaty run. And as an added benefit, the combination of protein and carbs in your smoothie will help your muscles refuel and get stronger.
Enjoy a delicious fruit blend or mix up some kale for a healthy boost. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some flavored protein powder, or go for the greens to really make the most of it. However you do it, make sure to treat yourself to your favorite smoothie after a hard run.
Sit outside and reflect.
We so often rush through our recovery routines to quickly transition to our next task or job. After spending time on the run, it can sometimes feel like we hardly have time to get everything else done. This constant state of busy-ness can often cause more stress than what it’s actually worth.
Taking the time to sit down and reflect after a run helps center your mind and refocus your thoughts for the rest of the day. When the weather is nice, take a few minutes to sit outside after your run and reflect in the fresh air.
Take a slow recovery walk.
Sometimes the best thing we can do after a run is to keep moving. While our legs may be hoping for a break on the couch, slowing down for a short recovery walk will actually help improve their recovery. A slow walk helps keep the blood flowing long enough to flush out lactic acid and prevent your muscles from getting tight.
Indulge yourself for a few extra minutes during your post-run routine and keep going for a short walk. Take the dog with you or simply use this time to recover and reflect on your miles for the day.
Head to bed 30 minutes early.
It’s no secret that running is tiring. The extra activity really starts to add up each day and before we know it, we’re constantly yawning. After so much activity, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night.
Most of us find ourselves staying up later than we should without even trying. Between the distraction of television, cell phones, families and to do lists, getting enough shut eye each night feels nearly impossible. This time, try making sleep a priority and heading to bed just 30 minutes earlier. You may be surprised by what an extra half an hour can do for your body.
These 10 self-care ideas for runners are a great place to start, but the possibilities are truly endless. Finding a type of self-care that fits your busy lifestyle is key to maintaining a positive mental and physical state of well-being.
While running itself may be our favorite form of self-care, slowing things down every once and a while provides a powerful way to reset and recharge.
More self-care ideas:
- 10 Healthy Habits to Keep You Fit Year Round
- 9 Ways to Stay Fit When There’s No Time to Exercise
- 30 Ways to Improve Your Health and Wellness