Even dedicated long-distance runners need moments in their schedule for rest and relaxation, time where they are not calculating the day’s exercise activity or planning for their next marathon. In this article we take a look at a few fun non-running related activities that these athletes can try in their spare time.

Cooking

It’s no secret that cooking is a hobby shared by many people all around the world. Especially for athletes who must follow strict dietary guidelines, dedicating time to the preparation of healthy and yummy dishes can make all the difference. This can also be an opportunity to take up meal planning, or the act of prepping the entire week’s menu in advance to avoid last minute shopping and rushed cooking. Runners can incorporate some tasty and balanced foods like salmon and eggs which are high in protein and provide all the energy needed to run like lightning.

Athletes that know how to prepare healthy meals will have the nutrients necessary to progress in both training and performance

Playing Strategy Games

Playing games is a great way for all athletes, runners included, to focus their minds on something other than work or training. There are even some which actually promote brain health and cognitive processes and can provide long-term benefits like improved memory and enhanced decision making. Two examples of strategic games like these are chess and poker. When engaging in a game of chess, players must use both sides of the brain to A) search for patterns and B) decide on the smartest, most logical move to outwit their opponent.

Likewise, poker is much more than just the world’s most popular strategic card game. Those who play poker can develop useful critical thinking and problem-solving skills, with consistent play even resulting in the formation of new neurological pathways in the brain. Fortunately, thanks to advancements in the field of technology, both activities are easily accessible in the virtual world. For those located in the United States, there are many different chess platforms to choose from. The same goes for poker, as the Best Sites for US Poker Players are just a click away with the device of a player’s choosing. So, next time you’re looking for a post-run activity, these games have you covered.

Hiking

Since runners already spend a good deal of their time in the great outdoors, running on marked trails or creating their own routes, there’s a high likelihood these athletes will also enjoy hiking. If you’re a runner who has an upcoming free day from competition or training, why not plan to visit a nearby mountain range and embark on a medium-grade hike? You’ll get some exercise in while participating in a different type of athletic activity that can stretch different muscles in your body. This can also be a great way to spend time with friends who you don’t see as often when running solo. Just remember to participate at your own pace to avoid injury and pick a hike that combines great views with your appropriate difficulty level.

Keeping a journal is a great way to document important life happenings and process each day before starting a new one

The Dryland Traverse route features some challenging mountain singletracks. Photo by Mark le Roux.

Creative/Journal Writing           

There are many benefits of writing, from practicing word formation skills to processing thoughts, and so much more, everyone should keep a journal around their house for these such purposes. Whether your write creatively or simply jot down a recap of the day’s events, this can be a useful way for athletes to unwind at the end of a long training session. In fact, expressive writing can even reduce stress levels and ward off illnesses, two things every athlete needs. Even if you’ve never written for fun before, just take out a pen and pad and see where the words lead you

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