If you’re serious about becoming the best runner you can be, then you’re in the right place.
In today’s post, dear reader, I’m sharing with you more than 100 running tips to help make your workout routine a complete success. Follow these practical, simple, and proven strategies, and you’ll reach your full running potential in no-time.
In fact, today’s post is the ultimate checklist for a stronger, fitter and injury-proof you, whether you’re a complete beginner, a recreational athlete, or a veteran runner.
So, are you excited?
Then here we go…
The Gear you Need
1. Get the Right Shoes
Shoes are the most important running equipment there is.
A proper shoe will not only make running more comfortable but also help you improve performance and ward off all sorts of injury, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and foot pain.
Hence, as a runner, you need to find the right shoe for you.
The golden rule is to go for a shoe that fits comfortable. That’s the conclusion of a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The right shoes have to match perfectly with your natural foot shape and personal biomechanics.
One measure to take is to leave, at least, a thumbnail distance (roughly 1cm, or ½ inch) from the end of your longest toes (while flat on the floor) to the end of the shoe.
In other words, you should be able to play the piano with your toes.
For the full guide to how to choose the right running shoes, see my post here.
2. Visit a Specialty Running Store
If you don’t know what it takes to pick a proper pair, then consider shopping at a specialty running store where you can find only running-related gear, accessories, and gadgets.
Once you’re there, have your foot type and gait analyzed by the professional staff. In most cases, these guys are pro and understand the needs of runners.
Therefore, they can help you find the right shoe in line with your physiology, fitness profile and training goals.
For instance, you might be a severe overpronator who needs trainers with a bit of more support than the typical (mostly neutral) runner.
Just be willing to answer all sorts of questions regarding your training goals and personal preferences. Not to mention the extra cost of the “shoe fitting” service.
3. Wear the Right Clothing
Once you have the right running shoes, the next thing to get is some basic running clothing and apparel.
For starters, you’ll need shirts for different seasons, preferably made of moisture wicking technical fabrics.
This type of fabric can help pull the sweat away from your skin keeping you dry and comfortable in the process.
Some of the best fabrics include Coolmax and Dri-fit.
Of course, special apparel costs a little bit more than casual clothing, but they are worth every buck—especially if you are serious about staying comfortable for the long haul.
Furthermore, you’ll also need a couple of shorts, tights, pants, or even a skirt, if you like.
Also, female runners should opt for a good sports bra that provides both good support and reduce the risks of chafing while running.
Just whatever you do, avoid cotton at all time. Cotton holds onto sweat and will, sooner or later, lead to chaffing and discomfort. And you don’t want that.
Other running clothing items to consider include (but not limited to) sunglasses, hats, hydration belts, sports watches, heart monitors, etc.
4. Opt for Smart Socks
First of all, do not run in cotton socks. That’s the golden rule.
As I have already stated, cotton absorbs and retains moisture, and since the feet sweat, you’ll be running in soggy and moist socks.
That’s why running in cotton socks can lead to unavoidable calluses and blisters—two side effects of moisture and friction.
Instead, go for technical running socks. These wick moisture away from your feet, keeping them comfortable and relatively dry.
Smart socks are made either from a blend of natural fibers, such as wool, and synthetic, or from synthetic fibers, such as nylon, acrylic, or Coolmax.
5. Have More than One Pair
According to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, runners who rotate their shoes among various models during a 6-month period had a 40 percent lower risk of incurring a running injury than those who ran in the same pair.
For that reason, if you are serious about reducing the risks of injury, then train in more than one pair.
Just whatever you do, make sure to keep tabs on the mileage on each pair.
6. Clean Your Shoes
If you take care of your running shoes, they’ll return the favor and take good care of your feet. They’ll also last you longer.
Otherwise, your shoes will lose their cushioning properties sooner than you’d want to, wearing them out prematurely in the process.
Here a few cleaning rules to abide by:
- Do not toss your running shoes in the washer. Wash them manually instead.
- Use an (old) toothbrush or brush with a mild soap—preferably an anti-grease soap—and water to wash away stains, dirt, and mud.
- Do not toss your shoes in the dryer. Dry them in the open air under direct sunlight
7. Replace Your Running Shoes
Why all do all good things must come to an end?
Well, that’s the cyclical nature of life. And running shoes are no exception. Sooner or later; they all wear out and lose their shock-absorption properties.
And the question is “When should you (or must you) replace a running pair?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but no universal formula tells you exactly when to ditch a given pair and look for something new.
Why is that? Well, many factors could have an impact on running shoe lifespan, including:
- Your running surfaces
- Your weight
- Your weekly mileage
- Your training intensity
- Your running biomechanics
- The climate you run in
But, all in all, and as a rough guideline, a running shoe should last you between 500 to 600 miles. Give or take. Once your shoes go beyond this range, you’ll be risking discomfort and pain, as well as injury and the sort.
So, please keep track of the mileage you put on a given pair.
My best advice is to use an app like MapMyRun to keep tabs on the mileage on a specific pair after each run.
Or you can also do it the old-fashioned way by using a pen and paper or an excel spreadsheet.
8. Tie your Shoes the Right Way
Tying shoes is something that most well-accomplished 5-year-olds can do with ease.
I know. I know.
But as a matter of fact, there are many ways to lace your trainers, and different techniques cannot only make them feel more comfortable but also accommodate feet size–vital for avoiding all sorts of discomfort and issues.
And that’s not the whole story.
According to a study conducted at the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany, running shoe lacing technique and tightness has a huge influence on impact force, pronation, and foot biomechanics.
In this infographic, you’ll find a lineup of top knots to learn, know and use.
Infographic source: RunRepeat.Com
Bonus tip: You could also invest in a pair of Lock Laces.
9. Dress As If It Is 10 Degrees Warmer
Running during the wintertime has its challenges, but if you overdress for the occasion, you’ll get in trouble.
The thing is, during winter running, you should aim to be warm without sweating so much that you get a chill.
That’s why I highly recommend that you dress as if it 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it is outside.
In fact, you should feel slightly cold on taking your first few steps outside, but don’t worry about that. Once you get moving, you’ll warm up quite a lot.
10. Try YakTrax
As a winter runner, you’ll need a lot of traction to prevent sliding and slipping— especially when road condition are freezing and/or snowy.
One thing you can do to make sure that you stay on your feet, literally, is to try YakTrax.
YakTrax is a specific traction device designed to meet the needs of runners during wintertime. They improve control and stability under harsh weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, and ice.
And the good news is that they fit over almost any running shoe
11. Get Cheap Running Garments
One of the best things you can do for running on a tight budget is to buy your athletic garments at the end of the season.
Just like any other store out there, running specialty stores go on major clearance as the weather changes before the new models come in.
Some of my favorite summer running clothes I actually bought in late autumn or winter, when it was too cold to run in them.
And truth be told, there is nothing wrong with old models. They are usually made from the same materials—with a few tweaks.
Just keep in mind that running garments are performance tools, not a fashion statement.
In addition, for the best running shoe deal on the web, check ShoeKicker.com. This is a great website that scours the internet and looks for the best online deals.
12. Use GPS Tracking Apps
When it comes to running, being able to measure your day to day performance stats is a great way to reach your next athletic level.
After all, if you can’t measure, you can’t improve it, as the saying goes.
Fortunately, with the advances in mobile apps, you too can challenge yourself each time you head out the door.
These are perfect for beginner runners who need a little bit of push and a way to monitor their progress, as well as for the elite trying to stay in peak shape throughout the racing season.
Hence, whether you’re training for your first 5K or your 11th marathon, your smartphone (or any other “smart” device) can be an excellent coach.
Here are few of some of the best apps out there:
13. Use a Heart Rate Monitor
Using a heart monitor is like having a coach along for every run. When used right, it can show you, down to the letter, how hard or easy you are working.
In other words, this device can help you find your running sweet sport, preventing overtraining, or undertraining, in the process.
Here are the four main heart rate training zones you need to be aware of. Make sure to have your workouts planned in each zone for a complete and well-rounded training program
Zone 1—The recovery or energy efficient zone: Roughly 60 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate, or MHR.
Zone 2—The Aerobic heart rate zone: Roughly 70 to 80 percent of MHR.
Zone 3—The anaerobic zone: About 80 to 90 percent of MHR.
Zone 4—The VO2Max or Red Zone: Approximately 90 to 99.99 percent of MHR
14. Protect Your Electronics
If you do a lot of running in the rain with a non-waterproof phone or GPS watch, then you gotta protect your electronic devices from water damage.
And here is how:
Store your device in a light-weight zip-lock bag. Just whatever you do, make sure that the bag is securely sealed. No leaking is allowed.
You can also wrap it in plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic wrap around your device, leaving no “skin” exposed. Also, make sure that the charger port is well covered.
What I love about the plastic wrap is that it is sufficiently dense to protect against moisture but thin enough that you’ll still be able to use the touchscreen through the plastic.
15. Manage your Keys
If all jingling and jangling drives you nuts while running with your keys in your pocket, then do this.
First of all, take the key out of the keychain, unlace the shoe a notch, then slide one of your shoelaces through the key and put it on the string.
Next, tuck the key under the other lace before retying your shoe.
To keep the key from bouncing around, tie your shoe using a double knot and secure the other end of the key under some of the crisscrossed laces.
And that’s it. This will give you the peace of mind needed for an enjoyable run.
If you don’t want to do this, then put a rubber band around your keys before tossing them in your pocket or put them on a shoelace and wear them like a necklace.
The Beginner Running Tips You Need
16. Long Walks First
If you are already in a good shape (meaning you’ve been exercising regularly for the last 3 to 6 months), then you may choose to skip this stage.
Nevertheless, for a complete beginner, this is the most important step for building the right foundation from the get-go.
So, before you start running, do plenty of walks to prep your body. Start out with 30 minutes of brisk walking then build it up to one full hour, three times a week for a full month.
By week four, you should be walking for at least 60 minutes at a brisk pace three times per week.
Next, move onto the walk/run schedule.
After a month (or even longer) of walking, you should fit enough to start adding jogging intervals into your sessions.
This is what’s known as the walk/run method, and it’s ideal for helping new trainees get fit without getting hurt. The key here is to gradually stretch your comfort zone without overextending it.
Here is how to do it
Start out with a proper warm-up of 10 minutes of walking at a brisk pace to get your heart rate up and blood flowing to the muscles.
Next, jog slowly for 20 to 30 seconds, slow it down and walk for 30 seconds to one full minute, then jog again for another 20 seconds.
Keep repeating the cycle for 15 to 20 minutes, then end your session with a 10-minute cool down.
If everything is going well after four or five sessions, then increase your running time by 5 to 10 seconds from one session to the next. Just do it gradually, staying within your fitness level the entire time.
18. Give C25K a Try
If you are a newcomer to the sport, or are coming back to running after a long layoff, then the C25K app is the best place to start.
Well, this handy app offers a nine-week training plan that can help you train for a 5K race (roughly 3.1 miles) in a gradual and safe manner.
All the commitment you need to make is to spend approximately 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, for the upcoming few months.
19. Start on the Treadmill
The treadmill is the perfect tool for building endurance without putting too much stress on the body.
This machine can give you full control over speed and incline, thus, enable you to readjust speed and intensity to match your fitness level.
In other words, you can’t really overtrain on the treadmill (unless you’re doing it on purpose by ignoring your body’s signals of pain and discomfort).
Here is the workout routine you need:
Warm up for 10 minutes. Start out with a 10-minute walk at 1.5 to 2 mph.
Jog for three minutes. Pick up the pace and jog slowly at a pace of 2.5 to 3 mph for next three minutes. Make sure to practice good running form here.
Run for one minute. Increase the speed to 3.5 to 4 mph and keep the relatively fast pace for one minute.
Walk for 4 minutes. Reduce your speed and walk at a brisk pace for the upcoming 4 minutes. This is recovery time so make the most out of it.
Jog for 3 minutes. Increase your speed to 3 mph and keep it up for three minutes.
Run for one minute. Increase your speed to 4 to 5 mph (or even faster if your fitness allows it) and keep it up for one full minute. Back off if your body hurts or your form starts to suffer.
10 minutes cool down. And that’s it.
20. The Talk Test
As a beginner runner, make sure to run at a conversational pace. This means that you should be able to speak in full sentences on-the-go without gasping for air.
In other words, you should be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance without much difficulty.
By sticking to this rule, you’ll build your aerobic endurance base on the right foundation—this will definitely set you for success later on.
The only exception to this rule is when you are doing any sort of speed work training (think sprints, fartleks, hill reps, or when racing).
But this is not something you should concern yourself with in the early stages of your training.
21. Run For More
After, at least, three to four weeks of the run/walk method, lengthen your running segments until you can run straight at a comfortable pace for 30 minutes.
This may take you a while—depending on your current fitness level and training consistency.
But if you stick with it long enough, you will get there.
Once you can run for 30 minutes straight without much trouble, feel free to take your running to the next level.
That’s when you gonna start seeing some amazing results.
Things you can do include increasing your running time to one hour or more, signing for a 5k race, doing intervals or hill training, you name it.
22. Avoid The Rueful Too’s
Runners who do too much too soon without giving their body enough time to adapt to the new training load will, eventually, run into trouble.
In fact, this is one of the most common mistakes beginners make.
Thus, make sure not to fall into the “too much, too soon, too often, too fast, with too little rest” trap.
Instead, build a solid base of easy, short and aerobic distances before you up the ante with speed, distance or uphill training.
Even if you feel like you can do more during the first few months of training, make sure to rein it in.
The temporary sense of accomplishment is not worth an injury or a painful burnout.
23. Dynamic Warm-up
A good warm up is the backbone of effective training—especially when doing any hard, intense runs, such as an interval session or a hill run.
Warming up the right way can improve your performance as well as reduce the risk of injury incurred during the workout.
Here is a simple routine you can try.
Do at least 10 reps of each exercise below for two to three rounds.
- High kicks
- Lunge with a twist
- Hip Stretch with a Twist
- Butt kicks
Or check my full routine here.
24. Cool Down Right
On the other hand, don’t forget the cool-down. It’s just as vital to your performance and fitness as the warm-up.
A proper cool down can help transition blood from the working muscles to the “normal,” resting flow.
But, when you stop on the spot, blood can start to pool in the legs and feet, leading, most likely, to dizziness, vertigo and discomfort in certain individuals.
Accordingly, cool down by jogging slowly or walking for at least 5 to 10 minutes—depending on your training intensity, course.
You can also perform some post-run strength, mobility, and stretching exercises.
Here are a few quick routines to try:
Or do these essential post-run stretches.
25. Stretch After Your Runs
The benefits of stretching are a hotly debated topic in both the scientific and running world.
Nonetheless, I still recommend stretching as a way for preventing injury, and improving performance.
Why is that?
Well, here a few benefits of stretching:
- Improves muscular coordination,
- Reduces lower back pain,
- Enhances posture,
- Alleviates post-run soreness and
- Increases range of motion.
Just whatever you do, do not stretch before a run, the way we used to do back in high school class. Study shows that static stretching before a workout can compromise performance and may lead to injury (think muscle tears).
Aim to stretch for at least 10 to 20 minutes, focusing on the main running muscle groups, such as the hips, the glutes, the hamstrings, the quads and the calves.
Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, and breathe deep into it to release any tension or discomfort.
Try this excellent routine.
26. Learn the Lexicology
As you delve into the running world, you’ll, sooner or later, run into some technical jargon that you might not have heard before.
It’s totally normal.
Just like any other sport, running has its own verbiage that you need to get good at if you are serious about calling yourself a runner.
In other words, you have to talk the talk.
The Training Tips You Need
27. Have a Plan
“If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.”
That quote might sound like clichiest thing in the world, but that does not make it less true when it comes to the world of running.
Following a training plan will help you remove the guessing work from your workout routine.
As a result, please pick a training plan.
You can find a wide array of intricate plans online. And there is something for everyone. For the most part, running plans are labeled for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and elite.
But, all in all, in my opinion, the best plan is a well-rounded plan. And that is true whether you’re a recreational runner doing it for health and fitness, or an elite marathoner hoping to optimize your performance.
For that, include the following five elements into your training program:
- Interval workouts
- Tempo runs
- Hills runs
- Long runs, or LSDs
- And the easy run (for recovery).
28. Add a Long Run
Longs runs are a vital piece of training. They increase stamina, build proper form, burn mad calories and will get you in tip-top running shape for any race or distance.
So, after at least 6 months of regular training, start increasing your longest running session—typically, your weekend workout—by up to up 10 percent from one week to the next.
Keep doing this until you are running for two and a half to three hours.
Perform your long runs at approximately 60 to 70 percent of your 5K pace—that should be a comfortable pace.
To make sure that you are doing the LSD runs right, perform the old ‘talk test’ whenever you feel that you are pushing the pace.
Time on your feet is the most important goal here, not speed.
29. Speed Work
Whether you’re looking to outpace your running buddy, or aiming to beat your current PB in a given distance, speedwork is the way to go.
But that’s not all. Speedwork can also increase your range of motion, improve your conditioning, burn mad calories, build muscle mass, all of which can make you stronger and fitter runner.
Here are the main speedwork sessions you need to add to your training schedule:
- Classic 200m sprints
- Tabata sprints
- 400m laps around a track
- Short and medium hill sprints
- Fartlek sprints
Just whatever you do, aim for quality, not quantity.
That’s why, and as rule of thumb, speedwork should account for no more than 20 percent of your weekly total mileage.
Long running sessions have their benefits, but to take your running to the next level, sprinting is of utmost importance.
A form of high-intensity interval training, sprinting can help you burn three more times calories than steady-state running.
According to study, it also boosts metabolism and will help you develop a killer lower body strength and speed.
And it should take you roughly a half an hour to complete the whole session.
Here is how to proceed:
Start with a proper warm-up. Perform five minutes of slow jogging, followed by dynamic movements such as knee circles, inchworms, lateral lunges and walking lunges.
Next, go for your first sprint at 70 percent of your top speed for 30 seconds.
Take a minute to recover, then perform your next sprint at 80 percent of your max effort.
Shoot for eight to ten sprints, then finish off the workout with a decent cool-down. Jog slowly for five minutes, and stretch your whole lower body.
31. Tempo Run
Also known as lactate threshold, LT, or threshold run, a tempo workout is a faster-paced run that’s vital for boosting metabolic fitness.
The primary purpose behind tempo run is to increase your lactate threshold level—the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace.
As a general rule, your tempo workouts should feel comfortably hard.
A good example of a tempo run is a comfortably hard and sustained 3- to 4-mile run.
Here is how to proceed:
For a five-mile tempo workout, start by warming up with a 5-minute slow jog, then run a mile at 20 seconds slower than your half-marathon pace.
For the remaining duration of the workout, pick up the pace every mile by five to 10 seconds until you’re running the final mile 20 seconds faster than your half marathon pace.
32. Tackle the Hills
Hills build leg strength, boost lung capacity, improve running form, and reduce the rate of injury.
So, please do them instead of avoiding them.
Also, train with proper form. Your uphill running should mimic your sprinting form.
Here is how:
- Run tall, core engaged and back flat. Do not lean forward.
- Engage your hamstrings, quads, and glutes on the way up. Make sure to push from the hip while engaging your entire lower body to get up the hill.
- Feel free to walk on the steepest sections of a given hill.
33. Train Negative
If you want to improve your running speed/time, practice negative splitting—running the second half of your session a little bit faster than the first portion.
In the ideal negative split run, each mile gets increasingly faster than last once you reach the mid-point of the workout.
As long as you finish the last mile faster than the first, you’re in a good place.
Here is an example of a 4-mile session.
After a thorough warm-up, run your first two miles at an easy and controlled pace—shoot for 15 to 30 second slower than your average pace for that distance.
Then, once you reach the midpoint, pick up your speed to a 10K or 5K pace, then to maximum speed for the last 100 to 200 feet.
34. Try Fartlek
Fartlek is a Swedish term that stands for “speed play,” and it’s a non-structured form of interval training developed in the early 1930’s.
The primary purpose of a fartlek workout is to increase your speed and endurance in the most unpredictable and “playful” way possible.
Here is how to proceed:
Start your workout with a 10-minute warm-up jog, then sight an object in the distance, be it a tree, a parked car, or a building, then run fast toward it.
Once you reach it, slow down and recover.
Then, sight the next object and repeat.
Just whatever you do, make it random. Make it fun.
35. Try Tabata Protocol Runs
The session consists of twenty seconds of maximum burst (max effort/max reps), followed by ten seconds of recovery.
You could do Tabata sprints by sprinting for 20 seconds at full speed and resting for 10.
But you can also up the ante by adding in some bodyweight exercises to make the workout more challenging.
Here is a simple Tabata protocol to try out.
Set 1: Sprint at a moderate pace for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
Set 2: Do as many push-ups as possible in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
Set 3: Sprint for another 20 seconds at max speed. Rest for 10 seconds.
Set 4: Do as many squats as possible in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
Set 5: Sprint as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds.
Rest for two minutes and repeat the whole circuit twice.
36. Cross Train
Cross training is vital for runners because it can help prevent overuse injuries, such as Runner Knee, ITBS, shin splints, Stress Fractures, as well as lower back issues, hip, joint and knee pain.
It can also boost your speed, increase your stride length, improve your running form, and boost your overall fitness and health level.
Here are eight super-effective training methods to try out:
38. Get Explosive
This type of training requires a fast and forceful recruitment of muscles fibers through high velocity, dynamic moves—key for building explosive power, both on and off the running field.
Here is a list of some of the best explosive exercises for runners:
- Squat jumps
- Box jumps
- Kettlebell swings
Here is my full guide to plyometric training.
39. Practice Planking
The core comprises the muscles that connect the upper and lower body. It includes the glutes, lower back, hips and abdominal muscles.
These work in tandem to hold your torso upright and provide stability for your entire kinetic chain while running.
That’s why you MUST do a core strengthening routine two to three times a week.
One of the best exercises I cannot recommend enough is the good old planks.
Not only that, but planks can also help you develop endurance and strength in the shoulders, arms, and back.
40. Test Yourself
To improve your running, you MUST measure it. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea what you are doing.
And what other better way to measure your fitness other than testing it. This is, hands down, the best way to measure your progress, or lack thereof.
How would you know if you’re actually improving or slacking? You can’t without regular testing.
Check my full guide to fitness testing here.
Here are the main tests you should be taking on a monthly basis:
- The 400m Sprint
- The one-mile Run
- The Cooper 12-minute test.
- A 5K distance Run
- A 10K distance Run
The Motivation Tps You Need
41. Build the Habit
There is nothing worse than falling off the fitness wagon after investing so much time and effort into building the right foundation.
Thus, once you reach some of your fitness goals, you have to do all you can to keep your training program going strong.
To stay consistent with your new running routine, make sure to turn it into a habit.
And here is how:
- Use a calendar and book your running sessions the same way you schedule an important family event or work meeting. If it has urgency, then you are more likely to carry through.
- Start running with a friend or training partner. This will boost your motivation and add a sense of accountability to your program, vital for consistency.
- Make the resolution to run for at least three to four times a week for the upcoming 8 to 12 weeks. Then, do what you have to do to never miss a session.
For my guide on habit formation, check this post here.
42. Set Goals
When it comes to running, it’s vital to have something to work towards. And that’s regardless of your training aspirations, be it weight loss, improved performance, stress relief, you name it.
Goals, the right goals, create a benchmark of progress as well as a sense of accomplishment once you start achieving some of them.
That’s why I cannot emphasize the importance of goal setting—even if it’s something you have never consider doing before.
In fact, setting goals is what helped me go from being a complete couch potato to becoming a consistent runner for the past few years.
So, grab a piece, heed my advice, and please start setting fitness goals.
Just don’t get overwhelmed. Your goals do not have to be that big to be effective.
In fact, your running goals can be as simple as doing two to three sessions a week, participating in a fun 5K race, or, walking every day for half an hour.
Here is the golden rule of good goal setting:
Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. And that’s an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related.
For my in-depth article on this topic, check my post here.
43. Run With a Partner
Running is, by definition, not a team sport. It’s solo journey. But that doesn’t have to be that way.
Research shows that peering up with a training buddy can lead to better consistency, help you become more accountable, and exercise a bit harder than you’d when you go alone—all of which can do wonders to your running routine.
In fact, I’d go as far as to claim that training partners might be the most valuable “tools” you can have as a runner.
Therefore, ask a friend, a family member, a gym partner, a college or a sport-conscious (or an already runner) neighbor to run with you.
In case you couldn’t find any suitable partners, then join a local running group or hunt for one online.
44. Chart your Progress
As I have already stated, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
That’s why I cannot stress enough the importance of monitoring your progress (or lack thereof, for that matter).
So, please, keep a written log of your running routine. You don’t need anything fancy – a standard training journal, a spiral notebook or a plain notepad will suffice.
Here are some of the things and factors you need to keep track of:
- Your running times
- Your running distances
- Your heart rate (and its fluctuations)
- Calories burned
- Running routes
- Aches, pains, and injuries
- Cross training workouts and reps.
- Body weight
- Body measurements
For more, especially if you like keeping tabs on numbers and stats, then use excel spreadsheets to create simple charts for tracking your progress.
You can also keep tabs on your progress online, using sites like MapMyRun, DailyMile.com, or RunKeeper.
45. Run to and/or from Work
Finding balance between everyday life obligations, work chores, and a running routine, is no easy feat. This is especially the case if you are burning the candle at both ends.
As a result, instead of running to catch up with the train or bus, try running to or from work. Put the commute time to good use I dare say.
Just whatever you do, make sure you do the following two things:
First of all, plan your run-commute thoroughly. Have everything ready the night before, from clothes, shoes, etc.
Secondly, invest in the right backpack. You might need to think this one through before you make any buying decision. The pack should be runner’s friendly and must not bounce all over the place with every step you take.
Here is my guide to run-commuting.
46. Reward Yourself for your Successes
Rewards, what’s known as positive reinforcement, can be a powerful motivator.
So, when you reach a certain benchmark or achieve a given goal, treat yourself nicely for all of the hard work that you’ve done up until then.
Here are some ideas:
- Buy a new running shirt or shorts
- Have a meal at a nice restaurant
- Netflix your favorite show
- Go on a special trip
- Go to the movies
- Take a long nap
47. Try out Zombies, Run!
For runners looking to turn their everyday workouts into an immersive adventure through a zombie-infested wasteland, look no further than this fantastic gaming app.
The is especially the case if you are running out of steam, and are looking to add a bit of adventure and fun into your runs.
Zombies, Run! is an amazing ultra-immersive app and audio adventure for thriller-seekers runners out there.
Thanks to this game, you’ll be the hero of your very own zombie adventure story. You’ll have to run through various missions while being chased by zombies, as well as collecting the items needed to progress through the game.
That’s the central premise behind Zombies, Run!
48. Listen to the Right Music
Studies have linked music to improved athletic performance, better training experience and superior training consistency.
In other words, music can help you fuel your run.
And it’s not rocket science. All you need is the right playlist for the job.
Here is the golden rule: When picking songs for your running playlist, stick with songs that have an RPM (Beat Per Minute) in the range of 120 to 140.
Here is how:
You can do it manually. A real hassle. I don’t recommend it unless you have a lot of time on your hands to spare. Get a life, please!
Use special websites. These websites have selections that include thousands of songs and playlists tailored to all sorts of runs and events.
RunHundred.com and RunningPlaylist.Com are some of the best websites for this.
49. Get Ready the Night Before
If you’re looking to set your environment up for running success, then lay out your running gear the night before a workout.
Doing so will help eliminate any barriers between you and the workout, save a lot of time, keeping your mornings stress-free and smooth.
And it should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes to get everything set.
So please get everything ready the night before, and that includes:
- Your running clothes, pants, socks, t-shirt, underwear, etc. (or sleep in them if you want to)
- Your water bottle
- Your Music Playlist
- Your pre-run snack
- Your running route
- Your Workout
50. Join Online Fitness Groups and Forums
Online health communities, be it a fitness group, forum, social media website, etc., are all great venues for expanding your social circle and connecting with like-minded fitness folks.
This will help you increase your motivation and give you the push you need to exercise a little bit harder and stay consistent for the long haul.
Thus, build a supportive community around your running program.
Some of the best fitness-oriented online resources include:
- Men’s health
- Runners World Forum
- My fitnessPal
- Cool Running
- Nerd Fitness
- Transformative Fitness
If you are serious about keeping your motivation running high all year-round, set your eyes on racing.
Pick one of the many running related events in your area, whether it’s a fun local 5K race, an obstacle race course, or a serious half-marathon or marathon distance challenge, then pay the registration fees in advance. That way you’ll have leverage on yourself.
Also, make sure that the race fits your fitness level and schedule.
For example, if you’ve never done any sort of running before, then spend a few months preparing for the race—preferably a short distance, such as a 5K or 10K.
Just whatever you do, make sure to commit to a distance that appeals to you and that fits your current fitness level and goals
52. Change the Direction of your Runs
If you run the same route, day in day out, over and over again, then you’ll, sooner than later, get bored and might slack off. And that’s bad for your consistency and overall training experience.
That’s why, dear reader, you gonna have to switch up your running route regularly.
The simplest way is to run your typical route backward every other week.
For more, you can use crowd-sourcing apps like MapMyRun or a web resource like WalkJogRun to find and discover new routes near where you live.
53. Run in the Morning
As I have clearly stated in a previous article, becoming a morning runner was a true godsend. It helped me stay consistent and become the runner I’m today.
That’s not the whole story. Research shows that those who exercise first thing in the morning are more consistent and efficient than the folks who work out later in the day.
Plus, morning runs can also improve your mood, boost productivity, shed more calories, and increase your focus and energy for the rest of the day.
As a result, if it’s all possible, run first thing in the morning.
Here are the golden rules:
- Prepare the night before by laying your workout gear in the open.
- Aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep.
- Place your alarm clock away from your bed.
- Drink plenty of water and have a light pre-run snack before you head out the door.
For my full guide to becoming a morning runner, check my post here.
The Training Form & Technique Tips You Need
54. Work on your Running Form
Proper training form is king—whether when lifting weights in the gym, or on the running track. It can help reduce the risks of injury as well as making your workouts efficient, and more enjoyable.
If you run with bad form, then you are risking all sorts of strains, aches, pains and injuries.
For that, please perform a head-to-toe posture check every five to 10 minutes of running.
Here is what to look for:
- Run tall. Said otherwise, run like you’re a big shot, a person of high status (because actually, you are, aren’t you)
- Keep your head straight, while looking straight ahead of you. And do not look down at your feet. This prevents neck strains and opens the space for easy
- Shoulders. Keep your shoulders relaxed, back, and down. Do not let them tense up toward your ears.
55. Lean Forward
This is something I learned from the Chi Running method, and I believe it’s very helpful.
And here what is all about:
To get the most out of gravity, instead of running with a total upright posture, run with slight forward lean of about 8 to 10 degrees.
By opting for a slight forward lean, your body falls forward with every step you take, which, according to theory, can help propel you forward and increase your stride turnover.
However, mastering the forward lean is easier said than done. And one major mistake I see many runners make is leaning from the waist. Running this way can put a lot of undue pressure on the lower back, and slow you down.
Instead, lean from the ankles, while engaging your core muscles and keeping your spine straight, allowing for no bending in the waist.
56. Keep Your Body Relaxed
As a runner, tension is enemy number one. It wastes energy, triggers bad form and can compromise the quality of your workout, leading to premature fatigue, even injuries.
So, please check your form throughout your run, giving no space for tension to creep into your workout.
Here are the few hacks you need for that:
- Shake your arms and hands every couple of miles. And try rolling your neck forward and backward, then to the sides.
- Imagine that you’re holding an egg in each hand, gently cupping your palm, with the thumb resting on the fingers instead of clenching your fist.
- Breathe deep and consciously let go of tension and discomfort. That’s why you gotta get good at catching yourself in the act. And that requires practice.
57. Pump Your Arms
As a runner, you’re, mainly, relying on your legs to propel you forward.
But that’s not the whole story. Your arms can help, too.
So, to boost your endurance and speed, focus on driving your arms in a fluid motion, forward and backward, aiming for a 90- to 100-degree bend at the elbows.
Do not pump your arms across the midline of your body—doing so wastes energy and tires your muscles, and might also hinder the forward motion of your body.
Also, the elbows should swing anywhere between the waistline and chest.
58. Kill the Bounce
Also known as vertical oscillation, running with a bounce has an enormous negative impact on running economy and speed, according to research.
If your body is moving up and down too much, then you’re wasting a lot of energy and putting undue pressure on your lower body, especially your quads, leading to premature fatigue and soreness.
Here is how to keep it under control:
- Imagine that you’re running under a low roof hovering a few inches above your head. Do not hit the ceiling.
- Land with your foot almost directly below your knees. Do not let your foot land before your knee.
- Focus on a faster leg turnover by running lightly and landing softly on your foot. Think quick steps. Focus on keeping your feet under your knees.
59. Shorten your Stride
According to popular belief, a longer stride means a faster pace, thus a faster finish time.
Of course, there is some truth in that wisdom, but according to running experts doing so can also lead to overstriding, which is a form of inefficient running.
When you overstride, your foot lands on the ground well ahead of your hips, which might increase stress load on your lower body as well as create a braking effect that might hinder performance.
So what’s the solution?
It’s quite simple: shorten your stride.
Shortening your stride can help reduce the braking effect and encourage, instead, a more natural and smooth running gait.
And here is how to do that:
- Focus on springing off from the ground, rather than trying to lengthen your stride length to cover more ground.
- Think short, light foot strikes, and keep shortening your normal stride until you reach that perfect and ideal running cadence.
- Have your knee above your foot, and keep your shin vertical as your foot strikes the ground below you.
- To boost speed, increase your leg turnover, driving your leg back from the hips instead of reaching forward with your foot.
All of this might sound a little bit complicated, but with a little of practice, you’ll be able to wrap your head around it in no time.
60. Increase your Cadence
In running lexicology, cadence stands for the number of steps you take per minute with both feet while running.
And when it comes to improving speed, cadence is a vital factor. Opting for the proper cadence can reduce stress impact on your feet, knees, and ankles, improve running economy and develop proper running form.
So, what is this magical cadence I’m talking about?
Well, according to Jack Daniels (the legendary running guru), optimal cadence for running is roughly 170 to 180 steps per minute.
Of course, your cadence does not have to be exactly 180 throughout your training. In fact, your racing cadence and easy training cadence cannot be the same.
But all in all, that’s a good rule of thumb to follow, and a great number to shoot for.
61. Breathe Rhythmically
Rhythmic breathing is a form of synchronized running/breathing that consists of timing your breaths to your foot strikes.
The right breathing ratio depends, mostly, on your current fitness level and training intensity.
Here is, in a nutshell, how to pick the right ratio:
If you are a complete beginner, start with a 3:3 ratio. This means that you breathe in on three steps—RIGHT foot, LEFT foot, RIGHT foot, then breathe out on the next three steps—LEFT foot, RIGHT foot, LEFT foot.
Ideally, you should be taking in roughly 25 to 30 breaths per minute with this pattern.
This ratio is also ideal for easy (and recovery) runs.
If you feel like this is too slow for you, then opt for a 3:2 ratio: Inhale on the RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT foot strikes, then exhale on the LEFT, RIGHT foot strikes.
A 2:2 ratio is ideal for tempo pace, or whenever you need more push. For the most part, this means cruising at roughly 10K race pace, or a bit slower.
For quality workouts, opt for a 2:1 or even 1:1 ratio.
This might sound like too much to digest but believe me, rhythmic breathing is not that hard to turn into a habit. You just need to stick to it long enough.
Bear in mind that you might need to slow down for the first few weeks to practice this technique.
62. Breathe Deep
To improve performance and stamina, one thing you can do is to learn how to become a “belly breather,” or what’s known as deep, diaphragmatic, breathing.
Most runners are chest breathers, and that’s not the most efficient, nor the healthiest, way to breathe while running.
Doing so increases the risks of hyperventilation and reduces the intake of oxygen while running.
The good news is, deep breathing will help you get more oxygen into the bloodstream. This can boost lung power as well as reduce the risks of side stitches.
Here is my full guide to proper breathing while running.
63. Downhill Running
What goes up must come down, as the saying goes.
Thus, do not forget downhill running.
On the downhill, proper form can improve your performance and reduce post-workout soreness—especially in the quads.
Here is how to do that:
- Stay upright, while keeping your posture perpendicular to the ground beneath you. Do not lean back nor overstride, as doing so creates a sort of braking action. The only exception is on the steepest grades.
- Brace your core to keep control over your body and the hill. Don’t let the hill control you on the way down.
- Do not look straight down. Look ahead while focusing on the line you wish to follow for balance.
- Increase your cadence, aiming for quick, light steps and a fast leg turnover.
64. Let Go of the Handles
Holding onto the handles may help when fatigue starts to set in, but doing so will only compromise your treadmill workout. In fact, one of the most common mistakes I see many beginners make.
Doing so may align your body in an abnormal way, leading to discomfort, even injury, especially in the hips, lower back, knees, and shoulders. And you don’t want that.
Instead, fight the temptation to grab onto the handrail for support, and keep swinging your arms back and forward while engaging your core for a complete total body workout.
This will not only help you keep good form on the treadmill, but it will also engage your core and burn more calories.
The Diet Tips You Need
65. Have a Pre-run Meal (or Snack)
The main goal behind a pre-run meal is to give you a boost of energy to run strong without leaving you with a troubled stomach on the road.
For a proper pre-run meal, focus on high-quality carbs and low-fiber, low-fat foods.
So, how long before a session can you (or should you), consume something?
Well, there is no easy answer for this one. But as a general guideline, consume at least 250 to 300 calories if you have an hour or more before a run.
Nonetheless, eat no more than 140 calories if you’ve no more than half an hour before a run. This might be the case if you’re running early in the morning and don’t want to go out the door on an empty stomach.
66. Post-Run Eating
The foods you consume immediately following a run are crucial for optimizing recovery and energy renewal.
Hence, your post-run meal should score high on protein—to help repair muscles and speed up recovery —and the good carbohydrates—to replenish your glycogen stores and get your body for the next run.
Here are three of my favorite post-workout meals:
- Chocolate milk. The mix of carbohydrates (chocolate) and protein (milk) is the right dose for refueling your weary body. In fact, consuming the stuff following a workout can increase muscle protein synthesis, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Fruit salad. This will not only help you replenish your energy stores with the needed energy, but also help break down the nutrients. Plus, the mix of fruits delivers a healthy punch of enzymes—anti-inflammatory properties that speed up recovery.
- Omelet. Eggs’ white delivers a healthy punch proteins and key amino acids, which can help you rebuild damaged tissues after strenuous exercise.
67. Hydrate Properly
Staying well hydrated is key to optimal running performance, research shows.
Dehydration can lead to all sorts of serious issues such as headaches, premature fatigue, muscle cramping, decreased coordination, heat exhaustion, etc.
So, drink plenty of the good old H2O, both in cold weather and warm.
As a runner, and as a general guideline, you need, at least, 12 to 16 glasses of water a day.
Of course, this rule is not written in stone.
The exact amount of water you need depends, mostly, on your age, body weight, gender, fitness level, training distance/intensity, sweat rate, physiology and outdoor temperature.
That’s why I highly recommend that you stay well hydrated throughout the day.
68. Look At your Pee
Dehydration happens when your body has inadequate fluids to function appropriately.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but research shows that dehydration can lead to decreased performance, premature fatigue, seizures, blood clots, even death.
To check for signs of dehydration, look at your pee.
As a rule of thumb, you should be drinking enough water throughout the day for your urine to be a light straw color, or mostly clear with a tinge of yellow.
However, if the pee is chardonnay, yellow, or orange, then you are clearly dehydrated.
69. Get More Iron
Iron is a vital component of the body’s red blood cells. These contain hemoglobin, and they are crucial for transporting oxygen to various muscles and tissues.
Hence, if you are running low on this mineral, you’ll produce fewer red blood cells, leading to a reduction in hemoglobin level, which, in turn, hinders proper oxygen delivery.
Some of the best food sources of the stuff include egg yolk, lean meat, dark green leafy vegetables, lean meat, dried fruits, legumes and whole grains. Also, go for iron-enriched or fortified cereals and bread.
To top it off, make sure to consume these iron-rich foods with vitamin C (think orange juice) to improve absorption.
70. Have a Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are runners-friendly beverages that score high on both carbohydrates and electrolytes. These two ingredients are vital for staying well fueled and hydrated during intense aerobic activity.
So, please have a sports drink for runs over an hour. Aim for at least 30 to 50 grams of carb each hour spent running. Just keep in mind that 8 oz. of a typical sports drink might contain roughly 16 grams of carb.
During a long run, aim for taking in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 to 30 minutes spent running.
Some of the best brands include Gatorade, HEED, PowerBar Perform and GU Roctane.
If money is an issue, then the next tip will come in handy
71. Make your Own Sport Drink
I make my own sports drinks using whole foods and natural ingredients, and I’m loving it.
By doing so, I’m saving a lot of money while choosing a healthier path by going for more natural, whole ingredients.
And for more icing on the cake, making your own sports drinks is easier than you might think. You just need the right ingredients and a bit of spirit of experimentation. That’s all.
Here are the main ingredients required to make a healthy and energy boosting sports drinks:
- Coconut oil
- Strawberries and the like.
If you can get your hands on three or four of the above ingredient than you are 90 percent through.
72. Banish GI Issues
Gastrointestinal issues are pretty common among runners from all training backgrounds and fitness levels. And they can be an actual hindrance to performance and training enjoyment.
To prevent them do the following:
- Steer clear of large meals within two to three before a workout.
- Avoid eating anything within a half an hour of start running.
- Avoid foods that trigger acid reflux. Foods like tomatoes, caffeine, and the sort, during hard training days.
Instead, as I always say, keep it simple. Go for light, low-fiber foods such as whole-wheat toast, a banana, or plain oatmeal.
Furthermore, if you are looking for a quick boost of fuel, sip a sports drink or have an energy smoothie.
Here is my full guide to dealing with GI problems while running.
73. Eat this to Prevent Stress Fractures
Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a runner other than hearing the words “Stress Fractures.”
Nonetheless, a little tweak to your diet can drastically reduce the risks of the injury, according to research.
The five main nutrients are:
- Some of the best sources include cheese, dark leafy green, bok choy, okra, green beans, broccoli, almonds and low-fat milk. In case your diet is low on calcium, or have a bad history of stress fractures then consider taking a daily 500-mg calcium carbonate supplements.
- Magnesium. Some of the best sources include seeds, broccoli, sesame, pumpkin, dark chocolate, nuts, and almonds.
- Vitamin D. Good sources are organic eggs, fish, oysters, cod liver oil and mushrooms.
- Vitamin K. foods high in this nutrient include dark leafy greens, dry herbs, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
- Also known as folic acid. Some of the excellent sources include spinach, orange juice, lentils, broccoli and garbanzo beans.
Here is my full guide to treating and preventing stress fractures.
The Injury Prevention Tips You Need
74. Strength Train
As a runner, you MUST strength train on a regular basis.
Why might you ask?
Well, strength training is good for runners for two focal reasons:
(1) To boost strength in key running muscles, especially the calves, the hamstrings, the quads and the core. And the stronger your muscles, the faster and the more power your body will generate with each step you take.
(2) To fix muscle imbalances. According to research, when one muscle group is relatively weaker (or stronger) than the opposite group, it can lead to all sorts of overuse injuries, such as Runners Knee, ITBS, Stress Fractures, etc.
Other benefits you can reap from following a regular strength routine is improved running form, improved bone density, weight loss, better joint mobility, etc.
In other words, strength training is the backbone of great running training.
If you are shunning the weight room, then you’re hindering your own performance, and you’ll, sooner or later, get sidelined by injury.
75. Foam Roll
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, and it’s, by far, the cheapest way to get a massage in the comfort of your home.
Foam rolling releases stiff muscles and helps keep the connective tissues in the muscles—known as fascia—happy and loose.
It also prepares your body for stretching by breaking down “muscle knots” that limit the range of motion.
Not only that, but research also shows that foam rolling boosts circulation, which is key for speeding up recovery.
Here is my foam rolling routine. Feel free to steal it and do it whenever you have 15 to 20 minutes to spare.
76. Do not Run Through Pain
As a runner, the last thing you want is getting injured.
It’s a nightmare—especially if you are serious about your running. Injuries mean time off of the running track, sitting on the sofa and feeling depressed and defeated.
And it’s actually quite easy to get injured: just run too much without heeding your body’s signals of pain and discomfort.
So, please know your limits. Every runner has an injury threshold. It could be 20 miles a week, or a 100 but once you go over it, you get injured. Like clockwork.
Also, do not ignore your body’s signals of pain and discomfort—that’s your body’s reaction to overuse or impending injury.
Plus, learn how to better tell between productive pain, or what you may call soreness, and unproductive pain, pain as result of an incurring injury.
77. Have Some R.I.C.E
The R.I.C.E method should be your first line of defense against common running pains and injuries.
According to the current theory, the R.I.C.E. method can soothe pain, limit swelling and shield damaged tissues against further injury. All of this can set the ground for a faster healing rate.
And here is what is all about:
- R for Rest: Cut back on your running, even take a couple of days or even more off, to allow for proper healing. Cross train if the activity of your choice does not lead to any pain.
- I for Ice: Apply ice using an ice pack—whether it’s a bag of frozen beans or a baggie filled with water and ice cubes—for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
- C for Compression: Compress the injured limb—either using an elastic bandage, a Tubegrip, etc. This can further decrease inflammation and provide pain relief. Just make sure that it’s not too tight that it restricts movement.
- E for Elevation: Elevate the affected area by raising it above the level of your chest to limit swelling.
78. Know When (and where) Not To Run
Consistent training is vital for successful running.
Not only that, discipline, over a relatively long period of time, is what success is made of. But, if you want to become a great runner, then know when it’s time to break this rule.
Here a few instances in which you should skip a workout:
- Never run through pain. Check tip 76 for that.
- If you exhibit any overtraining warning signs, including elevated heart rate, chronic fatigue, high injury rate, unwanted weight loss, and reduced training performance, etc.
- If you show signs of extreme dehydration.
- If you don’t feel safe—especially at night and/or when running in unfamiliar, unpatrolled areas.
- During harsh weather conditions—be it when it’s too hot, or when it’s too cold outside. Check the National Weather Service as well as the heat index chart.
During these times you can take your run indoor, cross train, or take a few days off from the training.
80. Plan Recovery into your Training Program
Recovery matters, period.
In fact, I’d go as far to state that proper recovery is as important as the training itself.
Proper recovery will not only help you dodge overtraining and injury, but can also improve performance and get you on the right track for the long haul.
In short, you’re only as good a runner as you recovery routine.
To ensure proper recovery, one measure you must take is to take a recovery week every fourth or fifth week of intense of training.
During your recovery week, cut back on mileage, cross train. During this week, reduce your total volume by up to 20 to 40 percent from the last week total achieved. Or stop exercising altogether, to allow for full recovery.
Here is my full guide to running recovery.
81. Get More Sleep
During sleep, our body releases the growth hormone—which is vital for stimulating muscle growth, speeding up recovery, as well as improving fat burning and bone-building.
Without this hormone, you’re doomed.
By the same token, sleep deprivation can interfere with this process, increasing the risks of injury and compromising performance.
Therefore, make sleep a priority.
As a general guideline, the average person must get, at least, 7 to 8 hours of high quality and uninterrupted sleep.
But according to most running experts, the official rule is to sleep an extra minute per night for every mile per week.
Hence, if you are running, let’s say, 35 miles a week, you should shout for 35 extra minutes of sleep each night.
Another measure you can take to make sure you’re getting enough sleep is to go to bed and wake up close to the same time every day.
We are, after all, creatures of habits, and our bodies (biological clocks to be more precise) responds well to routines.
82. Do Injury Prevention Exercises
Most runners have an area of weakness that gets sore or injured more than often.
Fortunately, by developing an injury-proofing routine, you could drastically slash your risks of discomfort and injury.
So, commit to addressing your weak, oft-injured, areas, whether it’s your knees, your hips, shins or plantar fascia.
For the most part, all you need to do is a regular strength program for that area, along with some foam rolling work, stretching and massage.
According to my experience and research, one major area that needs your attention as a runner is the glutes and hips area.
In fact, research shows that most running injury often stems from weakness in the hip region. Examples of injuries include Runners Knee, ITBS, hamstring pulls, piriformis syndrome, shin splints, foot issues.
84. Do this to Prevent Runners Knee
Runners Knee is, hands down, one of the most notorious running injuries out there.
According to research published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, adding strength and stability to the kinetic chain through core strength training can slash the risks of injury.
That’s why, especially if you have a bad history of knee pain, you should do plenty of exercises that target your core. These are the muscles around your trunk, the abs, the glutes and hip muscles, as well as the quads and the stabilizing muscles surrounding your knees.
Here are 4 of the most commonly prescribed moves for preventing Runners’ knee. Do these as often as you possible.
- Side Leg Lifts
- Wall Sits
85. Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is the bane of many runners.
Good news is, you can reduce the risks of developing this condition by doing some in-house self-massage on a golf, or tennis, ball.
And here is how
Place a tennis ball on the floor, then gently roll it under your foot for a few minutes to loosen up your plantar fascia, which, in turn, reduces the risks of inflammation and/or irritation.
As you roll the ball under your foot, apply pressure where needed. Roll it around your plantar fascia and put a little bit more pressure on any hot area that feels sore or “scrunchy”.
If you come up such a spot, put more pressure on it for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
But never do too much.
For more, you can keep the ball in the freezer, then step down on it first thing in the morning—especially if you’ve any post-run plantar pain.
87. Do this to Prevent ITBS
The Iliotibial Band Syndrome is a condition of inflammation that affects the iliotibial band. This is the thick fibrous band of connective tissues that runs down the outside of the thigh, from the pelvis to the knees.
And this is a common affliction among both beginners and seasoned runners.
The good news is that you can reduce the risks of ITBS by stretching your IT band on a regular basis.
And here is one of the best stretches out there:
While assuming a standing position, cross your right leg behind and lean toward your left leg, while extending your arms overhead with the fingers intertwined.
Here is my full guide to treating and preventing ITBS.
89. Test Your Balance
Do you have a bad history of ankle sprains?
If your answer is yes, then you might need some balance training in your life.
Balance training can strengthen your ankle and the surrounding supporting muscles for more control while running, which can reduce the risks of ankle sprains and other injuries.
Here is my full guide to dealing with ankle sprains.
Here are some of the best balance exercises out there
- One leg balance with eyes open
- Leg swings
- Lunge steps
- One leg balance with eyes closed
- One leg balance on a pillow, or any other unstable surface
90. Work your Toes
Shin splints are the general term for pain that occurs on the anterior and/or posterior tendons and muscles of the lower leg.
Research shows that specified strength training can help you reduce the risks of the injury. More precisely, the calves and the muscles surrounding the shins and the lower legs.
Here are the best exercises for preventing shin splints:
- Toe Lifts
- Heel Raises
- Calf Raises
- Leg Presses
- Toe Lunges
91. Take Care of your Feet
As a runner, your feet can take quite beating. They are, literally, the single point of contact with the ground, and the foundation of every step you take.
If you ignore proper feet health, it won’t be long before you are sidelined by pain and injury.
That’s why you need to take good care of your feet.
Here are some of the measures you need to take:
- Trim your toenails on a regular basis—not too short or too long.
- Run in the right shoes.
- Take care of your blisters (check this guide for that).
- Massage your feet using a tennis ball or get a professional massage.
- Ice your feet on the onset of any post-run pain
- Do regular strength foot training routine.
92. Banish Blisters
Blisters can quickly turn an enjoyable run (or race) into a death march. They’re painful, and they suck big time!
Yet, most cases of running blisters are easily avoidable.
To prevent them, minimize friction inside of your running shoe.
And here is how:
- Run in the proper running shoes. They should comfortably fit, with roughly a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Tight shoes can lead to blisters on top of the toes, while, on the other hand, shoes that are too wide might cause blisters on the tips of the toes—these.
- Opt for the right socks. They should fit slickly, with no extra fabric at the heels or the end of the toes.
- Cover your blisters with duct tape to help you get you through a long run or race.
- If you have a bad history of foot blisters while running, then consider lacing up your shoes in the way shown in this awesome YouTube tutorial.
93. Avoid Side Stitches
Consuming a large amount of high-fat, high-fiber foods shortly before a workout has been correlated with side stitches, according to research.
Therefore, avoid heavy meals for at least three to four hours before running.
If you have a “slow” digestive system (just like I do), then have at least a light snack 60 to 90 minutes before your workout.
Also, avoid fatty and high-fiber foods. These foods take longer to digest, and make the stomach feel heavier. They are also linked with gastrointestinal issues, such as side cramps, nausea, workout stomach.
Here is my full guide to side stitche.
94. Stop Chafing
For an enjoyable running experience, chafing should be avoided like the plague.
Some of the most common afflicted areas include the inner thighs, the underarms, and the nipples.
Yet, chafing can take place almost anywhere friction occurs, where too loose clothes round up and rub the wrong way.
The best way to prevent this is to restrict movement in key problem areas via wearing compression apparel.
Opt for a pair of compression shorts, preferably made from sweat-wicking fabrics. Also, some of the brands have ventilation “spots” that target key problem areas, such as the inner thighs, the butt, and the crotch.
You can also reduce the risks of a chafing flare-up by lubing up hot spots, mainly the feet, the inner thighs, underarms, nipples, along with, ladies, the line of your sports bra.
95. Face Traffic
As a runner, traffic is the biggest source of worry while exercising outdoor—especially if you’re a city dweller, and/or run when it’s dark outside.
We all hear about tragic pedestrian deaths due to traffic, so don’t let yourself be just another statistic. And as a runner, you’re just a pedestrian on full speed. Better safe than sorry.
The best way to handle traffic to run against it, except on blind corners where visibility is briefly limited. In fact, this road rule can save your life.
By running against traffic, you’ll’ be more alert and have enough time to react and perform any last maneuver, and avoid any danger you might face.
For the full list of staying safe while running outdoor, check my post here.
96. Be Trail Courteous
If you are a trail running junkie, then I highly urge you to follow trail running etiquette and rules. These principles are vital for promoting environment-friendly running.
Here they are:
- Stay on the trail. Run on well-marked trail paths that already exist. If you find yourself running too many obstacles, then you might be heading in the wrong direction.
- Yield to other trails users, be it a hiker, a mountain biker, an equestrian, so on and so forth.
- Make your presence known to trails users when you are about to pass them. Make some noise and never assume that they’re aware of your existence.
- Stay watchful on blind curves and corners.
- Show respect to private property along your running route.
- Reduce your footprint and don’t litter. Make your way through a puddle, not around them.
- Respect wild animals. You are the intruder after all.
- Keep it on a leash. If you are running with a dog, then be sure to keep it and under control the entire time.
The “Running For Life” Tips You Need
97. Keep it Simple
Yes. I have just shared with you a long list of some of the best running tips and guidelines that there is. And by now, you must be feeling quite overwhelmed.
But don’t let that get the best of you.
Here is your new motto: keep it simple, stupid.
Make that your motto whenever you are trying to improve your running performance—or whenever you go after any other worthy goal.
Overthinking and trying to wait for the perfect moment will only get you stuck in your own ways. So, do not overanalyze this whole training process.
There is no such thing as the perfect running plan.
There is no such thing as the perfect diet.
All you have to do is to know yourself, set the right goals, and embrace the learning process—with its ups and downs.
One of the biggest mistake runners make is trying to change everything overnight. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead, the gradual approach is about taking small steps, then building on them one step at a time until you achieve your fitness vision.
Yes, of course, you can always think big, but you need to act small if you’re really serious about reaching your destination.
98. Don’t Take Running Too Seriously
I love running. I mean, I love it so much that I spend a great deal of my time doing it and writing about it.
But I also have a life. At least, I’m trying…
Running, and exercise in general, should be something that works in tandem with other important things in your life.
Not the other way around.
So, please don’t let running take over your life. Do not take running too seriously (unless you are professional athletes making a living out of it).
Your miles do not define you. Your pace does not define you. Your running times are not you.
You are where you’re supposed to be as a runner (and as a human being).
99. Learn from Your Mistakes
If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough. You’re only wasting your time and setting yourself for setbacks.
So, please, feel free to make as many mistakes. After all, failure is not such a bad thing—unless, of course, you’re letting it hold you back from doing what you have to do.
They are vital for showing you the road to success. They are the signposts you need to get where you want to go.
Without them, you’ll be just running, literally, in circles, inside of your established comfort zone.
To make the most out of this, learn from your mistakes.
For instance, if you have a bad history of knee injury, then rethink your training approach and assess what you did wrong. Be your own detective.
My best recommendation is to keep track of what you do on the running track, and the kitchen is to keep a daily journal.
100. Be Consistent
“The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” -Benjamin Disraeli
In the end, what separates between an average runner and a great athlete is, without a shadow of a doubt, consistency.
Of course, the above steps, training guidelines are some of the best in the world.
But they amount to nothing if you do not practice them (or at least, some of them) on a consistent basis.
In fact, I’d go as far as to claim that consistency is the crane of success. It’s the most vital piece of every training program and any other worthy long life pursuit.
Without consistency, you are not going to build your endurance.
You are not going to lose weight.
You are not going to build a better body.
You are not going to get faster.
You are not going to achieve any running/health goals.
You are not going to do jack squat.
On the flip side, once you achieve a certain level of consistency with your training program, the sky is the limit. Your running program will never be the same.
See, knowledge is one thing. But applying that knowledge in the real world on a consistent basis is an entirely different beast.
If you are coming back after an extended running layoff, then you’ll have to rebuild your conditioning back up.
That’s why, to take your running skill to the next level, you MUST keep your training consistent, for the long haul.
101. Runners Run
In the end, the best way to become a good runner is, wait for it …to run more.
So, you gotta run for more.
You know the deal: If you want to become a good writer, you need to write.
If you want to get better at selling, you need to sell more.
If you want to get stronger, you need to lift more weights.
If you want to improve your running, you need, of course, you MUST run.
There is no way around it.
That’s the only way to achieve your running goals whether you dream running for a half an hour without fainting, losing an X amount of pounds, or becoming a competitive long distance athlete.
It’s all about the action you take.