Secrets to better running
Hang around serious runners enough and you’ll pick up a few tidbits—how to pace yourself, which routes have the cleanest bathrooms, what to wear when the weather is changing more rapidly than a Twitter feed. We asked coaches, trainers, nutritionists and veteran runners to share their strategies. Steal them to run longer, feel lighter and stay injury-free.
Run every day
Consistency is key to a successful program. A daily run helps improve your body’s ability to burn fat, along with your biomechanics. It also teaches your mind to blast through any challenge, whether it’s physical or mental.
Give yourself a reason
I started as a Team in Training charity runner, having lost loved ones to cancer. When I’m struggling with my training plans, I remember those who are still fighting their battles, those who have survived in part because of the money raised and those who have been taken from us.
Invest in comfort
Get a good sports bra or you’ll feel it with every step. Body Glide balm and socks, too. Nothing kills a run like a blister about to pop.
Finish runs feeling strong and happy, not worn-out. It’ll keep you coming back for more and help you reduce injury risk.
Find your sweet spot
Write down your workouts, then color-code how they made you feel: yellow for amazing, orange for just OK and red for total crap. It’s a visual way of seeing how your body responds and will help you pick up patterns. For example, if you’re always orange or red around your period, that’s a sign that you should be doing lighter workouts on those days.
Use a foam roller three times a week to improve flexibility—it helps reduce injury better than static stretching.
Always dress to run like it’s 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it is. As soon as you get out there and get moving, you’ll warm up and be glad you didn’t put on so many layers.
Put off partying
Steer clear of happy hour the day or two before a race or big training session. Alcohol significantly impairs sleep quality and hydration levels, as well as recovery.
In order to get stronger, your body needs time to rebuild. Mix easy days with tough, and avoid pushing when your body needs a break.
Forget the speedsters
Compare yourself with yourself. There will always be someone faster and leaner and who looks more like a runner than you do. Focus on the improvements you want to make for yourself.
Down a cup of coffee
For seasoned runners, having caffeine before running has been shown to make workouts seem easier—and help the body burn calories more efficiently. Aim for about 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight: For a 150-pound woman, that’s about the amount in a 16-ounce coffee.
Mind that incline
Never accelerate down a hill. The breaking forces on your body can destroy your knees.
Be a social runner
Running can be such a solitary pursuit, but there is a real benefit to making a connection with others and no better way to do that than by running together. Websites like meetup.com can help you find local groups. Or you can just stop in at your local running store and ask.”
Talk to others about running
Tell people your goal. Post it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Call your mama. Putting yourself on blast keeps you accountable.
Just race already
Set a goal to complete a longer race (13.1 miles, 26.2). The crossing of the finish will change your life!
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