Regardless of whether you run on the regular or are just starting out, it’s easy to overlook some of the basics that make you a better runner. A reminder on how to improve on some part of your training never hurts, so we’ve compiled our top ten tips to give you a running start on beating your PBs and hitting your targets.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be perfecting your technique in no time.
1. Set a goal
Most successful runners will tell you that setting a goal will help keep you motivated. Just make sure it’s achievable and enjoyable, so you reach it and move on to bigger things and bask in that glorious sense of accomplishment. And if you’re the type to set lofty goals and then quit once you lose momentum, why not create a Commitment and invite motivators? That way, when your friends call you out on slacking and cheer you on when you’re crushing it, you’ll be less likely to quit.
2. Maintain your rhythm
You’ve probably been there – finding yourself running at an awesome pace, thinking “I’m on fire!” only to have to stop short a few minutes into your I’m-gonna-pass-out pace because you can’t keep it up. See, the thing is, you may start out feeling like upping your pace immediately will help you improve faster. But actually, opting to use interval training instead and having the Audio Coach guide you is a better choice to help you attain and maintain a faster pace over time.
3. Buddy up
Running can be more of a solo sport for some, but there are definitely many perks to finding a friend or two to take on the road together. First off, making plans to run with someone else keeps you accountable (especially if you’re tagging each other on the workout). Secondly, it’s just plain fun to have someone to help you keep your pace and chat with during your workout. The more you enjoy your run, the more rewarding it will be.
4. Keep moving
Warming up your muscles correctly before your run and doing a proper post-run cool down could help you avoid getting injured. Pre-run warm-up workouts that help improve your mobility and doing an active post-run cool down (walking or jogging) are highly recommended, since doing this as part of your routine can get your muscles in shape and better equipped to handle the impact of your runs.
5. Run, recover, repeat
If there’s one mantra that anyone who’s ever gotten really good at something will annoyingly echo, it’s “practice makes perfect”. Well, it’s sticking around for good reason – it works. If you want to improve your distance or pace, you can’t be a slacker. You have to make it a point to get out there at least 2-3 times a week so you can maintain a training tempo and see improvement gradually. One easy way to nail this is by creating a personal training plan to help you build the perfect schedule as you train for your goal.
6. Perfect your stride
There are a surprising amount of studies conducted on stride length, yet the jury’s still out on a “golden rule”. However, you can improve your stride by upping your cadence, so that you don’t overreach. One study suggests that if you keep your cadence above 180 steps per minute, you could potentially reduce your risk of injury from landing shock. Another important step to improve your step: land mid-foot (not on your heels!) so you can gently roll forward into your next stride.
7. Master your breathing
Inhale, exhale. Seems pretty basic, right? Well, not exactly. If you plan on going the distance, you should probably start practicing the art of deep breathing. Training your lungs is as important as training your other muscles, so practice belly breathing to optimize how much oxygen you take in. It will help you go stronger for longer.
8. Don’t overeat
Yes, we know you’re hangry ‘cause you’re feeling famished from the amount of calories you’re burning. It’s totally normal to feel hungrier when you start upping your distance or speed, but you shouldn’t down an entire buffet to satisfy that craving. Be selective about what you eat and when you do it. Aim for light meals before runs to avoid an upset stomach. Eventually, your body will adjust to the calorie burn and intake and stop saying “feed me!” all the time. Speaking of which…
9. Fuel up right
Here’s some food for thought. Your performance depends not only on your technique or practice, but on how you fuel up for your training. Opt for meals and snacks packed with protein and a healthy helping of carbs and make sure you don’t skip meals. You should be aiming for a 3:1 ratio of protein to carbs. Our top picks include eggs for breakfast, bananas for while you’re running, chocolate milk for post-run recovery and Greek yogurt for anytime as a great protein-rich snack. Remember to track it with MyFitnessPal to make sure you’re checking off all those key nutrients.
10. Stay hydrated
Even though you know this one, we can’t help reminding you about the importance of drinking enough water. If you’re planning on entering a race, you should be hydrating well in advance. But for your usual workouts, an hour before a long run, try to drink at least 2 cups of water. Then, while you’re running, a good rule of thumb is to sip as you go – meaning, that you should be sipping on water or sport drinks every 20 minutes during the run to avoid getting dehydrated. Listen to your body and quench your thirst accordingly, before during and after your run.
We hope these tips inspire you to get your running kicks on, grab your phone, and start tracking your next run.
Got some more tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
Free your endorphins!
The Endomondo Team