Everybody wants that elusive “runner’s high” feeling. Of course, sometimes the journey of getting there is less than euphoric.
Endurance isn’t something that can be built in a day. However, when you have the right tools in your belt, that process can definitely be speedier. What you do before and after your run is nearly as important as the actual exercise itself.
We put together some advice to help you avoid the common pitfalls of runners. Say goodbye to discouraging problems such as shin splints, blisters, and “hitting the wall” by equipping yourself with these 100 killer running tips.
Best running tips
- Run hills to burn fat faster and reduce injury. Uphill running activates 9% more muscle per stride that running at the same pace on level ground.
- Loosen your grip! Allowing your hands to loosen up translates into reduced tension in the shoulders and less wasted energy.
- Finish your run fast. Pushing your limits means that the neuromuscular system is most likely to discover more efficient ways to move.
- Run around the clock. For perfect running form, your legs should move like the hands on a clock. This circular motion mimics cycling and allows fast turnover.
- Empty your mind while you run. Not focusing on your body as you run will help you evolve the stride that is most economical for your body.
- Whether you’re running for time or distance, finishing faster than you started delivers a huge psychological boost. Time the first half of your run and try to beat that time on the second half.
- Do plyometric moves like the box jumps to increase stiffness in your legs during impact – a good thing for runners.
- Match your stride to your breath, not the other way around. This fixes side stitch issues, allowing you to run faster and more efficiently.
- Listen to your body. If something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off to recover.
- Remember to replace your running shoes once they’ve covered 400-500 miles. Consider them trashed when the spring is gone.
Running tips for beginners
- Breathing is the number 1 thing that beginners do wrong. Slow down your breathing, relax a little, and you might find running a bit easier.
- New to running? Lead with your chest. Imagine there’s a string tied to your sternum that pulls your forward as you run.
- Remember to start every run with 10 minutes of walking and slow running, and do the same to cool down.
- A great tip if you’re new to running. Run at a pace where you can still talk in complete sentences.
- Don’t forget to take at least one easy day after every hard day of training, so that you avoid injury and give your body time to rest.
- Just starting out? Try to run 8 to 15 kilometres per week. This significantly increases your aerobic capacity, and positively affects many of the coronary risk factors.
- Accept the challenge! Everyone is an athlete. You just have to find your stride and go at your pace. Don’t try to match someone else when starting out – you’ll just get disheartened.
- Remember! Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare, still go. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all.
- Three reasons to run at noontime…lots of daylight, a way to avoid eating a heavy lunch, and a break from a monotonous workday.
- Run through annoyance, but not through pain. Make sure you listen to your body, and pay attention to what it’s telling you.
Running tips for men
- To withstand the rigors of running in the long term, make sure you strengthen your core and legs by incorporating cross training into your workouts.
- To improve your running, do some cross training, so that you can work on stretching and flexibility. This will help prevent injuries as well as make you a better runner.
- Contrary to popular belief, you should breathe through both your nose and your mouth when you’re running. Keep your mouth slightly open, and relax your jaw muscles.
- If you get a stitch while running, breathe deeply, whilst concentrating on pushing all of the air out of your abdomen. This will stretch out your diaphragm and ease the cramp.
- If you always feel out of breath when you run, you’re running too fast. Slow down, concentrate on breathing from deep down in your belly and, if you have to, take walking breaks.
- Bored of your usual running routes? Why not try something different and go trail running. It will challenge you in a different way and will get you out of your comfort zone…and into nature. Give it a go!
- Do you usually get your miles in on a treadmill? That’s fine, but to better simulate the effort of outdoor running, you can set your treadmill at a 1% incline, increasing and decreasing it during your run.
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes. They are designed to help your foot strike the ground properly, reducing the amount of shock that travels up your leg, and are made to fit your foot snugly, which reduce the chance of blisters.
- Remember! Some discomfort is normal as you add distance and intensity to your training, but real pain is not normal. If the pain is so bad it makes you limp or alter your stride…stop running and take a few days off.
- Men tend to be tighter and less flexible than women, so a good way to warm up to your run is by doing dynamic stretches. They will activate your muscles and will most likely improve your running time.
Running tips for women
- To run effectively, you need foods that will boost performance, stimulate muscle repair, meet your specific XX chromosome needs and keep you healthy. Try oatmeal, edamame, dried fruit and green tea.
- Running regularly can help give you more muscle definition in the legs, especially if you throw in some hill repeats, plyometrics and strength training into your runs – which are also great ideas to help you stay injury free!
- Build up your runs gradually. Doing too much, too soon is a guaranteed way to get burnt out and drastically increase your risk of injury.
- When running, some women are heel strikers, while others hit the ground with the front part of the foot. Just go with whatever feels natural to you.
- Make sure you have a good quality sports bra that you can wear when running. It should provide plenty of support, but it should never be uncomfortably tight. Make sure you find one that works for you and your shape.
- Running is a state of mind. The only thing that determines your success is the way you think about your running. If it works for you, then it doesn’t matter what any other person or any stopwatch says about your running. Never forget that.
- For women, controlled anaerobic training, such as intervals, can lead to gains in strength and speed similar to those produced by steroids, but without the noxious side effects. Give it a go!
- Are you pregnant? Don’t worry! If your body is used to running pre-pregnancy, then you’re fine to continue as long as you are able to. However, don’t push it too hard and make sure that you avoid getting overheated.
- Enter a race! You don’t have to be the competitive type, it can be fun and social, and it will motivate you to keep on running.
- Since women generally have narrower feet than men, make sure you’re buying running shoes that are designed specifically for women.
Running tips lose weight
- If you want to burn fat and improve your running performance you’ll have to push yourself, such as incorporating high-intensity interval training into your runs.
- Fast running burns more calories than slow running, but slow running burns more calories than just about any other activity. In short, nothing will help you to lose weight, and then keep it off, the way running does.
- Hit the hills to burn more calories. For every degree of incline, you get about a 10% increase in total calories burnt, so a gentle hill will burn about 50% more calories!
- Add shuttle runs to your running sessions. You’ll torch fat, as well as building explosive speed and agility.
- Looking to lose weight? Try stair running! It’s one of the best fat burning and overall conditioning exercises you can do.
- Trying to lose weight? Do 20 minutes of strength training before you run. You’ll have used up your glycogen stores, which means that when you follow that with a run, you’ll be burning fat instead.
- Change it up! The body adapts to exercise, so the key to fat loss is to keep it guessing. If you tend to do high-intensity runs, why not throw in a longer run at lower intensity once a week.
- Run before you eat! It will help you burn more fat. Just make sure you don’t work so hard that you feel light-headed or nauseous.
- Remember! Running more shouldn’t mean eating more. It’s an easy mistake to make, but if your goal is weight loss, you want those calories burned to toward building a deficit where the body pulls the calories reserves (fat!) in our body.
- If you want to reduce your fat stores, don’t eat or drink anything containing sugar after your run. It will interfere with your metabolism and slow down the “after burn” effect, where your body continues to burn calories even after you finish running.
5k running tips
- To master the 5k distance, you need to find the perfect blend between speed and endurance so you can maintain a torrid pace for the entire race.
- If you want to run a faster 5k, you have to practice running faster. Add 80m sprints into your training schedule, and build up from there.
- Hills require strength and endurance, so if you practice them during your training, you’ll develop speed and muscle power, which will certainly improve your performance in a 5k.
- Running alone won’t necessarily increase your 5k time. Strengthen the muscles that make you move so your actions will be more powerful and more efficient. Introduce strength training moves that target your shins, calves, quads, glutes and core.
- Running a 5k soon? Get a map of the course and practice running it to familiarize yourself with the hills, curves, and mile markers. This knowledge will give you confidence and an added advantage.
- Make sure you drink 400-600 millilitres of fluid 2-3 hours before you run a 5k.
- Start out your 5k strong! Approach the first part of the race at a slightly faster pace than normal, and you may see a result of a shorter overall time.
- Don’t forget to warm up before your 5k. Do some brisk walking or light jogging 25 minutes before the race to prevent injury and wake up your muscles.
- Eat a low-fibre meal that contains protein and easily digestible 1-2 hours before you run a 5k. Something like peanut butter on a banana works well.
- During a 5k, focus on moving efficiently and with minimal effort on the flat parts. That way you can conserve energy for any uphill parts of the course.
Marathon running tips
- Training for a marathon? Try to build up to and run at least one 24 kilometres before a marathon. It will help you get prepared for running the real deal.
- The best way to race to a personal best during a marathon is to maintain an even pace from start to finish.
- First marathon? Your goal should be completion, not a time on the clock! You’ll have chances in the future to crush those goals. So just take it all in and try to enjoy the experience.
- When race day nerves set in, remind yourself how much you have already accomplished, and visualize and expect success. The more you do that, the more likely it is to happen!
- It is very easy to go out blazing fast because of the adrenaline of race day. But remember to stick to your own pace. This will make it easier for you when you get to the last few miles of the race.
- Make sure that you drink water and fuel your body early enough in the race that your body doesn’t start shutting down on you.
- Top tip for running a marathon! Don’t wear a brand new type of running shoes on race day. Make sure you stick to what works for your feet and make sure your shoes are a little worn in but still feel new and extra cushioned.
- A great way to prepare for a marathon is to practice the race course during some of your long runs. This will help you physically and mentally to be prepared on race day.
- Follow your plan and taper off your runs in the last two weeks before race day. You need to rest, let your body recover and stick to cutting back your mileage and speed gradually leading up to race day.
- Figure out what motivates you and do it! A list of mantras, a great playlist, or maybe a special reward. Whatever it is, use it to help you through the tough moments in your marathon race.
Tips for running long distance
- If you’re running long distance, be sure to emphasize carbohydrates in your diet, so that you can be sure to have enough energy to keep you going throughout your runs.
- Remember to do your longest training runs at least three minutes per mile slower than your 5K race pace.
- The best way to tell if you have the right pair of running shoes? Straight after a long distance run, the way your feet feel is a good indication of whether they’re the right pair!
- Running long distance? Then you’re running shoes are more important than ever. Everyone’s feet have different degrees of pronation, so the best way to get the right pair for you is to get some that are fitted exactly to your feet.
- Preparation for a long distance run begins in your head. Visualize the route you will run and picture yourself running well and finishing strong. Trust your training.
- Your long distance run pace should be a slow pace you can hold for the duration of the run. Run your long run at a slow and conversational pace. They’re more about the effort and simply covering the distance.
- A long distance run can seem scary, so break up the distance mentally. Split it into sections so that it seems more manageable, and if you actually have to walk between sections – that’s ok! Go with what works for you.
- If you’re running over an hour, then you may need to take on calories during your run, such as gels, chews, or nuts and dried fruit. Taking on food during a run isn’t easy and everyone’s stomach has different preferences, so you’ll need to experiment with different types here.
- Hydration during a long run is also necessary as you start to cover longer distances. Take water with you either in a water bottle or in a hydration back pack, or plan your route so you pass water fountains along the way.
- Make sure you eat soon after your long run to provide your body with the energy it needs to recover. It’s easy to skip this step and forget about recovery, but you just ran a long way so be sure to give your body what it needs!
Tips for running faster
- The most effective pace for VO2 max interval training is about 20 seconds faster per mile than your 5K race pace. This is the best way to increase your aerobic capacity and long-distance speed.
- To run faster, try to run with your toes up, instead of pointed. Keeping them pointed makes your foot strike cycle longer and makes your feet feel heavier, which limit your stride and slow you down.
- When running, your arms can really give you a speed boost. Throw your arms back hard and this will propel you forward. Remember, your feet follow your arms, so pump them hard!
- Want to run faster? Perform pre-run planks! Doing a proper plank teaches good positioning of the pelvis. When done prior to running, you’ll have a carryover effect and the result will be faster times. Try 6 sets of planks for 30 seconds each.
- Run for the hills! Hills build leg and lung strength, and give you the foundation of fitness you need to get faster on the track or flat grounds.
- If you’re well fuelled, then you will be more energized, which means you’ll be able to run faster. Stay hydrated and make sure you’re eating the right amount of the nutrients, at the right time!
- The key to running faster is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping your upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with your mid-foot landing under your hip, and swinging your arms forward and back at low 90-degree angles.
- To run faster, get familiar with stride turnover—the rate of steps you take while running. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.
- Want to run faster? Try interval training. Alternate periods of high and low intensity while exercising to build speed and endurance—and burn major calories in less time too!
- To run faster, strengthen your core. Stronger core muscles (especially lower abs) allow runners to tap into more force out on the road.
Running exercise tips
- Whether your aim is simply to finish your first proper race or smash your marathon personal best, you need a plan or else you run the risk of not reaching your goal. Either find a generic plan on the internet, or ask a qualified personal trainer or running coach for a bespoke one.
- Before you start running, it’s worth tuning in to your body to correct any minor niggles or running technique flaws that could develop into major problems.
- Running solo might be your preference, but if you’re running several times a week, doing some with other people is a great way to stay motivated, make friends, and discover new places to run. Join a running club!
- Wanting to get into running? The first item on your to-do list should be a good quality pair of running shoes. Spend some time working out what the right pair for you is. Trust us, it’s worth it!
- The key to becoming a better runner, whatever your distance, is consistency. The more regularly you run, the sooner you’ll see an improvement in your cardiovascular fitness, an increase in both your sustainable pace and your all-out speed, and better recovery.
- Incorporate speed sessions into your running routine. They will make you a more efficient runner by improving your neural pathways and giving you more power output per stride and a greater running economy.
- If you want to run regularly and efficiently, you will need to work on your technique. Make sure you run tall by holding your hips high and lean forward slightly from your toes.
- Running for exercise? Do some hill runs! Not only will it help build speed and endurance, it will also make you work harder, burning more calories and making your glutes fire.
- Although running may be your main form of exercise, you should still do some cross training. Do some weight training to strengthen your legs and core, which will help you run faster, longer and reduce your risk of injury.
- Have you done a lot of running lately? For a recovery session, go for a swim. The water provides buoyancy and resistance properties that allow you to exercise with minimal impact on the body….unlike running!