Tips to Be a Better Runner

Tips to Be a Better Runner

Running is one of the simplest yet most beneficial forms of exercise out there.

It requires little equipment, can be done anywhere, and has immense physical and mental health benefits.

From seasoned marathoners to newbies lacing up for their first 5K, anyone can become a better runner by following some key tips.

Let’s explore the essentials for taking your running game to the next level!

Proper Running Gear

Having the right footwear, clothing, and accessories can make all the difference when it comes to comfort, performance, and injury prevention.

Here are some key gear considerations:


Go to a specialty running store and get properly fitted for running-specific shoes that match your foot type, running style, and training goals.

Replace shoes every 300-500 miles.



Wear moisture-wicking, synthetic socks to keep feet dry and blister-free.

Smartwool and Balega make excellent running socks.



Look for lightweight, breathable fabrics with adequate stretch and coverage.

Compression gear promotes circulation.


opt for technical fabrics that wick sweat and have breathable mesh panels.

Long sleeve options offer sun and chafe protection.

**Sports Bra**

High support sports bras minimize bounce and discomfort during runs. Get professionally fitted for best results.

**Visibility Gear** 

Reflective vests, headlamps, and LED accessories boost safety when running at night or in low light.

**Body Care**

Use anti-chafe balms and lubricants (Body Glide, Squirrel’s Nut Butter) to prevent irritation in high-friction areas.

**Hydration Vest/Belt** 

Hands-free systems allow easy access to water and nutrition during long training runs.

 Developing a Running Routine


Creating structure and consistency in your running schedule helps lead to lasting fitness gains and performance improvements.

Here’s how to develop a successful running routine:

**Daily Consistency** – Work running into your regular routine aiming to get out 3-5 days per week. Scheduling a specific block of time dedicated to running can help.

**Duration** – For cardiovascular and endurance improvements, work up to running 30-60 minutes per session. Start slow with walk breaks and gradually increase total run time.

**Speed Work** – Incorporate tempo runs, fartleks, and interval training 1-2x per week to help improve pace and speed. Begin with short segments of increased intensity.

**Rest and Recovery** – Balance hard efforts with easy running and rest days. Listen to your body and take time off when needed to prevent burnout and overuse injuries.

**Periodization** – Vary your training focus and intensity over a multi-week schedule. Overload followed by recovery is key for fitness gains.

**Goals** – Having training goals, a race on the calendar, or a virtual running challenge can provide motivation and added structure.

Running Technique and Form

Optimizing your running form and mechanics helps you move efficiently, run faster with less effort, and avoid injuries related to imbalances or poor movement patterns. Here are some form pointers:

**Posture** – Run tall with a slight lean forward from the ankles. Eyes up and shoulders relaxed down and back.

**Arm Carriage** – Keep elbows bent ~90 degrees and hands loose. Drive arms back and forth (not side to side) in time with legs.

**Foot Strike** – Land with a midfoot or forefoot strike under your hips. Heels lightly touch down before pushing back off.

**Cadence** – Take quicker, shorter strides around 170-190 steps per minute. Use a metronome app or running watch to monitor cadence and ingrain proper form.

**Power** – Focus on driving your knees forwards and pushing off the ground forcefully with each stride. Engage your core and glutes.

**Relaxation** – Loosen grip on hands and jaw. Stay smooth and springy while running fluidly without jarring impacts.

Cross-Training for Runners

While running itself should make up the bulk of your training, incorporating complementary cross-training can boost your fitness. Try these activates 1-2 times per week:

**Strength Training** – Lifting builds muscular endurance and directly strengthens running muscles in the hips, core, and legs. Squats, deadlifts, and lunges are key exercises.

**Yoga** – Yoga improves flexibility, balance, alignment, breathwork, and mind-body awareness – all benefits for runners.

**Cycling** – Time on a bike gives your running muscles a break while building aerobic endurance. Spinning is easy on joints.

**Swimming** – Non-impact and aerobic, swimming works the upper body and core while allowing the legs to recover.

**Plyometrics** – Exercises like bounding, box jumps and high knees help build explosive power for improved running economy.

**Walking/Hiking** – Time spent walking helps improve endurance without added pounding to muscles and joints.

 Eating for Optimal Running Performance

A proper diet provides the fuel and nutrients needed to energize workouts and power PRs. Here are key nutritional tips for runners:

**Hydration** – Drink about half your body weight in ounces of non-diuretic fluids like water and coconut water daily. Hydrate before, during and after running.

**Carbohydrates** – Consume adequate carbs like whole grains and produce to stock glycogen, the muscles’ primary fuel source during exercise.

**Protein** – Eat protein rich foods like eggs, meat, nuts, beans, dairy and fish for muscle repair and recovery. Time protein intake around exercise.

**Nutrient Timing** – For hard workouts and races, consume easily digested carbs in the hours beforehand and rapidly absorbing protein within 30 minutes after finishing.

**Anti-Inflammatories** – Foods containing antioxidants, omega-3s and polyphenols like fruits, vegetables, nuts and tart cherry juice help reduce exercise-induced inflammation.

**Race Week Nutrition** – Carbo load with restrained portions for a few days leading up to a big endurance event, while staying hydrated and avoiding anything new or risky.

Preventing and Treating Running Injuries

Unfortunately, running injuries are quite common due to overuse and repetitive impact.

Here are some strategies to help avoid and manage injuries:

**Rest and Recovery** –

Take time off and modify training when experiencing unusual pain or chronic aches. Let injuries fully heal before returning to running at full intensity or duration.

**Strength Training** –

Strengthening muscles, connective tissue and bones through resistance training helps create added durability and resilience.

**Stretch and Roll** –

Stretch regularly and use foam rollers, lacrosse balls or PVC pipes to massage sore spots, reduce muscle stiffness and improve range of motion.

**Proper Gear** –

Replace shoes frequently and ensure a good fit. Consider custom orthotics. Cushioned socks, insoles and low-drop shoes may help.

**Good Form** –

Having efficient form and running mechanics lessens impact on joints and tissues.

**Slow Build Up** –

Gradually increase weekly mileage and intensity to avoid overloading muscles and tendons.

Allow 10-15% increases per week at most.

**Cross-Train** –

Complement running with low-impact activities like cycling, swimming, yoga and strength training.

Mental Aspects of Running

As much a mental activity as a physical one, running challenges and strengthens your mind.

Here are some strategies for getting mentally tougher:

**Pre-Race Visualization** –

Envision achieving your goals.

Use all your senses to imagine ideal outcomes.

This primes your brain for success.

**Mantras** –

Repeat positive phrases like “I’m strong” to drown out negative thoughts.

Mantras boost motivation during tough training and racing moments.

**Mindfulness** –

Practice being fully present in each mile.

Note sensations, emotions, and surroundings without judgement.

**Breathwork** –

Conscious breathing exercises help relieve stress and relax the mind.

Inhale strides, exhale strides.

**Race Simulation** –

Mentally prepare by visualizing the racecourse, challenges you may encounter, and how you’ll tackle them.

**Positivity** –

Approach runs with gratitude to be able to get out and move your body.

Celebrate small achievements.

**Patience** –

Remember that fitness comes gradually through consistent work overtime.

Avoid getting discouraged or frustrated.

Becoming a Smarter Runner

Harnessing technology and tracking your training intelligently enables you to train more precisely for better results.

Consider these tips:

**GPS Watch** –

Running watches with GPS allow you to accurately monitor pace, distance, cadence and more in real time.

Data helps fine-tune your training.

**Training Log** –

Record details like mileage, pace, route, gear, weather, how you felt, etc.

Review logs to see patterns, progress and areas for improvement.

**Heart Rate Training** –

Chest strap monitors let you train in specific heart rate zones for targeted paces and effort levels.

**Power Meters** –

Foot pods, accelerometers and other sensors measure your power output and running efficiency metrics like vertical oscillation.


Controlling cadence engrains an
**Environmental Data** –

Check elevation profiles, temperature, humidity and wind conditions to select optimal routes and pacing strategies.

**Race Analysis** –

Study results and splits from past races to set new goals. Identify areas that need more training focus.

Joining the Running Community

Connecting with other runners provides accountability, expertise, training partners and an automatic support group.

Here’s how to join the community:

**Local Run Clubs** –

Clubs organize group runs, training programs, social events, volunteering activities and more. Great way to meet like-minded athletes.

**Social Media Groups** –

Facebook and Strava offer digital communities to share training updates and seek advice inbetween workouts.

**Classes/Camps** –

Adult running camps and workshops offer concentrated coaching to improve your skills surrounded by other runners.

**Races** –

Sign up for a local 5K or marathon to be inspired by the community accomplishment. Look for virtual runs too!

**Coaching** –

Many run coaches offer remote coaching services complete with customized training plans and regular check-ins.

**Run Inspiration** –

Follow elite runners, running influencers, and cool companies on social media for daily motivation in your feed.



Whether your goal is completing your first 5k or qualifying for Boston, becoming a better runner takes commitment, smart training, and patience. Stick with these tips and you’ll be on your way to more enjoyable, efficient, and injury-free miles. Consistency and gradual progress are key. Here’s to happy running and achieving those new PRs!



**Q: How often should a beginner runner train?**

A: For new runners, 2-3 times per week is a great starting point. Listen to your body and take rest as needed. Build up duration and frequency slowly.

**Q: What should I eat before a run? **

A: Eat a light carb-based snack that’s low in fat and fiber about 1-3 hours pre-run. Things like toast with banana, oatmeal, or a granola bar work well. Stay hydrated too.

**Q: Should my knees be bent when running? **

A: Keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid locking them out. This allows your legs to be supple shock absorbers. Knee bend should increase on downhills.

**Q: Is it better to run on a treadmill or outside? **

A: Outside is better for physical and mental health benefits as well as running economy. But treadmills are useful for pace training, weather backup and increased control.

**Q: How can I stay motivated to run regularly? **

A: Mix up your routes, run with a partner, join a running group, sign up for races, set new goals like a PR to work toward, run a scenic destination event, or use apps like Strava or Nike Run Club for added accountability.

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