The Best Running Tips of All Time

Posted On May 10, 2022

We’ve spent countless hours talking to the greatest athletes and brightest minds in the sport to examine every training and racing strategy imaginable. We’ve even tested many of those approaches ourselves. While we think it’s all worthwhile info, we recognize that sometimes keeping it simple is best. So we’ve distilled 40 years of advice into one comprehensive list of advice that we consider most valuable to your running life.

1. Strengthen Your Whole Body

“Good runners condition their whole bodies. The arms drive the legs. Keep your upper body and core toned with a lot of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and back raises (don’t forget that the back is part of the core). Stay away from machine weights and stick to Pilates, climbing, and dynamic flexibility work like yoga.”

2. Run More Hills

“One of the beauties of hills is that they really work on dynamic power, hip strength, and hip mobility because you need to be able to go and drive those hips really high to get up.”

3. Quit Trying to Set Your PR

“Be process oriented, not outcome oriented. Get a little better with each training session—a stronger squat, a harder effort on intervals. Don’t obsess about race day.”

4. Hydrate (Especially Before Trail Races)

“Due to their remote locations, many trail races have few (if any) water stations. Make sure to hydrate for days in advance, and—depending on the distance of the race—consider carrying a water bottle or hydration pack during the event.”

5. Stretch and Refuel Immediately Post-Race

“There’s a natural temptation when you finish a race to collapse on the ground and bask in your own private glory. This is a bad idea.”

6. Find a Routine, Then Stick to It

“I dialed in my race-day outfit and nutrition plan in advance to eliminate any surprises. I slept more, stopped drinking alcohol, and ate my vegetables. I put on the same clothes I had been training in for the past three weeks—black shorts, white top, gray socks—and ate my preplanned breakfast of one banana, half a Clif Bar, and half a cup of coffee.”

7. Don’t Freak Out If You’re Undertrained

“A lot of people ruminate and freak out. Then they have all this nervous energy and are toast during the race. The key is to stay calm and not expend energy worrying about the race.”

8. Fix Your Stride

“He had to change everything about his stride—from the way his feet were hitting the ground to the way he swung his arms as he ran. It was a difficult adjustment, but he had the benefit of knowing he’d already tried virtually everything else.”

9. Eat Whole Foods

“Try to eat whole foods that look as close to how they are grown as possible. Avoid the processed food—like foods that dominate most conventional grocery chains. They’re packed with sodium, sugar, and empty calories and are a drain on your digestive system.

10. It’s Not All About the Carbs

“Runners whose number one goal is to lose weight can cut the pasta, bread, and cereals and have enough energy to complete many of the easy runs in 30 to 60 minutes. Most healthy diets will still provide enough incidental carbs—byproducts of fruit and beans—to fuel you.”

11. Random Massages Are a Bad Idea

“Every athlete’s body responds differently to massage; you don’t want to find out the week before your race that deep tissue work makes you uncomfortably sore.”

12. Layer Up When It’s Cold

“It’s easy to see the weather and darkness as a reason not to work out. The price tag might sting up front, but buying clothes like a moisture-wicking base layer, gloves, and a breathable wind-blocking top will make training outside a lot more enjoyable.”

13. You Need to Sprint More

“Five percent of an athlete’s total weekly mileage should be taken up by sprints. Someone running 30 miles a week should run hill sprints for 1.5 of those miles. It’s similar in theory and practice to speedwork on a track.”

14. Get a Hydration Pack (Especially for Ultras)

“Yes, there will be aid stations. But there’s no telling how much time will pass between them, so bring your own fluids in a handheld bottle, pack, or belt. Which one you choose is a matter of preference.”

15. Patience Is a Virtue

“In distance running, you’ve got to learn to love the process. Whether it’s in training (it takes a lot of time to get better) or in racing (holding back for the first 20 miles of a marathon), patience is a virtue. There are no quick fixes. It’s about believing in the plan and executing.”

16. Don’t Hydrate Too Much Right Before Running

“Sloshing in your stomach is a sign that water has not worked its way into your bloodstream, providing a full feeling that’s a ruse for hydration.”

17. Take Recovery Days Seriously

“The day after a tough workout, the most you want to do is jog lightly or do some form of cross-training, like cycling. You need a recovery day after a hard day. No exceptions.”

18. Make It Social

“Get a group together, or join a local running club. When you’re socially and emotionally invested in your workouts, it’ll be harder for you to skip them. Having running buddies will help keep you from burning out or slacking off.”

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