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Running Tips and Advice


Don’t get frustrated or give up if you’ve recently upped your training and aren’t seeing big results yet. Sometimes, it takes years for training to 'kick' in, but when it does, you’ll run like you have a rocket pack strapped to your back. Fight the urge to give up!

- Jeff Gaudette -
(Founder/CEO Runners Connect)

If you want to become a better runner, you have to run more often. It is that easy.

- Tom Fleming -

You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction.

- George Lorimer -

It can be hard to stay focused during a race. A big part of staying mentally strong includes achieving calm amid the mental 'storm' of pressure and expectation. The athletes who are successful at achieving goals and PRs perform well under pressure by staying in the moment. I find it helpful to focus on things like my running form, breathing, fueling and hydrating. These focus points can take the edge off the discomfort and fatigue that set in during the second half of a race. Setting a PR is never an easy task but it's often more in your head than in your legs.

- Scott Jurek -

The more I talk to athletes, the more convinced I become that the method of training is relatively unimportant. There are many ways to the top, and the training method you choose is just the one that suits you best. No, the important thing is the attitude of the athlete, the desire to get to the top.

- Herb Elliott -
(Former record holder in the 1,500-meters and the mile)

Accomplishing an unconventional or seemingly unattainable goal is a challenge, one we can all meet if we choose. If you undertake a project, physical or otherwise, you must first make the decision to reach the goal, then put all your energy into it and not doubt yourself in the process.

- David J. McGillivray -
The Last Pick

There are no shortcuts. Be patient and look long-term. It's a foolish idea that if you do a little more, faster, then you'll get better than the rest. It ignores the fact that you must train at your optimal level, not your maximum level. Consistency is the secret to improvement and success. You have to keep training when others lose interest.

- Robert de Castella -
(1983 World Marathon Champion)

The most important aspect of race strategy is to have faith in yourself. That is, to trust in the work that you've done to build up for the big day, to stick to the pacing that you've ground into your legs over all those training miles, to believe that following your own beat will take you to your goal – whether it is to win, to set a personal best, or just to finish.

- Jeanette Wang -
(Two-time Sundown Ultramarathon Champion)

The best advice a coach can give is to choose your battles appropriately, focusing your hard efforts on the training days that are the most important. How many times, however, have your gotten carried away on an easy run? The run was supposed to be a recovery day from a previous hard workout and a prep for the next day’s race-specific training. Instead, it became the fastest you’ve ever run for your loop. Congratulations! You probably just screwed up the next day’s key workout and possibly set yourself up for injury later on. To avoid this error, know and adhere to the purpose of each workout. If the schedule calls for an easy day, then run easy. If it calls for a hard track workout, then ensure you are properly rested in the days before. Don’t let easy days get out of hand and become hard days, because of others, your own need for your running fix or just spacing out and not noticing the increasing pace. Be disciplined.

- Greg McMillan -

For the millions of us out there who enjoy training and even racing with music, the quest for ideal running songs is an endlessly fascinating pursuit. Dr. Costas Karageorghis has spent two decades researching the correlation between music and athletic output. Not surprisingly, he discounts the impact music has on top-flight distance runners. 'The elite choose to focus on regulating their bodies and efficiency,' he says. 'They focus inwardly, not on music.' Yet for the rest of us, he sings a different tune. 'With non-elite athletes, I've found that listening to the right songs before and during exercise will not simply reduce feelings of tiredness, it will also increase performance levels by up to 20 percent,' he says.

- Jeff Pearlman -

'Training,' one American coach told me, 'is a 24-hour proposition.' Even if you struggle to live up to this standard, you can still heed the idea behind the words: if you want to get the most out of your running, you need to think about how your style of living fits around your running. Your whole approach to training has to become more than just an occasional hobby. It has to become part of your everyday routine, even if this pattern of living lasts only for a short while.

- Richard Nerurkar -

When it comes to running long distance races, one of the biggest rookie mistakes is going out too fast in the beginning of the race. The best way to avoid the temptation of going out too fast is deliberately run your first mile slower than you plan to run the final one. It's tough to do, since you'll most likely feel really strong in the beginning. But keep in mind that for every second you go out too fast in the first half of your race, you'll lose double that amount of time in the second half of your race.

- Christine Luff -

Bad workouts and races - we all have them and we always will. Accept that the body has an ebb and flow that we don't quite understand. Some days you just feel 'off.' As hard as it is to accept a bad workout or race when there are valid reasons, it's doubly challenging when there appears to be no reason at all. I used to worry about this, but now I just shrug it off as the quirkiness of the body and mind. Don't invest in it or overthink it. Move on.

- Greg McMillan -

Never underestimate the value of a good training partner, even if it's your dog. Training allies will get you out the door on those days when exercise might otherwise be reduced to a finger on the remote control button.

- Runner's World -

Don't overlook the obvious - remember to properly lace your running shoes. Loose laces allow your foot to move freely in the shoe and cause blisters. It also reduces stability, making you more prone to injury. Laces tied too tight may squeeze your foot causing pain during a run and aggravate neuromas.

- Frank Tucker -

Winning is not about headlines and hardware [medals]. It's only about attitude. A winner is a person who goes out today and every day and attempts to be the best runner and best person he can be. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.

- Amby Burfoot -

Something is almost always better than nothing. There will be days when some aspect of reality intrudes and you have to scrap your ideal-world training plan. That doesn't make scrapping the whole affair the logical conclusion. A 4-miler is much closer to a 10-miler than it is to 0 miles for the day.

- Scott Douglas -

Don't be surprised if you feel a little extra sluggish when temperatures soar. When it's hot outside, the brain tells the muscles to relax in order to keep the body's core temperature low, and the process of sweating to stay cool diverts blood away from the muscles. Add allergies, dehydration, and longer daylight hours to the equation, and it's tempting to take a vacation from training until cooler temperatures prevail. But your performance doesn't have to suffer just because the mercury's on the rise. Here are Runner's World's best tips for beating the heat.

- Coach Jen Van Allen -

Dedicated distance runners leave no stone unturned in their eternal quest for improvement, showing discipline far beyond what one would expect from most recreational athletes. They slog long miles on sore legs in nasty weather, sprint around the track doing interval workouts, buy the best high tech running shoes, and drink protein laced sports drinks after training. They pump weights diligently, pay good money for coaching schedules, and avidly consume running books and magazines. Despite this extraordinary dedication, most runners grossly neglect an aspect of training and recovery that would seem to be commonsense- sleep. Getting adequate sleep is one component of the training and recovery cycle that is readily correctible. In fact, it’s indispensable. Sleep is not just something that's 'good to do,' but something that will help our bodies recover faster from running workouts.

- Roy Stevenson -

Have you ever run a race and then looked down at your Garmin or GPS device and realized it says that you have run longer than the expected race distance? If you were not running the tangents of the course, then here is the bad news...you actually were running too far. The easiest way to explain 'running the tangents' is this: running the tangents allows a racer to run the shortest legal distance in a race. This is the fastest and most efficient way to get from the start line to the finish line, and the easiest way to set a PR. Overall, by making fewer large curves and running the tangents, you essentially make the race course a straight as possible. There is no perfect way to run the tangents. The goal is to find out what works best for you in getting through the race course's fastest route, as quickly as possible.

- Katie Key -

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