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Running Tips and Advice


My philosophy on running is, I don't dwell on it, I do it.

- Joan Benoit Samuelson -

You can be out there having your worst day, but at the same time the person next to you is having their best day. So there's really no room for crankiness in the sport. At least I try to minimalize it.

- Suzie Lister -

Although runners are often reluctant to take breaks, most breaks are beneficial in terms of overall development. A break gives both the body and the mind some time to regroup from what might have been a pretty strenuous period of training and competition. The length and timing of a break depends on how hard your training has been and how many unplanned setbacks you've endured over the past year. In any case, I recommend a serious break of a few weeks from training at least once per year, and it might also be wise to take other shorter breaks at different times in the same year.

- Jack Daniels -

Train like the athlete you want to be, not the athlete you are or used to be.

- Pat Menzies -

To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain - not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it.

- George Sheehan -

Nobody can tell you how to set a personal best. But here’s how NOT to: run with the idea of setting one. You cannot order up a personal best as if it were a turkey on rye. It's not a conscious act. A personal best is a kind of gift bestowed upon you. You’re not sure where it came from or how. It's very hard to achieve a personal best after you've run for a while and brought your times down. It takes training and hard work. But remarkably, those who achieve personal bests all say the same thing: how easy it felt. They weren't straining, they weren't pushing; it just seemed to come to them. If you run with the idea that you're just going to enjoy yourself, that you're going to relax and have a good time, that whatever happens, happens - well, those are the days when personal bests occur.

- Kevin Nelson -

I think most people will agree that ‘fall’ is all but officially here now, which means, THIS IS THE TIME TO START RUNNING! Remember all summer how you said that you hated running because it was too hot or humid? Remember how often you would tell yourself that you would run more once it cooled down? Well, I’m sorry to break this to you, but that time is NOW. And for those of you who already run but don’t do it as much because of the heat, now is the season to really kick into high gear and start doing those long or intense runs. I know for many of you that fall means you are back to school or work and so you are very busy this time of year. But there is always time if you want there to be. Maybe not every day, but most days you can find 30 minutes to devote to your health. Running will clear your head and make you more capable of tackling the stresses of your busy schedule... and the miraculous thing about running is that is actually gives you MORE energy!

- Amanda Newman -

I've never known a runner who had as much patience as he needed, but any and all amounts of this precious quality are invaluable. We runners simply don't get better fast enough to satisfy ourselves. Like the hare, we blast away from the starting line with visions of glory. We should be more tourtise-like. For that is the path to success… Give yourself time. Don't make hasty and unnecessary mistakes. Remember: You're in it for the long run. Life is a marathon, not a sprint; pace yourself accordingly.

- Amby Burfoot -
The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life

Even in the marathon, saving just a little for the final stretch will make for a satisfying finish. The race is going to get tough at the end and you need to expect it. Not fear it, but know it is a reality so you can be ready to stay mentally tough for the final push.

- Alan Culpepper -
(American distance runner and two time U.S. Olympian)

Strength training is a smart supplement to a runner's roadwork because it strengthens muscles and joints, which can improve race times and decrease injury risk. 'Running faster is easier if your whole body is working with you,' says Jim Fischer, head coach of men's cross-country and track at the University of Delaware. 'A runner with strong legs but weak arm muscles and weak core muscles will always be slower than a runner with total-body fitness.'

- Adam Campbell -

Call it discipline, determination or whatever you want… the means to long-term goals is one of running's great life lessons. Running has taught me that adversity is better faced head-on than avoided. The hill in front of you won’t go away, but it’s easy enough to put it behind you if just press harder for a while. That lesson isn’t taught enough, and too many people never realize that sacrifice is a requirement of life. You either sacrifice today to reach tomorrow’s goals, or you give up your dreams in favor of the fleeting comfort that’s distracting you. Call it discipline, or call it determination; without it you won’t get very far.

- Dave Griffin -

Some runners shy away from competitive situations because they're afraid it will make running stressful. Or they back away from setting goals because they fear failure. Ease in by setting small, easily achievable goals that aren't overly daunting, like finishing your first marathon feeling strong, rather than setting a time goal. By pushing yourself a little at a time, you'll gain the confidence to set larger goals.

- Shaunna Taylor -

If there is one lesson runners learn well, it is the connection between their behavior and the consequences. By its very nature, running requires a certain amount of self-discipline and personal accountability. If a runner misses the majority of his or her runs, slacks off during workouts, or ignores proper nutrition, performance suffers. Likewise, when runners consistently work hard, eat right, and do the things needed to stay healthy, they almost always find success.

- Adam Goucher -

I take off one day a week. Usually on those days I don't wear a running watch and I don't wear running shoes. Not because I don't want to be reminded of running, but I just think, 'Okay, today you're a normal person. Don't stretch, don't roll on a golf ball, don't ice, just be normal.' Taking that one day a week keeps me in check and reminds me that there's more to life than competing in marathons. Also, when I know that off day is coming, I can push myself harder in training on a day-to-day basis. Because I know I'm getting time off in a couple more days.

- Ryan Hall -
(2012 U.S. Olympic Marathoner)

You feel like if you're taking time off you didn't really earn it. But if you come out of a rested state, you perform better. I was amazed I had so much pop in my legs. After having trained so hard for so long and looking at other athletes, thinking, 'I trained 10 times harder than these guys and they're killing me in races,' you learn that more is not always better.

- Ryan Hall -
1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom

I believe in using races as motivators. It's hard to keep an exercise program if you don't have a significant goal in sight.

- Bob Greene -

Normally I recommend that runners do their long runs anywhere from 30 to 90 or more seconds per mile slower than their marathon pace. This is very important. The physiological benefits kick in around 90-120 minutes, no matter how fast you run. You'll burn a few calories and trigger glycogen regenesis, teaching your muscles to conserve fuel. Running too fast defeats this purpose and may unnecessarily tear down your muscles, compromising not only your midweek workouts, but the following week's long run. Save your fast running for the marathon itself. There are plenty of days during the rest of the week, when you can run race pace.

- Hal Higdon -

Patience and pace judgement are still more important for most runners than speed and aggression. Even-pace or negative splits by steady tortoises will almost always defeat the fast-starting hares.

- Roger Robinson -

If you could determine the one bit of running advice dispensed and received more often than any other, it would probably be 'Go out slow.' It would also be the one bit of running advice most frequently ignored. But it seems as though everyone—no matter their experience level—has recurring bouts of going out too fast and then struggling at the end. Mathematically it doesn’t matter if you run the first half of a 10k in 20 minutes and the second half in 25 minutes, or vice versa, but I guarantee it will feel a lot different. It’s reasonably well-established that for distances greater than 5k, you will average a better speed over the course of a race if you start more slowly than your goal pace, and gradually build up to it. The problem is our bodies naturally want to go faster while we feel fresh and slower when we feel tired. It takes some mental discipline to overrule our physical tendencies. Resist the urge to bask in how great you feel at the start of a race and how effortless it all is. Instead, remember your last gasping, stumbling finish. Once you experience the thrill of passing mobs of burnt-out bonkers in the latter miles, you won’t want to go back.

- Mike Antonucci -

An athlete who tells you the training is always easy and always fun simply hasn't been there. Goals can be elusive which makes the difficult journey all the more rewarding.

- Alberto Salazar -
(Three-time winner of the NYC Marathon)

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