Put Your Best Foot Forward: Rules for Running

A sport that is usually a punishment for other sports doesn’t always get its badge of “bad-ass” honor. And with that badge comes some standard golden rules to keep it intact. 


1. Mimic the pace you're training for.

Practice makes perfect. If you want to run 3 miles at a 7-minute pace, you need to practice running 3 miles at a 7-minute pace. Seems logical, yeah?


2. Cross-Training.

A very common mistake for many runners is they think the only exercise they need or should do is run. Cross-training is the answer to all. Runners who only run may come more susceptible to injury. Cross-training will help give the primary muscles used during running a rest while building support muscles to help enhance a runner’s strength. 


3. Replace shoes after 400-500 miles.

This sport with limited equipment means taking care of the equipment needed is even more important. Don’t wait until you have no other choice but to trash your current pair. 


4. Regular conversations, regular runs.

During a regular training session, a runner should be able to have a conversation mid-run without it exuding extra amounts of strength to get the words out. So, take those headphones out and see if you could have a convo before channeling back in. 


5. Increase weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent.  

In the 1980s, Joe Henderson (first editor of Runner’s World) and Dr. Joan Ullyot created the 10% rule – meaning, do not increase running mileage by more than 10% each week because they found that runners would get injured when increasing load too quickly. Don’t be that person. 


6. Refuel (30-60 after any race, speed workout, or long run).

That carb / protein combo 30 to 60 minutes after a run is essential. Author of the Food Guide for Marathoners, Nancy Clark, R.D., says that the carb is to help with muscle depletion, protein for muscle repair and building muscle. This could include a bagel, peanut butter, yogurt, protein drink, etc. Make sure to increase protein if it was a longer run than normal


7. Technique always.

Most of us think that because we can walk, we obviously know how to run. Well, we are wrong (shocker!). It’s important to work with a coach on foot strides, cadence, and arm swings. This will help prevent bad habits from being almost impossible to break and avoiding injury in the process. 


8. Get in tune with your body.

Over-training is real and so is real life. Doing too much training can put your body into overdrive as well as working a full-shift and getting minimal sleep. Running on empty is not going to allow you to physically run. Listen to your body, respect it and make decisions accordingly. There is no trophy at the end for keeping to an unrealistic and unhealthy running schedule.


9. Meet yourself where you are.

Running long-distances can be very painful but to an extent. If it's excruciating and practically unbearable, then maybe your training hasn't brought you to where you want to be. And that's okay. Put it back on the goal board. 


10. Familiar food only.

No introducing different foods right before a big run or race. That new protein-packed cookie can wait until afterward. You don't want your stomach to be the reason why your feet can't finish the race. 



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