1) Keep easy days easy
Runners who are chasing a goal time in a race are the biggest culprits of running easy days hard. The bulk of your miles should be run at a conversational pace.
If you aren’t able to speak in full sentences while running your easy days, you are likely running too fast. Slow it down and keep your heart and lungs fresh for speed days.
2) Vary your workouts
Even recreational runners can benefit from varying their runs. Whether it be mileage, terrain, or pace, it is not only great for producing great race results, but good for your body and mind.
If you do the same routine day in and day out, your body will start to lose some of the important benefits of running. Beginning runners might need the routine to keep them accountable, but once you’ve established the habit, it is beneficial to mix it up.
3) Cross and strength train
Many runners are guilty of just running. They like what they like and aren’t apt to do something else because it doesn’t give them the same enjoyment. However, even a few short sessions (15-20 minutes) of strength training each week can help keep running muscles strong and injury free.
Cross-training is equally is helpful, especially to those who are injury prone. Walking, cycling, and swimming are excellent low-impact exercises to complement running.
4) Get enough sleep
The first thing that many of us do in the 21st century do when we are short on time is to cut out sleep. Unfortunately, you are often better off getting that extra half hour of sleep than that extra half hour of run. Sleeping is vital to recovery as a runner – you can only cheat the sandman so many times before it starts to erode your performance.
5) Eat to run, don’t run to eat
After a long run, hard workout, or race it is normal for many runners to turn to food as reward. And every once in awhile, you should indulge! However, just don’t make it every run. Have a plan for after your run so that you don’t fall susceptible to the easy and unhealthy route.
6) Keep it simple
The things that runners can buy to improve their running experience is a very long list. However, sometimes these items can be a barrier if runners start to rely on them too much.
Go for a run without your GPS watch every once in awhile (or at least turn it around so you can’t see it!). Dial it back every once in awhile to running a few miles without your fancy gear just for the joy of running.
7) You do you
Your running experience is your own. What works for you is as unique as you. The desire to imitate is even more prevalent in the era of social media and it can be a wonderful way to be inspired.
However, don’t get so caught up in someone else’s story that you think everything they are doing will work for you. Run your own story.