If you’ve ever wondered how to become a better runner, it can be a little bit overwhelming - running is a huge part of the fitness world, and there’s so many ideas out there on how you can improve.
Fortunately, though, OriGym’s comprehensive guide has everything you need to know, from experts in the field. Whether you’re just learning the ropes of running, and are curious about how to become a stronger runner, or you’re an experienced runner seeking out the best running tips, we’ll explore all aspects of the cardio craze.
If you want to turn running into a keen hobby, win the next London Marathon, or just get into better shape, following our expertly curated tips for how to become a better runner will allow you to reach your full potential.
- Tips For Before Running
- Tips For Getting Started With Running
- Tips On Training To Run Better
- Tips On The Right Running Gear
- Tips For Fuelling Your Body Effectively
- Tips On Avoiding Running Burnout
- Tips To Make Your Running Sociable
- Tips On Relaxing Post-Run
- General Running Lifestyle Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Our Conclusions
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Written by Professional S & C Coaches
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Tips For Before Running
#1 - Find A Goal That Inspires You
Firstly, becoming a better runner means figuring out what your end goals are. Do you want to know how to become a fast runner? Perhaps you’re looking to improve your endurance or even increase your flexibility.
This is where proper planning and goal setting plays a pivotal role. All these aims are achievable through dedication, planning and consistency. While this may seem obvious, setting goals to work towards is much better than entering into an exercise regime blindfolded.
Investing in a dedicated fitness journal to help plan your week will not only keep you coordinated, but you’ll also be accountable. By having a written plan, you won’t forget when you intend to train. Or, if you’re more technologically-minded, use your phone to set reminders ahead of training.
We’d also suggest arranging your clothes the evening before to ensure you aren’t scrambling around in the wash basket for your missing sock, or struggling for what to wear.
Our tips for running before you even begin are designed to reduce your anxiety. We believe that there is nothing more determined than knowing what you want and setting out a plan to get it.
#2 - Establish Your Routine
It’s one thing to write your plans on the calendar, but it’s quite another to lace up your trainers on a cold winter’s morning and face the run ahead of you. If you’ve ever been in a routine, you’ll know that consistency lets you get on with your day without much thought.
However, it’s important to remember that forming a habit does not happen overnight, in a week or even a month. On the contrary, it can take almost 2 months to form a habit. Now, this might be easier said than done, but our best running advice is to ensure that your routine builds your confidence and fits in well around your calendar.
We know that consistency can be difficult. Running on a day where you feel unmotivated can easily make you turn around and give up before you get halfway. But there are numerous explanations as to how an established routine gives you ways to get better at running.
Habits can often make the brain work on autopilot, and the same thing happens to our muscles. After a prolonged period of consistent running, your muscle fibres will begin to pick up the slack and react with more urgency, meaning your body expends less energy completing actions that would normally have been difficult or strenuous.
Now, we're sadly unable to give you a timeline for when this begins. Knowing how to run better is not a matter of time, but practice. In fact, having an established routine requires much less focus than running occasionally. We know that repetition can definitely become boring, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties you’ll go through.
And remember - it’s normal to falter. We know that running in the rain at 8am on a Monday morning isn’t perfect. If this happens, try to make up for your missed session by squeezing another in when you have the chance. Schedules will change and our running advice is to only focus on what you can control.
Tips For Getting Started With Running
#3 - Perform Drills
When starting your running journey, it’s understandable that you’d want to dive straight in. But if you want to improve your form and learn valuable tactics for how to become a better runner, then drills are vital. Let us explain.
Warm-ups, like everything, have both short-term and long-term benefits. Nobody wants a scraped knee or a twisted ankle - performing drills allows you to engage your muscles more efficiently, leaving you less prone to injury.
Avoiding injury is often one of the main priorities when performing any exercise, which is why OriGym have put together a complete guide on how to prevent shin splints, one of the more common running injuries.
They’re also great for improving your running economy. They teach you how to become a stronger runner, but that’s not all. By performing drills, you are more prepared for fatigue when your routine starts to get tough, and while we’d always emphasise listening to your body, you’ll become stronger and more confident in your exercise.
Drills are not only effective at improving your power and motion. Through repetition, your muscle memory will correct your form if it begins to slip. Coming face-to-face with the wall is tough and with the right form, you’ll be smashing through it with your shoulders back and elbows bent.
Our running advice is that, before you sprint off into the sunset, you should try some of the following drills to engage your muscles and become a better runner:
- Glute Kicks: By driving up your heels to your glutes and contracting those hamstrings, you’re actually boosting your endurance. Even better, is that glute kicks can help your muscles learn how to become a fast runner. Through the contraction of your hamstrings, your muscles will learn how to get into gear more quickly. There’s truly no downfall.
- High Knees: This one is self-explanatory. But, you may not know the many benefits this exercise has. Its intensity is great for elevating your heart rate and improving the strength of your glutes and legs. Keeping your feet hip-width apart, bring your knees to your chest. Whether you continue the movement at a running or sprinting pace is your call, but in both circumstances, you are improving your coordination and giving your heart a good workout.
- Carioca: This is a common, dynamic warm-up that is great for your hips and agility. With your knees bent slightly, push off with your dominant foot and bring it towards the other. Make sure your foot lands behind, returning to your knees bent position and repeating the criss-cross action. Learn more about the benefits of dynamic stretches with our complete report.
#4 - Improve Your Technique
Getting better at running is not a linear process, and arguably one of our most crucial tips for running is to improve your form. We can give you tips for how to be a better runner, but it’s absolutely crucial to invest time and effort into improving your form when running.
If you want to reduce your risk of injury and improve your efficiency, perfecting your form is essential, especially as injuries can be devastating. The best way to let them heal is by scaling back on your frequency, and having to slow down may feel like a blow to your progress. So, to prevent this, improve your body posture:
- Tips for joggers include engaging your core. Ensure your posture is upright and that you draw your shoulders back, keeping your chest open. Relaxing your arm swing and maintaining a focused, upright gaze will boost the performance of your workout.
- If you want to know how to become a fast runner, sprinters must also know the importance of engaging your core. By raising your hands to your chin and keeping your elbows bent at an angle, you are likely to have quicker strides with more ease.
Another important element of your running form is cadence, which is the number of steps you take per minute. The ideal cadence is different for everyone. If you have shorter legs, your stride length may mean you take less steps. Read more on running cadence, as well as how to improve it, in OriGym’s thorough exploration.
While cadence is size and age dependent, monitoring it can be useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, identifying changes in your cadence may give you tips to run better. Longer runs will inevitably begin to affect your technique.
As experienced runners, we know that this is no good, and a lower cadence is often an indicator that your running form will soon begin to slip, which can cause injury, or wear and tear to key parts of your body.
To prevent this, switch things up. Cadence is great for diversifying the pace of a run. Not only will your body have the chance to react to varied stimulation, but your coordination and momentum will become more developed.
#5 - Run Uphill Or Downhill
This tip on running is crucial for knowing how to become a better runner, especially as both running uphill and downhill is an excellent way to add variety to a routine, as well as providing a multitude of major health benefits. Let’s get into them.
First of all, uphill running burns a significant number of calories. There is an average of 100 calories difference when running on flat ground as opposed to uphill. You’re even able to accomplish this indoors, by simply by upping the incline on your treadmill.
Uphill running is actually a form of resistance training: this means that it builds the muscles in your legs (namely the hamstrings, calves, and quads). Even better, is that it helps you feel less fatigued.
Being experienced runners ourselves, we’re aware that uphill workouts are both a physical and mental exercise. You are effectively conditioning the leg muscles to cope with the fatigue that is likely to creep up on you during long runs.
OriGym have compiled a complete and extensive guide to the benefits of uphill running, ranging from improved muscle strength, to more psychological benefits such as better mood and lower stress levels.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about downhill running. This exercise has similar benefits, in that it helps develop your speed by increasing your cadence stride. In fact, gravity itself has a part to play in your increased speed.
The muscle fibres in our legs have to resist against a greater force and are trained to have a quicker response. With regular training, your muscle strength (especially in your hamstrings and quads) will drastically improve.
Last, but certainly not least, downhill running protects from something called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (often abbreviated to DOMS). Downhill running is a great exercise to help your muscles adapt, and resist the soreness that can affect your performance the following day.
However, experiencing DOMS means your body is acclimatising to the exercise you’re putting it through. Conditioning your body reduces the effect of DOMS over time, and means we’re able to train more consistently and effectively.
#6 - Run Strides
Our tips to become a better runner would be incomplete without mentioning strides.
To run strides, find yourself a stretch of flat ground where you can run uninterrupted for 20-30 seconds. Next, sprint at your maximum effort, as hard as you can without straining yourself.
Running strides is a fantastic way to warm yourself up before a session because they increase both your heart rate and blood circulation. This is crucial to loosening up any tight muscles, joints or tendons that you will need to learn how to get good at running. They’re also a key part of improving your running technique, too.
Speaking of loosening, strides have the added appeal of stretching your legs. Oftentimes, your muscles will feel stiff from maintaining the same tempo for a long period of time. Strides will help to combat monotony and reinvigorate your run, making them a brilliant cooldown exercise, too. There are longer-term benefits, too.
Due to the short amount of time they’re performed, strides hold you accountable for your running form. Strides give you the opportunity to scan your body to identify any problem areas, as well as giving you opportunity to refine your form. This will not only benefit your speed but ensure your risk of injury is lowered.
While we’re on the topic of speed, running strides reduces the energy you need to run fast. It’s normal to wonder ‘how well do my body and brain work together?’ Well, with your new and improved running economy, power and speed, you’ll soon realise that your neuromuscular fitness is improving.
Tips On Training To Run Better
#7 - Incorporate Strength Training
Strength training is one of the most important ways you can learn how to become a better runner. Strength training (also known as ‘resistance training’) involves performing exercises designed to improve your endurance. If you’ve ever done push-ups, squats, planks or burpees then you already know the basics.
However, introducing equipment, like resistance bands and weights, helps to increase your speed and improves your metabolic rate (this is how quickly you burn calories). Learn more about the benefits of resistance bands with OriGym’s comprehensive overview.
Trying something new can be intimidating at first, but that’s normal. However, strength training is utilised by even the highest level of runners, as it not only provides the body with additional training for the necessary muscles, it can also help prepare you mentally.
Strength training improves your muscle activation. Particular exercises are designed to isolate key muscles in the body that may not get enough attention. By engaging with strength training exercises, you’ll be ensuring that the muscles you need to complete the run are playing their part.
If you’re a beginner wanting to know how to become a better runner, complement your training by performing 6-10 exercises, anywhere between 2-4 times a week. To further ensure your safety, strength training also reduces your risk of injury.
The stronger your leg muscles are, the more effectively your body will absorb the impact. If you’re feeling pain in your knee while you run, taking preventative measures will protect your joints in the future. Our tips to run better will ensure that you know how to minimise your chances of pain.
In fact, many notable studies have been conducted on the relationship between strength training and running economy (or how well we deploy our energy when running). One study showed that, of 17 participants, all saw improvements in their running economy after 8 weeks of strength training.
You can waste much less energy by simply improving your muscle patterns. Trust the experts: strength training is key for learning how to become a stronger runner. However, it’s important to pace yourself, and take things slowly. By progressively increasing your training, you can focus on different muscles each session and prevent overuse injuries.
#8 - Incorporate Cross Training
One of the main benefits of cross-training is that it can add that extra degree of flexibility that your workouts might be needing. While a broad term, cross-training describes exercises that improve your aerobic fitness and can be performed as a replacement to running. It’s also great for balancing what muscle groups you exercise.
Are your calves and hamstrings feeling strained? Try your hand at another exercise, such as swimming. It’s not only a great way to engage your core, back and triceps, but your lungs are trained to use oxygen more efficiently. As you might expect, this is what is needed to learn how to become a better runner.
Completing the same exercise over and over again can get monotonous. Cross-training is a great way to give yourself a mental break from running. You’re not alone if a repetitive schedule makes you feel burnt out and unmotivated - this is often the case with even the highest calibre athletes.
And, as experienced runners ourselves, we know that to become a better runner, you must enjoy your sport. Cross-training gives you the freedom to switch up your routine while reaping the same benefits. It’s highly likely that you’ll see physical improvements once you return to running!
Making sure you’re safe is paramount. Like strength-training, cross-training reduces your risk of injury. Participating in low-impact sports, such as jogging or yoga, can smooth out any muscular imbalances you have. Moving your body in a different way is also great for recovery time.
There are many ways to get better at running but it’s only fair to give your joints some time off by modifying your frequency and intensity, as well as integrating low-impact exercises and flexibility movements, such as swimming or yoga.
So if you want to learn how to run better while maintaining your physical health, perhaps you use the treadmill one day, the elliptical the next and swim to finish off your week. Or you could do all of these activities in one session: the world is truly your oyster.
#9 - Incorporate Interval Training
While we’re on the topic of variety, interval training is another great way to learn how to be a good runner. It’s a pretty straightforward concept - you alternate between short periods of high intensity activity and longer periods of low intensity activity.
Well, you might be surprised how effective it is. Not only will you learn how to become a stronger runner, but your speed and cardiovascular health will improve, as well as providing a much needed boost of diversity to your usual routine .
First of all, when done properly, interval training burns up to three times more calories than your standard distance run. Although your age, weight and gender are factors that affect this differently, the high-intensity nature of interval training makes your muscle fibers work harder.
This is simply because your body burns more energy as it moves quicker. So your muscles erupt at a higher speed and cannot maintain this intensity for very long. While you recover, you gather more energy for your next burst. And you go again!
As you could expect, interval training increases your speed and endurance. High Intensity Interval Training (commonly referred to as HIIT) not only burns more calories, but it also trains your body to burn lactic acid in a more efficient way. Explore more on the benefits of HIIT training with our complete guide.
It’s not easy to know how to run more efficiently, but strengthening your heart stroke volume and reducing cholesterol will work wonders for your progress. This is because HIIT allows you to train faster and harder with less fatigue!
We know intensity training can be tough. The fast-paced, ‘all or nothing’ nature of interval training can increase the pressure on your joints and make you feel more sore than normal after a session. But we assure you that your muscles will soon adapt.
Speaking of adapting, interval training improves your aerobic capacity. What this means, is that you’ll be able to exercise for longer, at more intense levels. A study conducted in 2009 confirmed that interval training is critical for improving cardiac function, as well as your overall health.
#10 - Stay Flexible
To be flexible, you don’t have to be able to put your feet behind your ears. Flexibility isn’t defined by being able to contort yourself into different positions, but by how much you can move your key joints. If you want to know how to run better, we recommend completing dynamic stretches before your session.
Exercise, like running, can shorten your muscles and lead to decreased mobility. So, our tips to become a better runner recommend active movements that engage your muscles and joints.
This is opposed to static stretching, where you hold your position for around 10-20 seconds. In fact, we don’t recommend these due to research on static stretching and a decrease in speed, showing a definitive connection between using static stretches, and a reduction in running ability.
While dynamic stretching will warm up your muscles, the genetics lottery is responsible for your overall flexibility. This means that you are either born with a spring in your step or are somewhat tightly coiled.
For running, you simply need a full range of motion. Unlike static stretches, dynamic movements are, as we’ve just explored, a great way to improve your sprint time, raise your heart rate and help with injury prevention.
Our tips before running are designed to allow your muscles to function at their maximum potential. Below, we’ve listed some of the best dynamic stretches that are essential for learning how to become a good runner:
- Leg Swings: This stretch is great for those wanting a stronger core. Standing on your left foot, extend your right leg outwards. Then, back swing it in the opposite direction, past your right leg and back again for 15-20 seconds. Remember not to rotate the rest of the body during this stretch to feel its full benefit.
- Side Lunge: To do this stretch, your feet should be hip-width distance apart. Bend your left knee as you take a wide step out, remembering to keep your toes forward and your core engaged. To come back up, push off with your left leg. Perform 10-12 reps and move on with your next warm-up: simple as that.
- Arm Swings: Don’t forget to give your upper body some TLC before you start your run. Remember, your back and core need to be strong to help you maintain good form. Arms swings are self-explanatory: raise both arms above your head and bring them in front of you, then behind. You can begin with small circles that steadily increase to build momentum. By doing this for 30 seconds, you are focusing on your upper-back, shoulders and chest.
Tips On The Right Running Gear
#11 - Select the Right Pair of Shoes
Now that we’ve covered the importance of setting goals, warmups and training, it’s time to talk about shoes. While it can be tempting to choose our trainers based on looks, vanity plays no part in choosing the shoes that will benefit us most.
Knowing how to become a great runner is not all about training, but understanding the importance of footwear, and how it can affect your running massively. After all, it’s in the interest of longevity that your trainers protect your ankles, knees and feet.
Did you know that when your foot hits the ground during a run, more than double your bodyweight acts as a force on your muscles? That’s why the correct footwear is of the utmost importance - you need a stable platform on which to place that weight, and shift it effectively and safely to your next foot.
So, in order to protect yourself, you need to know what makes a brilliant running trainer. We’ve listed what you should be looking for in a shoe that can help you become a better runner:
If you want to learn how to become a better runner, the feel of your shoe's sock liner will be a good indicator of its quality. Arch support is crucial to becoming a better runner. This is because the arch of your foot supports you as you walk or run, propelling you forward like a spring.
To find the best shoes for you, we recommend that you strike the balance between feeling comfortable and stable. Having a low, unsupported arch in your foot can cause a number of muscle and joint problems. To alleviate this issue, remember to pick a shoe with a firm but cushioned sock liner.
Heel cushioning (also known as the ‘midsole’ material) is how your foot is protected from impact shock. Without proper heel cushioning, your shoe might feel confining and for a runner, this is unacceptable. This is where the best cushioned running shoes really excel, and provide the ultimate in both comfort and support.
#12 - Replace Your Shoes Regularly
It can be easy to become attached to your shoes - they carry you from one major fitness milestone to the next, and are with us when we achieve our goals and aspirations. Our tip on running that is the hardest to learn is when it’s time to let go.
It’s recommended that you replace your shoes every 400-600 miles (or every 6 months.) This is not because of frayed fabric or dirt, but the breakdown of your shoes integrity, which can lead to injury or instability when running.
Plus, your running habits may play a part in how quickly they deteriorate. For example, if you’re someone who jogs lightly twice a week, you may not have to replace your shoes as quickly as a long-distance runner who trains four times a week.
It’s vital to recognise the early signs of wear and tear. If you look at the underside of your trainer, where the toe sits, and it is especially worn down, it’s time to visit the shoe shop. There are a number of reasons that this calls for change, the main one being that it shows you have a forceful approach to running.
In order to prevent injury and relieve pressure from your joints, the toe area must be sturdy and supportive. Not only will this compromise your joints, but it will affect your overall efficiency. Our running advice recommends making the decision to protect your body and maximise your training with a new pair of kicks.
If you’ve ever wondered what part of your trainer helps most with shock absorbency, it’s the midsole. If you want to learn how to become a good runner, it’s vital that you spot any signs of creasing in this area. Wrinkling is an indicator of how well your shoe is helping you rebound and without this, you may leave yourself more susceptible to injury.
Last but not least, there are signs of decay that may not be visible in your shoe, but your body. When you first bought your shoes, they likely fitted perfectly. But, if you’re now feeling pain in your knees, or getting blisters on your heel or foot, then it’s more than likely their shape is starting to alter.
Don’t worry - after a longer period of time, this is expected. Becoming a better runner is about listening to your body and knowing when it’s time for change. Even some of the most rugged, best waterproof trail running shoes will deteriorate over time.
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#13 - Expand Your Running Wardrobe
You’ve got your shoes and you’re feeling content, but now it’s time for the rest of the collection. Getting better at running can be helped by feeling comfortable, free and prepared for all types of weather.
If you’re just starting out, it’s important to know why wearing the right clothes can help you become a better runner. Our first reason is quite self-explanatory: the more comfortable you feel, the more likely it is you’ll enjoy your exercise, and the more effort you’ll ultimately put in.
A sports bra that is too tight will feel hard to breathe in, cotton socks may cause discomfort or distracting itchiness, and pants made from the wrong material will begin to chafe your legs. We understand that feeling preoccupied by unsuitable clothes will likely distract you from your goals.
It’s generally assumed that tighter materials allow for a wider range of motion. This is because weighted fabrics (such as a baggy cotton t-shirt) can decrease your speed and limit your ability to run. To know how to run more efficiently, choose running clothes that allow you to move comfortably. Below, we’ve listed our top tips for running clothes and what exactly you should be looking for:
- Shirts/Vest: Deciding between a t-shirt or vest is dependent on the weather. But in both cases, we recommend a top that feels light and comfortable against the skin, made from technical fabrics like nylon or polypropylene. Explore more in our thorough guide to the best running tops.
- Legwear: Whether shorts or running tights, you should opt for a lightweight, supportive and flexible pair of pants. This will prevent chafing and give you freedom of movement without restriction. Pockets are an added bonus that will allow you to carry your keys, phone and any other essential items.
- Sports Bras: High-impact sports bras are a must have. Without proper support, running may cause injury to the ligaments around the breast. To prevent this, look for a sports bra with a defined cup structure - the best sports bras will have compression qualities and adjustable straps.
- Jackets: Predicting the weather is tough. To be efficient in all climates, the ideal running jacket should be both water resistant and breathable to prevent you from becoming overheated. For your own safety, reflective panelling will increase your visibility so that you are able to be seen at night.
- Socks: Now, this might not seem like a pressing issue to some. As much as your casual, typical cotton socks might be convenient, they are not designed to keep your foot comfortable when running. If you want to know how to become a better runner, all aspects of your footwear must be taken into account.
Tips For Fuelling Your Body Effectively
#14 - Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
One of our most important tips for how to become a stronger runner is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This often involves finding the right diet for you, ensuring you’re getting enough fluids, and balancing what you eat and drink with the right amount of exercise.
But it’s also more than just eating the right foods. Getting a boost from vitamins, maintaining healthy feet and sleeping more are just some of many tips for running that will help you in the long run.
By improving your overall health, you can learn to become a better runner while fending off a number of illnesses, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Below, we listed our recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
You may feel your appetite increase while running and there is a very simple reason for this. Your body is burning calories and isn’t eating for a longer period of time.
- To ensure you don’t feel burnt out and are properly fuelled, you’ll need to ensure you eat nutrient-rich, high energy foods.
- For shorter runs under an hour, you may not need to eat beforehand because running on an empty stomach forces the body to break down fat stores.
- For longer runs, high-carb foods will ensure you don’t feel fatigued early on, and provide you with slow-release energy.
Some fantastic food choices for runners include fruit, vegetables and nuts and wholegrains. As can be expected, studies on high-fat, high-sugar processed foods have been found to be associated with a range of adverse health outcomes.
- These foods are fine in moderation. But, if you want to maximise your energy and efficiency as a runner, it’s in your best interest to stock up on some fresh fruit and veg to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and keep your heart beating healthily.
Take Some Vitamins
Vitamins can play a big part in reducing your chances of certain diseases. Even more beneficial is their ability to help the body heal and boost the immune system. In particular, we think that getting enough Vitamin D is of great importance.
- As this doesn’t occur in many foods naturally, you may not be getting enough in your diet. To prevent the fatigue, muscle cramp and joint pain that a Vitamin D deficiency can bring, there are things you can do.
- We recommend getting a safe amount of exposure to the sun, enjoying Vitamin D rich foods, (like salmon, tuna and cod liver oil) and some of the best vitamins for energy.
Take Care Of Your Feet
Your feet truly deserve some looking after. Enduring run after run, they’re going to require care to stay in tip top condition
- Some running training tips to keep your feet healthy involve the power of moisturiser! Feet can get dry and this might become uncomfortable as you run.
- Even more so, trimming your toenails straight across can prevent any nags or sharpness from causing injuries to your feet.
- When you’re not pounding the pavement, remember to wear shoes that are supportive and fit comfortably. These tips before running are not only beneficial for your training, but are acts of self-care that will help your health.
Get More Sleep
Countless people have trouble falling asleep and if that’s you, you’re not the only one.
- Maintaining a sleeping routine has endless benefits. Not only does it lower your risk of diseases, but reduces stress levels by improving your mood.
- By establishing a sleep routine, getting 8 hours of sleep a night and switching off your gadgets, you can have the energy to learn how to become a better runner.
#15 - Eating A Balanced Diet
Some of our best running tips, (perhaps the ones you know the least about) involve why and how certain foods power you to become a better runner. Including the right balance of macronutrients (such as protein and carbohydrates) is integral to ensuring your body has the right fuel for your workouts.
Carbs break down into glucose, which is then burnt to keep you running for the hills. Below are some examples of carbs that you can incorporate into your diet:
- Starchy Vegetables: beans, chickpeas, corn, lentils, butternut squash, sweet potatoes
- Whole Grains: Brown rice, whole-wheat bread, pasta, crackers, oatmeal, popcorn
- Fruits: Bananas, raisins, pineapples, grapes, mangoes, apples, figs (explore more options in OriGym’s complete guide to the best superfruits)
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts
Tips for joggers engaging in low to moderate exercise is not to worry too much about overloading on carbs. This is because this type of exercise doesn’t burn as much fuel as high-intensity running.
Although you should never cut them out entirely, you have to fuel your body the right way. In fact, not eating enough carbs can impact the health of your bones, lower your “good” cholesterol levels, and affect energy levels.
However, it’s important to recognise how “good” carbs (such as the examples we’ve mentioned above) and “bad” carbs (such as sweet treats, cakes, and white bread) affect your body, and how you can moderate your intake to maintain a healthy balance.
Try not to feel guilty for eating your favourite foods. Everything is good in moderation and being too restrictive with your diet may make you feel less motivated.
Proteins (whether its animal or plant protein) are broken down into amino acids that the body absorbs and below, are some examples of high-protein foods:
- Meat: Turkey, beef, chicken
- Fish: Haddock, cod, tuna, salmon
- Dairy: Milk, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt
- Vegetarian/Vegan Alternatives: tofu, lentils, legumes, quinoa
We know that healing from an injury can be brutal. But did you know how essential protein is in helping you recover? Without protein, your body can’t create collagen and if you want to mend your injury, this is what you’ll need lots of. We’ve covered collagen and its myriad benefits in a comprehensive article.
We know that healing a wound in the right way is vital when it comes to getting better at running. Proteins even boost your immune system, helping you to fight viruses that may put you off the track and into bed. Now you know that becoming a better runner means fuelling your body and treating it to the best foods nature has to offer.
#16 - Stay Hydrated
Whether you’re a short or long-distance runner, keeping yourself hydrated is essential for improving your performance, and ensuring you don’t struggle along the way.You may have heard that the recommended daily intake of water is 2 litres, and that’s of the utmost importance during exercise.
To replace normal water loss through the sweat you’ll produce when working out, we’d suggest aiming to include around 3 litres of water per day - you lose approximately a litre of water per hour of exercise you complete, so including this much in your daily routine accommodates that loss, and ensures adequate hydration.
Whether you need tips for jogging or completing a marathon, it’s clear that knowing the importance of hydration can help you become a better runner. If you want to avoid dehydration, drinking regularly is crucial.
Amongst other things, drinking water before a run can ensure that you’re properly fuelled for the workout ahead. This is certainly the case for long-distance running. As experienced runners, we advise that you remember to replace your fluids at regular intervals. Otherwise, you may feel too dehydrated to see your run to the end.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like water, try adding fruit or a no-sugar cordial. Perhaps even pick up an electrolyte drink: they are both a great way to energise yourself while fuelling the body. However, don’t be fooled, nothing is better for the body than water.
The most simple and cost-effective way to stay hydrated whilst running is to invest in a water bottle. Styles may vary according to preference, with some that have grooves for you to place your fingers and others with adjustable straps for maximised comfort. Learn more in our complete report on the best running water bottles.
You might also want to consider a bottle belt or bottle vest. These can accommodate one or multiple bottles, depending on your preference, and leaves your hands free to maintain proper running form. It is ideal for hands-free jogging and allows the weight of multiple bottles to be distributed across your body.
Tips On Avoiding Running Burnout
#17 - Vary Your Intensity
When you’ve been settled into a routine for a while, you might find yourself craving diversity. We recommend challenging yourself to add some excitement to your training. As well as being a great physical step to take, switching up the intensity is a taxing mental exercise.
If you’re someone who likes to run short lengths, try your hand at a long-distance run and see how far you get. Don’t worry if you’re not breaking records - this kind of variety will help you learn how to become a better runner, and learn more about your physical capabilities.
Perhaps you’re an endurance runner looking for something new, or you’re beginning to feel pain in new areas of your body that you’ve never felt before. This is nothing to worry about, and is referred to as adaptive resistance.
If you’ve been a long-distance endurance runner for many years, your progress may begin to plateau: adaptive resistance means your body is becoming used to this manner of exercising, which unfortunately brings with it a higher risk of injury. Read more in OriGym’s comprehensive tips guide for long distance running.
This is why it’s incredibly important to start mixing things up. Learning how to get good at running isn’t all about how far you can go. We’ve touched upon the importance of HIIT training, but it’s equally important to include lower intensity training, too.
Running intensity is defined as how hard you’re running in relation to how hard you’re capable of running. Therefore, low intensity training involves working out for a sustained period of time, anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour.
During these low intensity workouts, your heart rate will be working at around 50-70% of its maximum rate. Lower intensity workouts also place much less stress on the joints, and ensure that you’ve got adequate opportunity to recover from the difficulties of higher intensity classes or workouts.
#18 - Listen To Something Inspiring
Becoming a better runner can sometimes mean investing in a good pair of earphones, or bluetooth running headphones if you’re looking to really streamline your running and remove all the wires.
In fact, studies have shown that music can be used as a strategy that redirects a runner's attention away from pain by focusing on the rhythm and melody of their music. If you find yourself getting uphill quicker while listening to your usual playlist, this may be the reason behind it.
Music often gives us the kick we need to complete our run and unsurprisingly, the reason behind this is scientific. In fact, OriGym’s recent exploration of how music running can aid performance in exercise found a definitive correlation between music and improved performance.
This happens when you’re listening to motivational songs with a prominent and consistent beat. You might wonder how this improves your running. Well, the music helps to synchronise strides and optimise running economy. Learning how to be a better runner can often involve finding the best ways to motivate yourself.
If you’re not a fan of music, try listening to a running podcast. That additional kick of motivation from those who’ve been in your situation will help to keep you on the road to success.
A great tip for becoming a better runner is being excited for your workouts. It shouldn’t be something you dread and loving what you listen to can improve that. We've included reasons and tips for joggers and sprinters wishing to know the benefits of listening to something inspiring.
Using a motivational playlist or podcast not only helps boredom, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like hearing your own footsteps or breathing, music can be a blessed distraction.
Likewise, it’s sometimes hard to ignore pain. Chafing, aching, fatigue, whatever it may be, music gives you something to concentrate on. So go on, distract yourself with a funky playlist.
Perhaps you’re striving to learn how to become a fast runner, but you can’t quite hit the speeds you want. Music may be your answer. By tricking your brain into thinking you’re less tired than you are, you could improve both your performance and speed.
#19 - Be Patient
If you’re someone who is naturally impatient, waiting to see the results of your training can be quite stressful. It’s often a disheartening feeling that may make you question why you started training in the first place.
As runners ourselves, we’ve all been in this position. The frustrations associated with a lack of patience can drag us down, and eman that we aren’t as enthusiastic about running as we might have otherwise been.
It’s important to note that there are multiple reasons why you might not be seeing progress yet. Our tips to run better involve reminding yourself of your goals and staying optimistic. We know that giving yourself credit for hard work is hard itself. But after all, if progress happened immediately. exercise would only be half as rewarding.
There are many reasons you might have started running. Maybe to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, or just learn how to become a better runner. Well, with this multitude of reasons comes even more explanations. With so many ways to become a better runner, it’s likely that the manner you’re checking doesn’t show you true results.
We’d first advise that you don’t take the scales seriously - they can’t tell the difference between a pound of muscle and a pound of fat. It is an unreliable way to indicate weight loss, and can often cause distress when numbers rise. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat and weight fluctuates day to day.
Seeing improvement in your cardiovascular health isn’t as noticeable, but it’s incredibly important. If running is your main form of aerobic exercise, try a new activity that you are not as used to, such as swimming or cycling, and take note of how you’ve improved, and what you’re now capable of.
It’s easy to overlook how great you’ve been doing when you’re too focused on the end result. Keep your eyes on the prize and learn how to be a better runner by rewarding yourself for determination. Or, if you’re really struggling, learn how to choose a personal trainer who can provide guidance on setting the right goals for you.
Oftentimes, it’s easy to look at others thriving and wonder, ‘why aren’t I seeing the same progress?’ Our best running advice to combat this is don't compare yourself to others. Whether you’re feeling unhappy about your mile time, speed or endurance, everyone’s rate of improvement is different.
Tips To Make Your Running Sociable
#20 - Join a Running Club
Do you often find it difficult to stay motivated while running alone? Joining a running club is a great way to make friends and exchange your passion. In fact, the benefits of group exercise are wide-reaching, and can often affect your running in hugely positive ways.
First, if you’ve lost motivation, a running club may be the push you need to stop your progress plateauing. They are also excellent for changing up your routine, as clubs often coordinate different sessions throughout the week. This way, you can avoid boredom and make new friends!
Knowing how to get better at running could become easier when you’re surrounded by like-minded, experienced individuals. This often includes running coaches, who can both keep you accountable and feed you with some valuable hints and tips, as well as motivational running quotes to help you during those tough times
As we’ve mentioned, being surrounded by experienced runners is an excellent way to expand your knowledge. Make the most of your time by picking the brains of your peers and teachers for running training tips.
With encouragement and support, you’ll be well on your way to developing healthy running habits. You could find out which gadgets are best to buy, the quality of different clothing brands, and learn ways to get better at running that you simply couldn’t do without the help of others.
Not only will you become more knowledgeable, but your running itself will improve. The great thing about running clubs is that they have members of all speeds and abilities who are ready to get stuck in. This way, you’ll always have someone to run alongside, even if you’re just a beginner.
On rainy days or early starts, it can be difficult to find your drive. However, running clubs are a great way to increase your motivation. With your new-found friends and fresh goals to hit, things might feel less lonely when you know there’s other people ready to race alongside you.
As runners, we know sometimes life can get really busy. With working full-time and making space for socialising, running clubs often plan their excursions at night, and work around their members’ schedules to ensure you can always be involved.
Tips On Relaxing Post-Run
#21 - Cool Down
It’s easy to overlook the importance of cooling down. If you’ve finished your warm-ups, main exercise, and feel excited to head to the door, slow down - you’ve still got work to do.
Even after the workout is over, your blood pressure and heart rate is still much higher than before exercising. A cool down regulates your blood flow and prevents light-headedness, which can lead to more serious issues such as dizziness or fainting.
Cool downs are also a great way to bring your mind and body back to a calm, relaxed state. And even if you’re rushing to get to work or back home, the duration of cool down largely depends on the intensity of your run. But in general, it’s recommended that you take 5-10 minutes to stretch your muscles to help quicken the recovery process.
Alternatively, if you’ve just completed a run and want to cool down, walk. We know, it seems like a simple suggestion, but by reducing the intensity of your activity, you allow time for oxygen to be delivered to your muscles. This promotes relaxation and even better circulation.
It’s also a great opportunity to include static stretches in your cooldowns. All you need to do is hold a single position for up to 45 seconds. Choose what works for you by noticing any uncomfortable tugging or stretching - OriGym’s thorough guide to the best hamstring stretches for tight muscles provides some ideal suggestions.
Remember, it’s important to relieve cramping and DOMS, but only with stretches you feel comfortable holding. An upper back stretch is great for relaxing your shoulders and arms, while a hamstring stretch will provide relief for your leg muscles.
Incorporating yoga poses into your post-run cool down is also a brilliant way to help increase mobility and flexibility. By loosening up your back, hips and calves, this cool down will teach your muscles how to run more efficiently for next time.
If you want a great recovery and an increased range of motion, yoga is definitely essential to release the aches and pains running can bring. We recommend stretches like downward dog, seated forward bends and bridges to stretch and strengthen your muscles, or learn more in our complete guide to the different types of yoga styles.
#22 - Get a Massage
If you’re looking to treat yourself, deep-tissue massages aren’t just a luxury. Getting a massage is definitely one of our top tips on running that will ease both your body and mind. Let us explain.
Essentially, massages are similar to cool downs. They are excellent in helping you make a speedy recovery after a particularly intense workout. These massages offer incredible benefits, extending beyond just an opportunity to relax and destress.
It’s important to first understand why runners' muscles can feel tight. If you’re training to learn how to run better, faster and stronger, it is the quick contractions in your muscles that will propel you forward. However, this comes with certain downsides.
With your muscles shortening so frequently, some runners experience severe muscle stiffness. This tightening sensation is the result of lactic acid build-up and if left untreated, it could damage your muscles. Massages help to relieve this tightness, as well as relaxing the body.
Massages are also wonderful at increasing blood flow to the tissue in your legs. If you’ve ever wondered what’s responsible for DOMS, it’s toxins, like lactic acid. Massages help your circulation by flushing these toxins from your muscles and allowing you to continue your routine, free of tension.
Not only that, but massages help to release serotonin, a chemical that promotes good mood and improved psychological health. If you’re looking for a way to boost your mental health, improve circulation and release tension, massages are the way to go.
Or, if you’re working on a tight budget, a spiky massage ball can often be a great way to experience all of these benefits at a fraction of the cost. Learning how to run better means taking care of yourself. Both physically and mentally, massages can provide you with such much-needed relief.
General Running Lifestyle Tips
#23 - Remember To Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important parts of learning how to become a better runner. Getting a full 8 hour rest plays an active role in helping to repair tissue, build muscle and prevent illness. Let’s look in more detail.
Well, during sleep, the body produces hormones known as cytokines that fight off infection. Allowing time for these hormones to heal your body is the best way to boost your immune system and improve your cardiovascular health.
Most importantly, sleep is how your body recovers from a tough day of training. One of the best running tips out there is to allow your muscles to heal before you hit the trail again. Running requires concentration and your maximum effort, and without a good night’s rest, you’re simply unable to provide that.
First, consistency is beneficial in both your running and sleeping routine. Your body has its own internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. By becoming attuned to your body’s routine, sleep will be all the more refreshing. For some, this is difficult to establish, and that might be because of a number of reasons.
If you’re someone who is prone to watching TV late at night, drinking caffeine in the evenings or using your phone in bed, it’s time to stop. The blue light emitting from your electronic devices may be the culprit of your sleepless nights.
Similarly, caffeine (while it forms the majority of black coffee benefits) stimulates the nervous system and can stay in your body for up to 6 hours. If you want to know how to become a better runner, paying attention to your evening habits and adjusting them will bring more sustainable, long-term benefits.
#24 - Know Your Limits
Sometimes, it’s hard to know how much is too much. Perhaps you’ve begun increasing your running schedule from 3 to 5 days a week. Maybe you’re running less frequently but travelling further distances.
You might be feeling on top of the world, but overtraining symptoms can manifest themselves differently in everyone. Achieving your goals doesn’t mean running your body to exhaustion. To help you find where your limits lie, we’ve included some common symptoms of overtraining.
Overtraining may appear in both your health and lifestyle choices. A continuous inability to use certain muscles after a workout is a warning sign of overuse, alongside a delay in recovery time.
If you know you’re usually back on your feet after a couple of days but a week later, you still feel sore, you might be overtraining. Knowing your limitations helps you become a more efficient runner.
We know that some days, you’re simply too tired to run. But if you find yourself constantly fatigued with a lack of motivation to continue your sessions, scaling back your frequency may benefit your mental health.
We’d also suggest understanding how important resting is - OriGym’s complete report fully explores the importance of rest days, and how many you need to take in order to avoid overtraining.
You don’t have to be an experienced runner to know that no-one wants an injury. Whether it’s your leg, knee, ankle or foot, these are the areas most commonly affected by running-related injuries (also known as RRI’s) and they happen for a number of reasons.
Some risk factors of RRI’s include being overweight, having a high weekly running distance and running on outworn shoes, but the most common cause by far is having a previous injury that becomes aggravated. A couple of the more common RRIs include:
- Runners Knee, also known as patellofemoral syndrome, is a common injury caused by overuse in sports that involve running and jumping. If you begin to feel a dull pain in one or both of your knees that worsens with prolonged exercise, sitting, or climbing stairs, it might be time to scale back on your workouts.
- Shin Splints occur when you quickly increase the amount you run. Should you begin feeling a dull pain in the front or inner parts of your lower legs, cutting back on how far and often you run will give them time to heal.
#25 - Practice Positive Thinking
While running is an act of physical endurance, it’s often much more than that. Pursuing your goals takes dedication and a lot of mental strength. In fact, there’s a huge number of mental health benefits to running, and it’s equally important to prioritise the psychological self as well as the physical.
Making sure that you enjoy your sport will ensure you stay motivated and successful. To begin radiating positivity, employ these mental tactics to become a better runner, both mentally and physically.
Try to look for positives, not negatives. Perhaps yesterday, you felt unmotivated and didn’t run as quick or as far as you intended. But you still got out of bed, strapped on your running shoes and gave it your all. You should be proud of having the motivation to get out of bed and live a healthier lifestyle.
We know that it isn’t always easy to think of things this way. Sometimes, the norm is to focus on what you haven’t done, rather than what you have. But don’t forget to give yourself credit, brush off your worries and try again tomorrow.
Remembering your goals, whether they’re short- or long-term, especially as these can remind you of why you started running in the first place, and what you’re hoping to ultimately achieve.
Oftentimes, it’s easy to become our own worst enemy. On days where you feel like your best isn’t good enough, it’s even easier to let negative affirmations creep into the brain. A massive barrier to having a positive mental attitude is a negative relationship with your own thoughts.
A fear of failure is normal, as is feeling anxious. But you can learn how to become a better runner by realigning your mindset. When you become aware of negative self-talk, try to correct phrases like ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ with positive alternatives - you can do this, and you are more than capable of accomplishing your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take To Become A Better Runner?
We’d love to give a definitive timeline but unfortunately, none exists. Becoming a better runner is more a matter of consistency and training. Plus, it’s all dependent on your end goal.
Do you want to learn how to become a stronger runner? Perhaps a faster runner? Or do you want to build your endurance? Each of these aims has no specific timeline, but it’s accepted that it takes anywhere from 10 days to 4 weeks to benefit from a run.
Looking to increase your stamina? You must consider how often you train and make adjustments according to when you’d like to reach your goal. If you’re not seeing progress as quick as you’d imagine, try increasing your training. Run multiple times a week and make sure to follow your plan, while still making time to rest and recuperate.
If you’re developing your speed through sprinting, your nervous system will respond quickly to this type of workout. Within 1-3 days, you will be able to see improvements in your ability to activate muscle fibres with greater intensity.
However, when training for longer runs and developing your aerobic system through long-term training, improvement will not be as noticeable or quick. It’s generally accepted that it takes 4-6 weeks to identify changes in your ability.
As you can see, this question has many answers. We suggest you train consistently, fuel your body with the right metabolism boosting foods, and always keep your goals in sight.
How Do You Run Further?
If you’re a budding long-distance runner, it’s normal to feel worn down before completing your workout. But you don’t have to begin your training with a 5K. In fact, if you want to know how to run further, speed is not a priority and you don’t have to start big.
Start by running at a “conversational” pace - this is slower than the average running speed and allows you to have a chat with your running mate. Adding speed as well as distance leaves you more likely to sustain an injury, especially when you’re just starting out.
Take it slow and add your mileage incrementally. Increasing your mileage by no more than 10% weekly ensures that you are on track to achieving your goals steadily and safely, and means you can plan your goals accordingly, too.
Another way to run further is alternating between running and walking. When you’re first starting out, you might find that you need to take a break and this is completely normal. If you’re not used to running long-distances, conserving energy will help you finish your run on a high. It’ll also make the distance you’re trying to accomplish feel noticeably less exhausting.
Equally exhausting is having to stop your run because of muscle tightness. This is very common during long-distance runs and can be fixed by some simple stretching, such as shoulder stretches that combat tightness. Pay attention to which areas are in discomfort, stop for 30 seconds, stretch and then resume.
How Many Times Should I Run Per Week?
This is entirely dependent on your goals and level of experience. The more the better isn’t always the best advice and we would know, we give great advice. So if you’re a beginner who is prone to burning out easily, two or three short runs a week will steadily benefit your endurance while ensuring you’re still enthusiastic.
More experienced runners could run once a day, every day. It’s all about personal choice and knowing what is beneficial for you. However, overtraining can become a problem.
So, even if you’re determined to achieve results quickly, we recommend that you stick to 3-4 days a week while implementing either cross-training or strength training (explore more in our complete guide to the benefits of strength training). In fact, there is a useful distinction between a runner and a jogger that may help you plan out your week.
A jogger’s top speed is below a slow run. Therefore, there is less strain placed on your muscles, and you’re able to run much more frequently with less chance of injury.
But if you’re running to enhance your speed, running at a different intensity over the course of 3-5 days will boost your progress while allowing you time to implement helpful secondary exercises.
No matter how frequently you choose to run, always allow yourself a rest day. This means no form of exercise at all, and we’ve already touched upon the benefits this can have for your body.
Before You Go!
We hope that you’re feeling more confident and ready to achieve your goals. Incorporating our tips to get better at running will help you approach your journey with knowledge. What works for some won’t for others, and experimentation is all part of the process.
And whether you’re an expert in all things cardio, or just beginning your running journey, our tips for running are ideal for amateurs and professionals alike. But if you are at the peak of your physical fitness, then perhaps a career is your next step.
OriGym’s flagship personal training diploma offers the most comprehensive package on the market, with 7 days a week expert guidance, ultra-flexible payment plans, a wealth of personal training resources, and a guaranteed interview after you complete your course.
Click here to download our FREE prospectus, and explore more of what we offer, and how it could be ideal for you.
Written by Professional S & C Coaches
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