Best Running Tips
From our Guys who Love Running

Get the Best Running Tips from the runners in our family - a family doctor and our son, a record-setting long distance runner. Learn tips ranging from how to get started, what to wear, and running stretches and form. They have collected trophies and medals and plaques from all kinds of community races and school competitions.

Best Running tips from Dr. Dave:

How to Start Running - Start slow and increase as you go.
Do not think that this is preseason conditioning in high school.  If you think that you can get in shape in a week – you will probably be getting hurt.  There is no shame in taking your time to be in condition.

I was content when I first started to run 100 yards then walk. I did this for a whole month, until I could run a mile non-stop. After that month, I used a 5K training schedule.  I gradually increased this over several months until I could run several miles without stopping.


Have a goal.
Without goals it is hard to know if you are making progress.  Goals also keep you motivated to keep going on those tough days.  Plus, when you set your sights to achieve something – then you will have a series of smaller goals to accomplish to get to the final destination.

My first goal was to run a mile without stopping.  My next goal was to run a 5 k... then a 5 mile... then a half marathon ... then a full marathon. It took a year to get to the level of a half marathon then another six months of training to get to a marathon. For every goal, I used a training schedule from Hal Higdon.


Increase your goals as you become better.
This will keep you motivated to keep running.  Longer races or faster times?  Trail runs or a triathlon? Keep it interesting.

I remember when I started how I worked on each goal.  For example, I wanted to run a 5 k.  So, I had little goals each day and a deadline of the race date.  I knew that if I did not do my daily run- then I would not be prepared for the final goal.  As I have done different races, I look forward to different challenges that a variety of races brings. One of my most useful running tips is keep setting goals.
 

Intervals are your friend - especially when you first start out.
Intervals will keep you from getting injured while you are getting in shape.  In fact, I saw a story not too long ago that someone improved her time in a marathon by doing planned intervals instead of just running the whole time. 

Like I said before, intervals are the secret in starting to run. I ran as far as I could, which can be a few meters, then I'd walk until I could run again.

Now my son and I run intervals to improve our times. You can do mile intervals - run a faster mile, then jog a mile.

Intervals are the best running tips for 1) getting started, then 2) getting faster.

Click here for more information about interval workouts.

 
Be patient.
Again, the fastest way to get hurt is to be in a hurry to get fit.  Rome was not built in a day and neither is getting in shape.  You will either get injured or get discouraged. The best running tip is to be patient.

I was not in a hurry to get in shape. I had decided that getting fit and strong was more important to me than losing weight. I was patient to take increasing my conditioning in a step-wise manner. Even when I was running several miles every day, I was still only losing about 2 pounds a week. This is normal.

People that push themselves too far too early get injured. I started slow with intervals, and gradually increased with a training schedule.

 
Wear good shoes.
The first pair of running shoes that I had were from a big box store running shoes from Nike.  They tore up my feet with anything over a few miles of running.  It is worthwhile to go to a running store to really find a pair that fits well or try a place like Roadrunnersports.com were you can return shoes that are not comfortable. 

These days I prefer to run in lightweight minimal shoes.  I have not had any injuries and seem to keep my feet healthier without a lot of structure in the shoe.

If you go for a normal run, and your feet hurt, you might need a new pair of running shoes. Holes are a good indication, too! I usually get new shoes every 6 months, but our son wears out his shoes every 3 months. It's fun to see what the latest running shoe development is; it keeps running fun. The best running tips for shoes is keeping trying and find out what works for your feet and your mileage.


Do not wear cotton.
As the saying goes “cotton kills”. (That means wearing wet cotton clothes in a survival situation keeps your sweat from evaporating, chaffs, and stays cold and wet for a long time.) Cotton loses its insulating power when wet.  It will also be heavy and uncomfortable with chaffing over time. Invest in modern wicking running clothes. You will be much happier.

We started out wearing cotton t-shirts when we ran, but that didn't last long. (see reasons above) It was uncomfortable and heavy. Then we started wearing synthetic workout clothes; what a difference! We stayed cooler; they were lighter; we were happier runners.

I always wear modern breathable fabrics when running.  I haven't worn cotton in years for running. Having the right "tools" will make your exercise easier, and that includes your running clothes.


Cross train.
There is no harm in biking, walking , swimming etc. when injured.  In fact, some think that cross training occasionally anyway might make you faster and in better running shape.  Cross training will rest the injured part while keeping you in shape.

I am starting to bike, and I like to walk with my wife. In fact, my son is getting so fast, I need to bike so he can run at his pace.

Core workouts are important to runners, too. I have done pilates, which many athletes find improves their performance. Our son does his own core workout every night; it consists of sit-up-like exercises, mason twists and push-ups. He recently bought a medicine ball to increase the intensity of his core workout.

Yes, a best running tip is to not run sometimes - cross train.

Drink plenty of fluids.
DO NOT get dehydrated.  This will reduce your performance and put you at risk for heat stroke.  Take water with you or have planned stops on longer runs at a store or water fountain.  Have a phone and call someone to pick you up if you are getting too dry.

I always drink about 12 ounces before a run. For a long run on a hot day, I use my camel-bak which straps around the waist or shoulders and carries water. I also drink after I run.

If I run over 8-10 miles, I drink Gatorade to rehydrate. Otherwise, I stick to water.

I remember running my second marathon in 90 degree heat.  Talk about miserable.  Nothing is worse and zaps your strength faster than being over heated. It's dangerous to get dehydrated. Best running tip - drink your water - before, during, and after.


Have a training partner to run with or to be accountable.
It is great if you can find someone to run with or someone local or online that will keep you accountable.  It is harder to skip a workout or quit if you know that someone else has expectations for you.

I like to run with my son.  It keeps both of us interested in the run and we can talk about things while running. It also keeps him training in his off-seasons.

When I first started running, though, he was too young to run with me. I think that's why I liked having "the next race" as my goal - that's when I got to run with other people. I ran races with my brother, brother-in-law, and friends from church.


Join a running club, if possible.
Share the joy of running with others that have more or different experience than yourself.  Also, this a good way to do group runs or races that are organized by the club. 

I have lots of friends who stay accountable with groups like this. We live in the country, so I don't like to drive back into town after working. I tend to run with my family, on my treadmill, or by myself.



Motivation for Running - Have fun!


Best Running Tips From our son, a record-setting long distance runner:

Run with other people.
I tried to run by myself because I knew I wanted to join cross country. It was hard. When I joined the team, it was much easier because I was running with other people and following the coach's instructions.

Now I like running so much, I can do it by myself.

It's also important to find someone with your similar fitness level so you can keep up with each other.


Have a routine for stretching.
We have a rope-stretching routine and a lunge routine.

My advice is to do the same stretches each time. Your body likes routine.

Runners can get weak hips, so I do the myrtl routine (you can find an example on youtube.com) to strengthen my hips. Don't do it every day. 2-3 times a week.

I helped my mom with this webpage about running stretches.


Don't push your arms forward - Push your elbows back.
You want your arms parallel to each other when you run. Don't swing them around.

Instead of trying to push myself forward with my arms, it helps to think of pushing my elbows backwards.


Maintain your running form.
The worst thing you can do when you get tired is to lose your form. You'll get even more tired and lose time.

Running form isn't the same for everybody. You want to be smooth and fluid.

When I'm running a race and am reminded to keep good form, I straighten up a bit, make my arms go back to parallel, and pick up my feet more. That's what works for me.


Buy last year's model of running shoes.
They're cheaper, and you still get a great model of running shoe. The best running tips for shoes is not to waste your money on this year's model - it isn't that different from last year.


What to eat before and after a race.
Before:
light food such as bananas
drink a little water

After:
pretty much anything

Best running tips for eating - don't eat anything heavy before you run.


What to yell at a race.
Don't yell:
"Run faster!"

It can be really annoying when fans yell this. Either we're already running our fastest, or we have a racing strategy to pace ourselves and run faster at certain points.

Do yell:
Keep your form.
Keep your head up.

These comments actually help me. Actually, I don't hear most of the fans' yelling at my meets, especially in crowded areas. Best running tips for fans: be considerate and have fun. Cow bells are good at big races, too.

Put these Best Running Tips into practice to enjoy a life-long passion of running.

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