Sure, some of us are born to run, but for everyone else, let’s face the facts: Running is hard. It’s tedious. And some days, it feels like we’re at a complete standstill while the rest of the world is logging negative splits.
While there may be no such thing as a “perfect” race, there are ways to set yourself up for success — from technique to cross-training — and yes, find fun on the run again. Whether you’ve completed 100 marathons or have your sights set on one (someday), these resources can help get you hit the ground running this fall. Start with strength, speed work or race day strategy — the choice is yours.
50 Running Resources to Get Better, Faster, Stronger
Speed won’t develop overnight. But committing one or two days per week to intervals, fartleks and other running drills, will help get you closer to your goals. Are you changing up the pace as much as you should? And is your form as efficient as it could be? Get the tips you need, plus other insights to start shaving minutes (maybe even an hour!) off your previous PRs.
To go the long haul, runners can’t just rely on endurance and technique. When fatigue sets in, form will often break down — and without a strong foundation, injuries are inevitable. Strength training for runners will mean honing in on the glutes, hips and core — and addressing any muscle imbalances that may already exist. It’s not supposed to be easy, but it’s always worth it.
While running free of unnecessary gear and gadgets can be, well, freeing, having the right essentials can make the task at hand far more productive. Find out which shoes, GPS watches and weatherproof gear you’ll want to strap on this season — and what to leave behind.
It’s your peak mileage week, and you’re about ready to give up. Don’t throw in the towel just yet! It’s possible your training plan could use some adjustment, or, maybe it’s time to step away from the pavement and vary up your workouts. When all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with some extra motivation (or distractions) on those long runs. A running buddy can be just the trick, or try a podcast that’ll work your brain — in addition to your legs!
The weather’s crappy; everything hurts; there are a million-and-one things on your to-do list that sound more appealing than hill repeats. When the going gets tough, it can help to remember there are incredible athletes overcoming the odds each and every day. That’ll put those sprints in perspective! Whether you turn to accomplished athletes, friendly running bloggers, or motivational music from Meb, inspiration can come from all around us, and sometime from within.
There’s no denying that running can take a major toll on the body. As much as you may want to kick those feet up after a hard-fought 10K, there’s still a little more work to be done. A cool-down walk or jog, foam rolling and active stretching are all essential in aiding the recovery process and getting you back on the track, treadmill or pavement, STAT. Is your post-workout routine what it should be?
Build a Bucket List
So maybe you won’t get around to all these races, but there’s no harm in trying! From mud runs to charity events to marathons on every corner of the globe, there’s truly something for everyone (even if it just starts out as a “someday” pin on your Pinterest board). If there’s a will, there’s a way!
If nutrition isn’t a part of your training game, it’s time to change that. A balanced diet, and understanding how and when to fuel can be the difference between hitting a wall or setting a new personal best. The “runger” is real, but it can be tamed.
Seamless will only get you so far. Maybe you’re not an ace in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a few runner-friendly sports drinks, energy bars and protein shakes to help nourish and fuel you to go the distance.
Training for a big race can be all encompassing, and sometimes the things that matter most can take a back seat. So how do you balance the anxiety and so-called runner “crazies” with…everyday life? This one’s not easy: You’ll need to dig deep before toeing the line.
Ready, Set, Go!
The prep work is done and it’s just you and the starting gun. Or is it? Between the crowds, the elements, and the course’s many unknowns, there’s a whole lot to factor in (and even more you’ll need to just roll with) on race day. These tips will help get you ready for anything. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Which running tips, tricks and training tools have helped make you a better competitor? Share your comments below, and we’ll see you at the finish line!
Originally published November 2014. Updated February 2017.