Ask any experienced runner the secret to their success, and most likely they’ll say it comes down to consistency. Committing to healthy routines is vital to keeping you motivated, protected from injury, and on track to achieving your running goals. Find your own success by incorporating these tried and true habits.
1. Enjoy the Process
The honest truth about running is it doesn’t always go according to plan, so let’s start this list with some realistic motivation. Some runs will make you feel like Superman, others you’ll feel like a super dud. Understanding and accepting this will help you avoid letting one bad workout discourage you. It’s only a small part of the bigger picture, so keep putting one foot in front of the other and celebrate small accomplishments along the way as you work toward your longer-term goals.
2. Warm Up, Cool Down Every Time
A proper pre-run warmup wakes up your cardiovascular system by heating the body and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Plus, it can help reduce muscle soreness during a run and lessen your risk of injury. Walking briskly, cycling, marching in place, and drills like lunges or high kicks are all great options. Similarly, cooling down after your run shouldn’t be overlooked. A slow walk followed by static stretches allows for a gradual recovery of heart rate, blood pressure, and muscles. Again, injury prevention is the name of the game, so incorporate this routine for every run.
3. Wear the Right Gear
Consistent running means you may wear down shoes and clothes more quickly, but it’s important to replace them as needed rather than pushing through. Having the right attire can improve your performance, decrease chance of injury, and make running more comfortable. Trust us, you don’t want to do a long run with worn out tread on your shoes! Don’t overlook quality socks either; the right pair can make a world of difference for your feet. Take Feetures’ sock finder quiz for your style match, or consider our Merino 10 Ultra Light Tab (named “best no-show sock” on Runner’s World’s Best Running Socks of 2020!).
4. Strength Train …
Core and weight-lifting exercises can be an incredible supplement to your running, but are often neglected. Make it a goal to incorporate strength training into your weekly workouts. Stronger muscles (especially your core) means better posture and better use of energy when you run, as well as fewer injuries. If strength training seems overwhelming, remember that even a short routine done consistently will benefit your running more than hours at the gym.
5. … and Cross Train
Supplement your running even further by mixing in a few cross-training workouts to increase agility and build up different muscles. Swimming, cycling, skating, and yoga are all fun options to work your body in support of your running. They’re also great ways to get some exercise in while you’re rehabbing an injury so you can return to the road in good shape.
6. Active & Passive Rest Are Key
The repetitive action of running inevitably puts you at risk for injury. In fact, studies reveal that more than 60% of runners deal with injuries at one time or another. Rest days are imperative to reducing this risk, and that includes both active and passive rest. Active rest includes gentle activities like yoga, swimming, foam rolling, or a massage. These give your muscles a break from pounding the hard pavement while still stretching them out to reduce inflammation. Passive rest means taking the day off completely. Those days are good opportunities to focus on mental recovery and getting quality sleep.
7. Incorporate Speed Work
Experienced distance runners will tell you that there is just as much value in speed work as there is in long runs. Incorporating both will make you a stronger runner and elevate your technique. Speed work can include track workouts, fartlek, strides, or sprinting. To avoid overdoing it and risking injury, speed work should make up no more than 20% of your weekly running.
8. Keep Routes Fresh
Ever get in your car and arrive at your destination without remembering the drive? The same thing can happen when you always run the same route. Your path becomes ingrained in muscle memory and that can stagnate your progression. Push yourself to check out a different trail, hit a new track, or even simply turn left instead of right when you head out the door. Mixing up your usual routine can do wonders to refresh your love of the sport and keep your body engaged during each run.
9. Fuel Your Body
Making smart choices each day to consciously fuel your body with healthy carbs, fats, and proteins will not only support your workouts but help you avoid injury, too. Properly hydrating before, during, and after runs is also crucial. Water regulates body temperature, cushions joints, flushes out waste, and provides energy to make the most of your runs. Plus, it can reduce cramping during a workout and improve recovery time afterward.
10. Choose a Supportive Partner
Running can be made even better when you have a partner supporting you. A friend or spouse is one option, Feetures is another! We are committed to your comfort, putting years of research and technology into each pair of socks. Our anatomical design with right/left specific socks won’t bunch up, provide a custom-like fit, and utilize a blend of natural and synthetic fibers for better moisture-wicking.
We’re so dedicated to your running success that we offer a lifetime guarantee that allows for a replacement at any time with no questions asked, so try a pair today!