Just a couple weeks ago, this blog turned three years old. In the past three years, I have written hundreds of articles both for this blog and other websites and coached dozens of runners. What continually makes blogging worthwhile is the feedback I receive from others – whenever someone thanks for the advice they found in a post, I am both humbled and proud. These tips are some of my best pieces of running advice over the past few years.
Post Race Recovery is an Investment in Injury-Free Training
“Three to seven days may seem like a long time to take a break from running — you’re probably worried about losing hard-earned fitness. However, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can occur anywhere from 24-72 hours after a race. By waiting at least four or five days before you resume running, you avoid adding further stress and fatigue to your muscles. You will only lose a minor about of fitness, which you will easily gain back once you start running again. Consider a recovery week or two as an investment in injury-free training.”
– How to Recover After a Half Marathon, November 2014 (republished March 2017)
Go Beyond Long Slow Distance for a Half or Marathon PR
“When you want to run your fastest half marathon yet, you need to change how you train. Smartly increasing the intensity of your long runs is one of the most effective changes to make.
Again, if you are training for your first half marathon, you want most of your long runs to focus on covering the distance. If you’ve covered the distance before, begin adding new stressors to your long runs. You can sprinkle in some miles at goal pace, finish the last couple miles at a faster pace, or add surges to pick up the pace regularly throughout the run.”
– How to Run a Sub-1:45 Half Marathon, January 2016
Train with Purpose
“Most training plans break down runs into just a few categories: speed work/interval runs, tempo runs, hill repeats, long runs, warm-up and cool down miles, and easy/recovery runs. If you cannot name a specific purpose for a run, then you may be running junk miles. This means that for easy runs, you must run at a truly easy pace, while tempo runs should be at a tempo pace. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and energy in relation to the achievement of your running goal.”
– What are Junk Miles and How Do You Know if You are Running Them?, November 2015
Divide and Conquer
“Why break your workout into two parts? First off, it’s practical for most schedules. A traditional 9-5 work schedule leaves limited time both before and after work. It is much easier to add in two 30-60 minute workouts rather than a single 1-2 hour workout.
Second, splitting your workout in two allows for high-quality workouts. After a run, all I want to do is shower and eat, not lift weights! Not to mention that if I completed a harder run, my muscles aren’t exactly primed for the heavy lifting of kettlebell workouts or the precise movements of Pilates. The recovery time between two a day workouts allow you to complete both workouts without pushing yourself too hard.”
– Two a Day Workouts for Runners, March 2016
Focus on Becoming a Stronger Runner, Not Just a Faster One
“The stronger you are, the longer it will take for your muscles to fatigue. During a long distance race such as a marathon or half marathon, this is incredibly important. Your aerobic system can be top-notch, but your race could still fall apart because your quads feel trashed by mile 18 or your running form falls apart due to a weak upper body and core. Stronger muscles mean a stronger marathon!”
– 4 Reasons to Strength Train during Marathon Training, August 2015
Do Not Obsess over the Scale
“Racing weight, if anything, is more intuitive and organic (almost like how your goal marathon pace should be!). Unless you know from previous goal races what weight you reach on race day, you shouldn’t set a goal weight for your racing weight. Even though you may see racing weight calculators, these are never individualized and will not take into account your bone structure, hormones, and any other individual variances.
Instead, treat your body well, fuel your running the high-quality foods (and enough of them), and train appropriately hard for your race and your goals. On race day, then, you’ll more likely than not find yourself at your racing weight – whatever that may be.”
– 4 Myths about Racing Weight, August 2016
Be Deliberate when Creating a Training Plan
“When in doubt, be prudent. Prudence is a quality that involves exercising caution, accurately understanding your circumstances, and practicing foresight, which is the ability to judge how particular actions will impact your future goals.
So think about increasing your volume through the lens of prudence. Are you being cautious by gradually increasing your weekly mileage and taking the right steps to recover well? Are you currently in a situation where you can safely increase your volume, meaning does your schedule permit it, are you injury-free, and are you not struggling with exercise bulimia (amongst other factors)? Will this change to your training program help you reach your particular goal?”
– How to Safely Increase Your Weekly Running Mileage, February 2016
How You View Yourself Impacts Your Running
“Success in running is as much psychological as it is physiological. While training, recovery, and personal abilities most certainly determine our achievements, the more I learn about the sport of running, the more I believe that our perception of our abilities is the defining factor in how we run. A deliberate narrative for your running will help you improve your psychological approach to the sport and overcome mental barriers, thus leading you towards becoming your best running self, however you may define that.”
- Enjoy your running. Very few runners are elites whose income depends upon their race times. Run in a way that benefits both your health and your happiness. If you prefer long and slow, then embrace long distance running. If you prefer shorter runs, then don’t force yourself to run a marathon just because other runners are. Train to your strengths and develop a training routine that engages you mentally – and know that what you enjoy in running will change from time to time.