No one heads out on a run thinking, “I want this to feel as hard as possible.
We want it to feel good. We want it to feel less difficult than before. And it will if you try out these 11 simple-to-follow running tips:
1. Shorten Your Stride
It’s counter-intuitive, sure, but shortening your stride and aiming to take more steps per minute (180 is ideal) can help you run more efficiently. It saves you energy you would have spent trying to cover more ground with each step.
2. Look Ahead
Keeping your eyes focused on a target in front of you can actually make your runs seem shorter and easier, according to research from New York University. You'll likely perceive your target as closer in distance than you would have if you were taking in everything else around you.
3. Lean Forward
Let gravity help you out. Leaning forward from your ankles (not your hips!) will help you “fall forward” with every step, which takes some of the work away from your legs.
4. Get New Shoes
If you don’t replace your running shoes every 300 to 400 miles, they get worn out and can actually make your run more difficult.
5. Relax Your Arms
Tensing your shoulders and tightly bending your elbows wastes energy that can be better spent moving forward. Here are some tips for switching up your arms for a better run.
6. Break Up Your Runs
Sure, seven miles is seven miles. But if you divvy up your mileage into a one-mile warm-up, five-mile run, and one-mile cool down, each leg will feel a little less overwhelming.
7. Dress Comfortably
Running is hard enough without a bra strap digging into your side or blisters forming between your toes. Take some time to find quality, sweat-wicking workout gear that makes you feel both physically and mentally comfortable.
8. Drink Up
Dehydration is serious stuff. Sweating out even two percent of your body’s weight (that’s just a pound or two!) can wreck your physical performance, not to mention cause cramps, dizziness, and fatigue. Basically, it makes running miserable.
9. Race Someone
Picking out a runner on the sidewalk to rival can help you run faster without even knowing it. In one New York University study, runners who competed with at least one fellow runner cut almost eight seconds off of their mile pace.
10. Keep Yourself Entertained
Sometimes the hardest thing about running is the boredom. To help pass the time, tag along with a running buddy, or download some podcasts, audiobooks, or new tunes.
11. Take Time to Recover
Scheduling recovery workouts and rest days into your schedule will actually help those hard days seem a little less difficult. Your muscles need time to recoup.