Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, these running hacks will make your practice even more rewarding.
Some say that the hardest part of running is tying your shoes. It’s true that just making time for a run can be the most challenging part. The best thing about running is that all it really requires is a pair of sneakers and an area to run around! However, there are tons of running hacks that, despite the simplicity of the exercise, will make your runs even more efficient and rewarding.
Give these runner-tested 14 Essential Running Hacks a try and let us know how it went in the comments below!
14 Essential Hacks to Improve Your Run
Hacks for motivation
Schedule your runs on your calendar.
This one seems easy, but it may be the hardest (and most important!). As Wayne Gretzky once said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you don’t even start your run, you will never be able to complete it!
On Sunday, set a goal for your running for the week. Consider how many miles you want to complete, or perhaps how many minutes you’d like to spend running. Then actualize the goal on your calendar. Not only will it help you stick to your goal, but it will prevent others from setting meetings during a time when you were hoping to go for a run.
Make a running mix with songs that have more than 120 beats per minute (BPM).
There are lots of ways to create running mixes on-the-go that match your personal pace.
Not into music? Use your run as a time to catch up on your favorite podcast or news show.
Follow runners on Instagram
Look to other runners for motivation! Here are some inspiring, funny and all-around motivating people to follow. Follow #seenonmyrun to see what other runners like you are posting, and use it yourself to capture some of your favorite moments from your runs.
Use an app to track your mileage
MapMyRun is a great tool if you want to keep track of how far you are running. In addition to letting you know how far you’ve gone each half mile or mile, MapMyRun has other great features that can keep you motivated to keep going:
- Log your workouts. Added bonus: This will help you know when it’s time to buy new sneakers based upon your mileage.
- Access trainers and training plans
- Get nutrition advice, and
- Discover running routes around you.
Hacks for running prep
Lay your clothes out the night before.
The last thing you want to have to do before an early morning run is to search for a missing sock, or realize you don’t have any clean running clothes.
This quick and easy hack will help you stay motivated when you’re tempted to stay in bed. As an added bonus, especially if it’s an early run, your partner or roommate will thank you!
Try some dynamic stretching.
Did you know that “static stretching,” or holding a muscle for 30 seconds or more before a run, could hurt your performance and actually cause injury? Although perfectly safe after a run, it’s best to skip static stretching and instead do some dynamic stretches.
Here are some examples of dynamic stretches. Basically, rather than holding muscles in place, dynamic stretching uses controlled movements to loosen up muscles and increase your heart rate.
Make sure you fill your body with high-quality food that is packed with nutrition. Combine plenty of protein with complex carbohydrates the night before (or morning before) a long run. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Need some inspiration? Make sure you have these foods on your grocery list this week.
Get fitted for sneakers.
Investing in running shoes that are a good fit for your foot is an investment in your safety and health. Shoes that don’t fit your feet correctly can lead to muscular imbalances and make you more prone to foot, knee and hip injuries.
Go to a running shoe store that has trained professionals. They will be able to evaluate your feet and stride and help you find a perfect shoe for you.
Hacks for a great run
Stay safe by wearing a shoe ID tag
Many runners who run outside leave their wallets and identification in the car or at home since they can be cumbersome to carry. Run worry-free by putting a shoe ID tag on your laces. If you run by yourself and get injured, it makes it easy for someone to get you the immediate help you may need.
Tie your key into your shoelace
Want to run outside sans-keys, too? Tie your key to your other shoelace so you don’t have to worry about carrying or losing it.
As a rule of thumb, if it’s:
30-40 degrees Fahrenheit: Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a fleece, gloves and ear warmers.
40-50 degrees Fahrenheit: Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants or cropped pants. If you tend to be cold or it is very windy, add a light-weight sweatshirt.
50+ degrees Fahrenheit: Wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.
Need more help getting dressed? Check out this great Runner’s World tool. Plug in your conditions and it will tell you what to wear.
Hacks for post-run recovery
Water is essential for virtually every single one of our bodily functions and is vital to our overall health. When it comes to running, hydration is no different. In fact, some say staying hydrated is one of the single most important things you can do as a runner to improve your performance and prevent injury.
Begin your race or workout with 8-16 ounces of water. Post-run, drink 32 ounces of water. Adding some sea salt will help your body soak the water up like a sponge and replenish. If it’s an extra-long run, consider drinking coconut water or a sports drink to help your body recover.
To boost your recovery, focus on eating carbohydrates post-run that are high in glucose and fructose. These will help refuel your muscles and glycogen stores. Here are some great ideas for post-workout meals.
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What do you think?
Have you tried any of these running hacks? Have others? Let us know in the comments below.