Tips & Tricks

The 10-Minute Rule
Start every run with 10 minutes of walking and slow running, and do the same to cool down.
A warmup prepares your body for exercise by gradually increasing blood flow and raising core muscle temperature. The cooldown may be even more important. Stopping abruptly can cause leg cramps, while slow running enhances the start of recovery.

The 10-Percent Rule
Increase weekly training mileage by no more than 10 percent per week. Runners who increase their training load too quickly are risking incurring injuries whereas slow building up of distances encourages the physical adaptations in muscles, tendons and bones. Also every third or fourth week, drop back in mileage to recover. This will help you avoid your breaking point.

The Specificity Rule
The most effective training mimics the event for which you’re training. If you want to run a 10-K at five-minute-per-kilometre pace, you need to do some running at that pace. For longer distances like half marathon, keep the total distance covered shorter than the goal race, or run at your race pace in shorter segments with rest breaks (interval training).

The Conversation Rule
Runners whose heart and breathing rates are within their target aerobic zones should be able to talk in complete sentences while running. If you cannot talk comfortably you are probably running faster than optimal.
The Exception: Talking should not be easy during hard runs, speedwork, or races.

The Pre-Dynamic and Post-Static Stretching Rule
As part of pre run warmup routine do dynamic stretches such as lunges, leg swings and hip and ankle rotations. Static stretching where you hold a position at the edge of your range of motion for 15- 60 seconds is most beneficial post run as part of cool down. Don’t forget to stretch the soles of your feet e.g. by pulling your toes towards your ankle, or rolling a golf ball under your bare feet.

The Relax to the max Rule
When running, let your jaw hang loose, don’t bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed and check your posture isn’t slumped. Don’t clench your fists in a white-knuckle grip. Instead, run with a cupped hand, thumbs resting lightly on the fingers, as if you had a potato crisp in your hand.

The Temperature Rule
Dress for runs as if it’s 5-7 C degrees warmer than the thermometer actually reads, i.e. dress for how warm you’ll feel at mid-run–not the first mile, when your body is still heating up. On cold and windy days, the new soft-shell tops and tights are light, warm, and breathable.On warm days, wear a lightweight performance fabric next to your skin, which will disperse sweat through evaporation.
The Exception: There’s a limit to how many clothes you can take off without getting arrested, so if it’s in the 20s or warmer, wear minimal lightweight, light-colored apparel.

The Long-Run-Pace Rule
Do your longest training runs at least three minutes per mile slower than your
5-K race pace. You really can’t go too slow on long runs, because there are no drawbacks to running them slowly. Running them too fast, however, can compromise your recovery time and raise your injury risk. On hot days run even slower.

The Heads-Beats-Tails Rule
A headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up.
So expect to run slower on windy days. The key is to monitor your effort, not your pace. Start against the wind, so it’s at your back in the second half.

The Up-Beats-Down Rule
Running uphill slows you down more than running downhill speeds you up.

Hill Running Rule
Think chest/hips/push, or CHP, when it’s time for uphill running. Chest up, hips forward, push strongly off each foot with shorter strides and faster cadence.

Which-Side-Of-The-Road Rule
To keep safe, run facing traffic.
While running, it’s better to watch the traffic than to have it come up from behind you.
Wear hi-viz clothing when running in low light conditions. Wearing all black not only makes you slimmer, it may flatten you completely.

The 20-Mile Rule
Build up to and run at least one 20-miler before a marathon. Long runs simulate the marathon, which requires lots of time on your feet, and knowing that you can run 20 miles helps you wrap your head around running 26.2.

Snap out of it Rule
“Occasionally pick up speed—for 2 minutes, tops—then settle back into your former pace. Sometimes this is all you need to snap out of a mental and physical funk. Pick a downhill stretch if you can, and really lengthen your stride.

The 2-Hour Rule
Wait for about two hours after a meal before running. If you don’t wait long enough, food will not be properly digested, raising the risk of abdominal cramps, bloating, and even vomiting.

The Familiar-Food Rule
Don’t eat or drink anything new before or during a race or hard workout, stick to what works for you. Your gastrointestinal tract becomes accustomed to a certain mix of nutrients but you risk indigestion when prerace jitters are added.

The Carbs Rule
For a few days before a long race exceeding two hours, emphasize carbohydrates in your diet.
The Exception: There’s a word for carbo-loading during regular training or before a short race: gluttony.

The Refueling Rule
Consume a combination carbohydrate-protein food or beverage within 30 to 60 minutes after any race, speed workout, or long run. You need an infusion of carbs to replace depleted muscle glycogen, plus some protein to repair and build muscle, e.g. low-fat chocolate milk or a recovery-sports drink.

Stay Hydrated Rule
Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. Aim to drink 2 liters of water per day. For a longer race increase hydration in days preceding the race. On race day you can stop drinking 1.5hrs before the start to avoid toilet emergencies.

The Race-Recovery Rule
For each mile that you race, allow one day of recovery before returning to hard training or racing.
That means no speed workouts or racing for six days after a 10-K or 26 days after a marathon. If your race effort wasn’t all-out, taking fewer recovery days is okay if you are feeling well rested.

The Hard/Easy Rule
Take at least one easy day after every hard day of training. “Easy” means a short, slow run, a cross-training day, or no exercise at all. “Hard” means a long run, tempo run, or speed workout. Give your body the rest it needs to be effective for the next hard run.

The 2-Day Rule
If something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off.
Two straight days of pain may signal the beginning of an injury. Even taking five days of complete rest from running will have little impact on your fitness level.
Word of caution: If something hurts for two weeks, even if you’ve taken your rest days, see a doctor.

The Sleep Rule
Sleep one extra minute per night for each mile per week that you train. If you run 30 miles a week, sleep an extra half hour each night as sleep deprivation has a negative impact on training.

Keep your finger on the pulse Rule
Keep a record of your morning pulse. Lie in bed for a few minutes after you awaken and then take your pulse. As your training progresses, it will gradually become slower and after three months or so plateau out. From then on, if your morning pulse rate is up 10 or more beats above your average, then you haven’t recovered from the previous day’s training. Take time off or back off until it returns to normal.

The Don’t-Just-Run Rule
Runners who only run are prone to injury. Cross-training and weight training will make you a stronger and healthier runner. Low- and nonimpact sports like biking and swimming will help build supporting muscles used in running, while also giving your primary running muscles a rest. To hold your body in the right running posture over the distance requires strong core stability. Do a weekly session of circuit training to make sure the whole body is getting a workout. A session should include press-ups, crunches, jump squats, burpees, reverse curls, split jumps and running on the spot with high knees.

The Even-Pace Rule
The best way to race to a personal best is to maintain an even pace from start to finish.
Most of the world records set in the last decade have featured almost metronome-like pacing. If you run too fast early in the race, you almost always pay for it later. Run your own race at an even pace. Consider the course, the temperature, the weather, and most importantly, your current level of fitness.

The New-Shoes Rule
Replace running shoes once they’ve covered 300 to 500 miles. A shoe’s wear rate can vary, depending on the type of shoe, your weight, your footstrike pattern, and the surfaces you run on.
Don’t wait until your only pair is trashed but buy a new pair and rotate them for a while with the old ones.

Go for variety Rule
If you always run the same route, try doing it in the opposite direction. That way any cambers and lateral stresses are transferred to the other foot. If you have several pairs of running shoes, rotate them and if possible, surfaces you run on to avoid repetitive stress on feet. Running on trails instead of asphalt is a great way to bring variety to your training.

Stay open-minded Rule
When you try a new type of training, think like a beginner. Just because you can run 20k every Sunday doesn’t mean you can survive 10 x 400 meters on the track at a fast pace.

Divide and conquer Rule
Pick one thing each year that you need to improve, and work on that. It might be improving your diet, getting more sleep, or increasing your mileage. You can’t work on everything at once.