How can I become a better runner
23 tips from runners for runners - from A for alternative training to Z for goal
Do you want to have more fun while running? Speed up? Avoid injuries? Never lose to your weaker self again?
Okay, that was a rhetorical question: of course you want that!
With our contributions here on beVegt and in our podcast, we try to help you find your own personal path to more fitness, health and satisfaction.
But do you know what's even better than the tips of two enthusiastic runners?
Correct: The concentrated experience of a huge running community!
That is why we in the team beVegt group simply asked everyone on Facebook:
What has helped you the most to be fitter, faster, more motivated and have more fun running?
We have sorted the answers and combined them into 23 tips that we would like to introduce to you today.
Very important: do not try to do everything at once! It's best to read the list and pick a point or two to start with. Then you can set a bookmark and check the post every now and then if you need new ideas for your training!
Tips for (even) better running training
1. Do running ABC regularly
1-2 times a week are ideal. Even better: at the beginning of every run after the warm-up. You can find loads of running ABC videos on YouTube.
2. Leave your running watch, smartphone or other technology gadgets at home
Just focus on running. Not on the pace, not on your pulse, not on the distance - just let it go and listen to your body.
Perhaps your planned endurance run will turn into a varied driving game. Maybe you're exploring a whole new route. Or you are just going super slow and recharge your batteries for the next runs.
3. Treat yourself to professional performance diagnostics
You have to invest a bit of time and money for this, but you will then know exactly how fast you should run in your easy and fast units in order to achieve the best training effect.
Performance diagnostics can also be the basis for an individual training plan (see next point).
4. Exercise with a training plan that suits you perfectly
A systematic running training built with sense and understanding is the key to more running fun and success. A good training plan strikes the right balance between exertion and recovery and ensures that you make optimal progress.
In this post you will learn how you can create your own training plan. And if you prefer to use a “ready-made” training plan that will systematically and efficiently get you to your goal, then take a look at LAUFSTART and FINISHER - our all-round carefree packages for beginners and advanced runners!
5. Don't stress yourself
If you lie to this post, then the chances are good that running is a hobby and compensation for you, and that you don't earn your money running as a professional runner.
If you don't feel like running for a longer period of time, then respect that. If you keep running and your head doesn't want to, in the worst case scenario you will run into runner burnout. Sometimes it helps if you take a break from running and put your head and body on “withdrawal” until you really feel like running again.
6. Provide variety in running training
There is hardly a greater brake on motivation and performance in running than monotony and boredom. Here are a few tips on how to add variety:
- Try out new routes every now and then (flat, hilly, asphalt, dirt roads, trails).
- Run at different times of the day: sometimes in the morning before work even if it's difficult for you, sometimes in the evening into the sunset, and why not through the night with a headlamp?
- Train once or twice a week in barefoot shoes or light running shoes with low heel and cushioning.
- Build a driving game, interval training, or speed run into your workout once a week.
Tips for alternative training
7. Incorporate regular strength and stability training into your training week
2-3 times a week 20-30 minutes is enough. You don't have to sign up for a gym or buy expensive exercise equipment. You can do many exercises with your own body weight (you can find 8 basic exercises especially for runners here).
We have put together a few affordable tools for you to spice up your training with in this post.
8. Work on your weak points
There is hardly a better way to invest your time. We have collected exercises and tips for you on a few typical problem areas for runners:
9. Keep your fasciae supple
The fasciae give your body structure and fulfill a multitude of important functions - that's why you should take good care of them!
For example, you can loosen your fasciae with the Blackroll * and loosen adhesions. The 8 best blackroll exercises for runners with photo instructions can be found here.
But there are also other forms of fascia training. Do you want to know more about it? Then read this post.
10. Find a second sport
There is no question about it: running is a great sport - nevertheless, ONLY running is not a good idea. Due to the one-sided load, certain muscles are neglected, while other areas of your body such as your knees or the Achilles tendon are particularly stressed.
That is why it is good if you not only focus on running, but also have another sport that you can use to balance things out. Swimming, yoga, Pilates, biking, inline skating, climbing, and hiking are all good alternatives.
This "second sport" is not about doing it in a performance-oriented way and achieving the greatest possible training effect! For example, we like to go for a leisurely hike or take leisurely bike tours, and see this as active relaxation.
Tips for more motivation
11. Set a goal for yourself
Having a specific goal in mind is the best motivation you can get. You will then know exactly why you are putting on your running shoes, even if you have had a strenuous day or if it is raining outside.
For us, competitions work best as goals. There is hardly a time in the year when we are not registered for any competition.
But there are other types of goals you can set yourself: to complete a certain distance in a row, run a certain number of kilometers per month, improve your best time on your favorite lap, etc.
12. Ensure commitment
If you have set yourself a certain competition as your goal, then make sure that you are binding and register!
Here is another way to ensure commitment: make an appointment to run or join a running group (see also tip 14)!
13. Document your training and your successes
Old-fashioned with paper and pen, in an Excel list or with an online app such as Strava. By the way, you can join the team beVegt.de group there.
This tip sounds quite banal, but believe me - it works! We humans are simply so knitted that we don't like to tear series down and don't want to enter fewer kilometers this month than last month.
14. Join a group while running
Running in a group is motivating because you get to know new routes and people, and when you run together, the time goes by much faster than when you are traveling alone.
Plus, you're not going to recklessly cancel a runner-up meeting just because it's drizzling a bit or you're feeling tired.
15. Run a competition "just for fun"
You don't always have to aim to do your best and get there as quickly as possible. It can also be really fun to just enjoy the atmosphere of a run and not run "at the limit".
16. Have a plan B for injury breaks
If running is the only hobby that you draw positive energy from, then during an injury break you can fall into a real hole. In such a situation it helps a lot to have another (as creative as possible) activity that enriches your day and is fun for you.
For us, this is blogging and working on our various projects related to moving - but photography or making music are great hobbies that you can use to distract yourself during an injury break.
17. Don't force anything
And remember that after every low it goes up again.
Tips for your regeneration
18. Switch down in between and allow yourself a break from running
If you train hard from spring to autumn, have covered many kilometers and regularly participated in competitions, a regeneration break is extremely important.
Professionals don't do it any differently! In her book A Life Without Borders, Chrissie Wellington talks about the fact that she took a complete break from sport after the last Ironman of the season and then slowly approached her training again.
And this training break of several weeks obviously didn't hurt her, because Chrissie has won all 13 Ironman triathlons in which she started as a professional!
19. The more exercise you do, the more sleep you need
As a rule of thumb, running 10 kilometers per week increases your need for sleep by around 1 hour per week. At 70 kilometers a week, that means you have to sleep an hour longer a night! If you can't get any more sleep during the week, then at least get a good night's sleep on the weekend.
20. Have a regeneration snack after a strenuous workout
After training, your body begins to regenerate - and for that it needs energy and protein. You should therefore have a regeneration snack before you even take the shower. For example, we like to drink a smoothie with banana, oatmeal and peanut butter.
You can find more information on the subject of "nutrition and regeneration" in this post.
Tips for your diet
21. Eat good quality food and cook it yourself as often as possible
If you only eat chocolate and fast food, you will hardly have enough energy for top athletic performance. On our recipe topic page you will find around 100 recipes suitable for sports that taste good and are quick to prepare.
22. Don't be afraid of carbohydrates
In endurance sports, too, a low-carbohydrate diet is being promoted more and more frequently, including an extremely low-carbohydrate diet with less than 20 g of carbohydrates per day.
There is no scientific evidence to prove the benefits of low carb for endurance athletes. You can find a good summary of the current study situation here.
So you don't have to be afraid of carbohydrates - as part of a balanced diet, fruits, pasta, rice and Co. give you the energy for your sporting adventures!
23. Don't be too strict with yourself and treat yourself to something
Your diet should be enjoyment, not just a means to an end. If you feel like a big piece of cake, a delicious burger or a chocolate bar after a strenuous training session - go for it! Food like this is perfectly fine in moderation.
Can you add another tip to our list? What helped you become a better or happier runner?
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