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The 76 Best Pieces of Advice For Runners, From Runners

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    On Training

    1. Always check the weather before you leave. This seems obvious, but I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten and gotten stuck inclement weather I definitely wasn't prepared for. —Carly Goldstein, Providence, RI

    2. Running slow won't make you slow! I thought that if I took it easy during a run, I would become more comfortable running slow—and then when it was time to race, I wouldn't remember how to run fast. But it's necessary to let your body recover from the hard workouts by either resting or doing an active recovery with easy-paced comfortable miles—miles that should be run at paces way slower than your goal pace. —Michele Gonzalez, Staten Island, NY

    3. Run by effort and don't get too consumed with the numbers. You may find that you'll run better and have more fun. —Anne Callaway, New York, NY

    4. Find out what fueling strategy works for you—and don't feel the need to mix it up. —Jenna Deutsch, Boston, MA

    5. Running is hard. Learn how to run while it hurts by perfecting your ability to relax with the pain. —Lew Leone, Westchester, NY

    6. Learn to control your breathing. This is often overlooked. Counting your paces with your breath and maintaining a steady breath will keep you level-headed, and you'll recover faster on hills or when you're running hard. —Brandon Wei, Roslyn, NY

    7. Never let weather be an excuse to skip a run! Get motivated by the sick pictures you can post of yourself running in crazy weather. (Just, you know, still be safe.) —Lew Leone, Westchester, NY

    8. Run by yourself and with others. It's great to have run companions and people to encourage you through tough workouts, but it's also important to do some of those runs alone. Pushing through hard solo runs builds self-confidence. —Anne Callaway, New York, NY

    9. Follow your training schedule. Focus on today's workout instead of stressing about tomorrow's. Each workout has a purpose. In a month, what you've been working toward will be clear. —Ben Waldman, New York, NY

    10. Enlist an accountability buddy. Making plans to meet someone on days I have a hard run ensures I won't flake out. Even if you have different workouts on tap or run at different paces, starting together and knowing you have someone to meet you will get you out the door—and that's the hardest part. —Megha Doshi, San Francisco, CA

    11. Don't let yourself go too easy. Training should be tough—that's how you know it's working. —Ben Waldman, New York, NY

    12. Share your progress. Sharing your workouts on Strava or Instagram are great ways to track your progress, share your goals and adventures, and get some well-deserved pats on the back for your hard work. —Megha Doshi, San Francisco, CA

    13. Ease into it. If you're just starting out or are coming back from an injury, play a game of walk/jog with two minutes of jogging and one minute off, or run during a song and then walk for a minute. —Kaitlin Fuelling, New York, NY

    14. If you want to run faster, you have to run faster. Not all the time, and not on every run, but you have to run faster to get faster. —Ryan Starbuck, New York, NY

    15. Summer running always feels harder. Embrace the sweat and trust that the sticky runs will feel much better, easier, and faster come fall. —Anne Callaway, New York, NY

    16. Do push-ups, squats, and planks. You don't need any equipment or a lot of time to get a quick, efficient core workout in. —Megha Doshi, San Francisco, CA

    17. You'll never regret a run once you drag yourself out of bed and get moving. Even if it's raining, snowing, sleeting, or windy, or your laces are too tight or so loose they're coming untied, or your head is fuzzy, or you just don't feel like it. By the time you get home, if you're wet, you need to shower anyway, your head will be clear, and you'll realize it was worth it. —Alyssa Stacey, New York, NY

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    On Gearing Up

    18. Get running shoes from a running store. Go get properly fitted! It may make all the difference in how you feel during and after a run. A trained professional knows more about all the different running shoes, styles, and brands than a teenager with a summer job at Dick's Sporting Goods. —Amanda Stecco, Brooklyn, NY

    19. Rotate through your shoes. Instead of running one pair of shoes into the ground, rotate between two or three pair at a time so you're never wearing shoes that are so worn out you might as well run barefoot. —Megha Doshi, San Francisco, CA

    20. Invest in quality running socks. It's worth $14 to avoid blisters. —Emily Daniels, New York, NY

    21. Just say no to cotton socks. My feet have sacrificed a lot of skin for me to be able to share this piece of advice. Your shoes are only as good as your socks, and if your socks are cotton, your shoe doesn't mean anything. —Amanda Stecco, Brooklyn, NY

    22. A well-fitting pair of compression shorts are a girl's best friend. I swear by the 5" Under Armour compression shorts, and I'm on a mission to tell the world how great they are. —Emily Daniels, New York, NY

    23. If you choose to wear headphones, don't blast them too loud. It's important to be able to hear nearby sounds that can reflect threats to your safety, like cars, bikes, and wildlife. —Carly Goldstein, Providence, RI

    24. Bras are tricky. Buy ones that truly fit and aren't too tight. And don't put them in the dryer! The first time I saw a rash from underboob chafing, I freaked out, and it hurt. Turns out, my bra shrunk in the dryer and no longer fit properly. Lesson learned. —Amanda Stecco, Brooklyn, NY

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    On Race Day

    25. Always pack flip-flops in your post-race bag. The last thing you'll want on your feet after 26.2 miles is a pair of running shoes. —MaryBeth Smith, Queens, NY

    26. Pack your favorite post-run food in your checked bag. Anything you'll be able to choke down. For me, it's salty Doritos and a Sprite. Someone tried to feed me an apple after my first marathon. I promptly puked it up. —Abby Bales, New York, NY

    27. Be on time. And on time means arriving with time to wait in the porta-potty line. Plan accordingly. —Ben Waldman, New York, NY

    28. Run your own race. Don't get caught up trying to beat someone else on the road or someone else's time. Run your best, strongest, fastest race. —Nicole Haber, New York, NY

    29. Expect it to hurt. Expect it to feel impossible. But set your race goal and stick with it until you cross the finish line. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you get there, or how many attempts it takes—just don't give up. —Kelly Roberts, Brooklyn, NY

    30. Don't set a time goal for your first marathon. Just plan to finish and revel in the accomplishment of completing 26.2 miles. Completing a marathon is an incredible feat, and all of your finish line thoughts should be positive rather than could've/would've/should've. You can shoot for time during your second, third, and fourth marathons. —Laura Skladzinski, Boulder, CO

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    On Keeping It Fun

    31. Set a goal. Whether it's in days, hours, miles, work toward it, and reward yourself with new gear or shoes once you reach your goal. —Elizabeth Weiner, Tinton Falls, NJ

    32. Find a community that supports you. Nothing will motivate you or help improve your running more than doing it with other people. There will always be someone to push you when it feels like the phrase "I can't" is plastered on every street sign. You'll always have someone to take it slow with and someone to out-pace you. Solo runs can be amazing—we all need those every now and then—but having someone by your side can make those grueling long runs and sprint intervals so much better. —Amanda Stecco, Brooklyn, NY

    33. Smile at other runners—and smile back if they smile at you first. —Carly Goldstein, Providence, RI

    34. Always end summer runs with an ice cream stop, watermelon stop, or Slurpee stop. Switch to cookies in the winter. —Whitney Suflas, New York, NY

    35. Pick a subject to talk about to keep your mind off the miles. Whether it's weekend plans, a dream vacation, or what to eat for breakfast. My cross-country team used to discuss our favorite types of Gatorade and lemonade. (Simply Lemonade or Chilled Tropical Blend Gatorade FTW.) —Kaitlin Fuelling, New York, NY

    36. Run in things that make you feel comfortable and confident. When I don't like the clothes I'm in or I'm uncomfortable, I'm less confident and less focused on my running because I'm distracted by how I look. —Jessica Podell, New York, NY

    37. Spend time crafting a great playlist. The longer, the better—filled with whatever will get you up and over those hill sprints. —Brittney Castine, Boston, MA

    38. If you find yourself dreading runs, plan a destination run to explore a place you either haven't gone before, or somewhere you really like. I also recommend planning a fun food destination to stay motivated throughout the run. Food = refueling and recovery. Fun fact: The best doughnuts in NYC are exactly 12 miles from my apartment. —Melissa Nathanson, New York, NY

    39. If you're a chronic long run procrastinator, make plans for later that day so you have to run by a certain time. No one likes being late to meet with friends! Even better, end your run somewhere where you can grab food with friends. Extra points if there's grass around so you can do some core work! — Jenna Deutsch

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    On All The Mental Stuff

    40. You can do anything for seven minutes. Repeat as necessary. —Abby Reisner, New York, NY

    41. Running does not define you, it refines you. —Chris Heuisler, Belmont, MA

    42. Use your running as a time of personal thought. Our days are so bogged down by emails, calls, and meetings—there's very little time for ourselves. If you're able to use your time running as time to think—or not think—it becomes a special time. —Lizzy Weiner, Tinton Falls, NJ

    43. When you think you're going to die, you're not. That's your ego telling you to give up. Show it who's boss! —Jacqueline Madrigal, Brooklyn, NY

    44. Learn when to listen to others and when not to. Everyone has opinions and lessons they've learned the hard way. Some people will have information that's useful, while others will just be wrong. Find what works for you. —Liysa Mendels, New York, NY

    45. Focus on the positive, not the negative. Instead of telling myself, "Don't give up," I tell myself, "Keep going." Our bodies and brains respond better to positive commands than negative ones. —Deanna Culbreath, New York, NY

    46. If you're having trouble motivating yourself to run, do it first thing in the morning. Your brain isn't awake enough to talk you out of it. —Adam Gorsline, New York, NY

    47. Ditch your watch on a regular basis and run by feel. You can't always be faster, but any day you're well enough to lace up your shoes and head out is a day for which you can be grateful." —Joellen Valentine, New Paltz, NY

    48. Dream big, but focus on small gains. There's nothing wrong with having huge goals, but trying to do too much at once will lead to disappointment or injury. Keep those big goals, but create smaller ones to achieve along the way. This will help keep the motivation up while you continue to chip away at those big goals. —Michele Gonzalez, Staten Island, NY

    49. Run in the present. There have been so many times when I've found my mind wandering on a run, trying to block out my tired legs or mild cramps. But I've found that actually being present while running—feeling my feet pound the ground, noticing my arms swinging—allows me to lock into a rhythm. Focusing on and accepting the discomfort, rather than ignoring it, actually helps alleviate the pain and lets me truly enjoy the run. — Laura Schwecherl, Denver, CO

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    On The Ugly Side Of Running

    50. Go to the bathroom before you leave the house. Or know where the bathrooms along your route are, and what time they open. —Maia Deccan Dickinson, New York, NY

    51. Two words: Body Glide. —Donald Cutler, San Francisco, CA

    52. Never trust a fart. Sorry, but true. —Steve Mura, Brooklyn, NY

    53. The worst thing that can happen to you on a run will always be pooping your pants. This makes every run when that doesn't happen a great run! —Maia Deccan Dickinson, New York, NY

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    On Self Care

    54. Stretching, icing, and foam rolling after a run are so important. Try to fight the urge to pass out on the couch immediately after a run, and spend some time giving your muscles a little post-run TLC. Not only will you feel better the next day, you'll also help prevent injury. —Melissa Nathanson, New York, NY

    55. Remember to hydrate. Not just when you're running, but beforehand and afterward, too. My entire office laughs at the size of the water jug on my desk, but being properly hydrated throughout the day makes a big difference on my runs. —Emily Daniels

    56. Take a rest—before your body forces you to. —Ben Waldman, New York, NY

    57. Stretch in the shower. It's like hot yoga without the puddle of sweat around you. It feels amazing, and at the end, you're clean! —Amanda Stecco, Brooklyn, NY

    58. Listen to your body. Let yourself rest. —Jessica Podell, New York, NY

    59. When in doubt, rest. You know the difference between "something's wrong" and "I can push through this." It may take a few runs to figure this out, but figure it out. —Tamsin Ayre, Richmond, TX

    60. Foam roll. Buy a textured foam roller, and then put it in your hallway or near your TV so you see it all the time and are reminded to use it. Even 3–5 minutes of foam rolling a day can make a huge difference in keeping your legs loose. —Megha Doshi, San Francisco, CA

    61. Don't touch your face too much when you run. Doing so is a great way to guarantee acne and the spread of germs—especially if you're giving out a lot of high fives on the run. —Carly Goldstein, Providence, RI

    62. Nobody cares whether or not you run a marathon. I was hurt and asked my friend whether I should run a marathon a week away. That was his response. He was saying to do what was right for me and to forget about the "fans." —Raul Damas, New York, NY

    63. Eat something within 30 minutes of a hard run or workout. Eating is usually the last thing I want to do after a hard effort, but I know how important it is to replenish carbohydrates and protein so my muscles recover quickly. —Megha Doshi, San Francisco, CA

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    On Perspective

    64. It's not about who's fast and who's slow. It's about getting out there and enjoying yourself. —Nick Wical, Brooklyn, NY

    65. Don't fall into the comparison trap. It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison game—there will always be someone faster or stronger or able to run more miles. If you compare yourself to them, you'll never be satisfied with your own achievements. —Michele Gonzalez, Staten Island, NY

    66. No two runs are ever the same. There are times when I'm hydrated enough for 20 people and almost passed out after running four miles, and there are times I've run 11 amazing miles fueled by nothing but beer and a hot dog. Even if you prepare the same every time, no run is eever the same, and it's important to acknowledge that. There are so many forces at work. —Amanda Stecco, Brooklyn, NY

    67. Never lose sight of why you run—enjoyment, 'me time,' weight loss, whatever—and ignore people offering unsolicited advice. Running is something you can do completely solo for a reason. —Sara Colodner, New York, NY

    68. No regrets—only lessons learned and to build from. —Molly Anne Kreter, New York, NY

    69. Have patience. To see any sort of improvement or gains—whether pace, mileage, or long run distance—takes time. Don't force it. Let things happen over time. —Michele Gonzalez, Staten Island, NY

    70. Don't forget that running is supposed to be a thing you love. If you're feeling anxious, ditch the watch or go for a solo long run at sunset. —Emma Raviv, Washington, DC

    71. When a run gets tough, remember what you're running for. Whether it's yourself, someone else, or those chocolate chip pancakes at brunch. —Ben Waldman, New York, NY

    72. When your life is in a whirlwind, use running to bring you back to the ground. —Whitney Mcfadden, New York, NY

    73. Remember how far you've come. At one point, you probably didn't think this was possible. —Jacqueline Madrigal, Brooklyn, NY

    74. Be kind to yourself. Getting too caught up in the competition can lead to some negative thoughts if a run doesn't go your way. Brush it off and look to next time. —Tuhina Chakrabarti, New York, NY

    75. Getting faster will happen, but not overnight. It's a process that involves accepting where you are while reaching for something more. It might be uncomfortable. —Liysa Mendels, New York, NY

    76. During tough runs, remember why you started running in the first place and what you love about it most. When I can do that, I find it easier to push through when I'm having a hard time. —Jessica Podell, New York, NY