Tips for Running

Tip & Exercise # New Tip Reference
1 Learn how to take your rest, avge & max heart rate
2 Try pasta with vegs with no meat Add some fresh vegetables such as mushrooms, greens, artichokes, corn etc.
3 Clip toenails regularly Sharp toenails can cause all sorts of discomfort and even bleeding, especially on long runs
4 Heart Rate Monitor Take your waking HR every day as well as average and max HR during exercise. Consider using a HRM and learn how to use it properly. You can spend as little as $20 for a basic version or $500 on one integrated with a GPS and computer. They can be a good indicator of your level of fitness as well as an early indicator of a health or fitness problem
5 Have Podiatrist check feet over Have an initial checkup and follow-up visits as needed
6 Audit your food intake keep a detailed log of everything you eat and drink for a whole week and use this as a reference for your training schedules. Over a multi-week schedule you might change your diet. Keep a log of any changes as a reference
7 Change some processed snacks for F&V snack Keep a bowl of fresh fruit and vegetables out on a table for easy snacking
8 Cross training Consider cross training. Swimming is a great low-impact alternate to running. Swim training is similar to running training mainly consisting of warmups, drills, speed and endurance workouts, plus a combination of all four elements
9 Try meatless Pizza and thin bases Pizza is a runner’s favorite and much better if you cook yourself.
10 Sports doctor Try and find a sports-oriented doctor, a fit one in particular. Someone who shares your lifestyle goals. Word of mouth is best source for this local information. Local gyms and physios might be a good source for local  information
11 Check weight regularly Note that major changes in either direction is reason for concern, perhaps an early indicator of a problem, any problem
12 Hydrate properly Learn how much water or sports drink you need on any given day, given the weather and your level of effort. Lemon water is a great alternative to water.  Sometimes the pre-mixed sports drinks can be too strong and can cause an upset stomach. Also it’s a lot cheaper to mix your own
13 Coffee (fresh) is good for you Most runners love coffee and provided not in excess, is a good companion and great social integrator
14 Hill running Try and fit in some hill running at least once a week. The hills don’t need to be steep but appropriate stretching & warmup is advisable
15 Occasionally try bare-foot running but only for short distance
16 Reduce your cheese intake – avoid cheese nachos Cheese is used so much as a filler rather than a tasty accompaniment. It can block arteries in excess amounts and make you feel bloated even in slightly excessive amounts
17 Stretches Develop a set of pre and post run stretches. Have a standard set especially for legs, core, back and shoulders but throw in some new ones on top of the core stretches. Research the stretches that work best for your situation. This is a very important element that will help you stay injury free. Some stretches can be employed right at your desk. Consider replacing your work chair with a gym ball. It will help keep your core muscles toned
18 Short stretches awaken muscles long stretches puts muscles to sleep Try to come up with 50-100 different stretches that best suit you and work all of the muscles from core to extremeties
19 Running club See if you have a local running club/group and consider joining. Running with buddies can be a lot of fun and supportive. See and for more information.
20 Trail Running Experience the joy & the health benefit of running the trails. Many runners, once they experience trails never want to run on the roads again, for all sorts of reasons such as visual stimulation, more of a challenge, less pounding, sounds of wildlife, birds etc, less pollution and an overall safer environment.
21 Favourite courses Mapout and measure at least 3-4 favorite courses of varying surfaces and terrains. That way you can compare your improvement on the same courses. Consider buying a HRM with a GPS integrated (not cheap), but they allow you to monitor key variables on the same courses, such as HR, speed, elevation and distance travelled.
22 Pedometer Grab a pedometer, put it on your hip and see how much you walk during a typical day at work,  home or anywhere. It might help you determine a smarter training schedule
23 Lifestyle choice Running is good for you, it helps revitalise you even after the toughest of days and allows you to enjoy a unique sense of freedom. It is also one of the best methods to get and stay fit
24 Building blocks Understand the types of workouts available, long slow distance, medium runs or fast workouts, on the terrain of your choosing and at a pace that works for you
25 Time of day Try to determine what time of day you prefer to run. Some of us are morning runners, some evening and many don’t care, or try and fit a run in at lunch time. Some of us even get up at 5am to get a run in before work, or even run around an oval that is lit for sports team training sessions. normally they dont mind sharing the space provided you dont get in their way
26 MP3 player caution Mp3 players can be fun and a motivator on trails but can be dangerous on or near roads. They tend to make you less alert to your surroundings (cars, trucks, bikes etc) and are banned in most running events for safety reasons
27 Nutrition Consider reducing your red meat intake and replace with fresh fish and vegies. There is no benefical components in meat that cannot be found in fresh fruit and vegetables, plus you have a lot more cooking options available. Also you have a much smaller eco footprint. One kilogram of beef rerquires 12,000 liters of water to produce, whereas one kilo of vegetables require less than 300 litres of water to produce.
28 Portion control Be careful with your food intake when training and running – smaller and more frequent portions often are more beneficial than bigger meals. They are easier to digest, reduce discomfort and provide more continous energy source
29 Running safety Be aware of your surroundings, especially after dark and be alert at all times when you run. Light colored reflective clothing is recommended in most conditions. Colors like neon yellow and pink are the most reflective in both lit and unlit areas. You can also find flashing wrist bands and vests with small leds built in.
30 Running shoes Try and keep 2 pairs of running shoes in rotation. Shoes can take a day or more to fully recover from a run. They might look ok externally but dozens of internal components need time to recover
31 Sports drinks Try mixing up your own sports drinks – experiment with different strengths. Feel free to use such things as lemons, salt, sugar and honey as additives. Also powdered sports drink is a lot cheaper than a pre-mixed variety and you have control over how much you mix
32 Heart rate measurements Start taking and recording your resting, active and max heart rates. These numbers are great indicators of your state of health. You don’t need to own a heart rate monitor, just a second indicator on your watch will do the job but a HRM is more accurate and only costs from around $20
33 Warmup Always warm up slowly before a run, especially in cooler weather. Walking is a good warmup even if it’s only for 5 minutes. A similar cool-down stretch and walk after the run is strongly recommended. It is also a good opportunity to have a chat with a running buddy. Make sure you stretch all your major leg muscles and tendons for at least 30 seconds each. Dont forget your archilles and ITB tendons.
34 Simple meals Try cooking simple meals, lots of great recipes on Internet. Rice, pasta and even quinoa(yum) make for great meal bases. Many meals can be cooked in a rice cooker (rice and quinoa, plus vegies), quick and very easy.  Avoid fried foods as much as possible with exception of a vegetable stir-fry with olive oil, garlic & ginger (a natural anti-inflamatory).
35 Your weight Weigh yourself on a regular basis, keep a log, but do not be obsessed with minor fluctuations. Remember muscle is heavier than fat tissue
36 Food labels Read labels on all processed foods – typically the more ingredients, the less goodness. A fresh apple will always be so much better for you than an apple pie. A store-bought apple pie containing 20+ ingredients has virtually no nutrients and lots of unhealthy stuff. What you eat can determine who you are
37 Running log Besides a daily log, make notes on how you feel before and after each run. You are your own best doctor and a log is a great motivator. It often helps to look over your log and refresh yourself on your training history. It can help with your future training plans.
38 Pre-run stretches Your pre-run stretches should be short and sharp so as to activate the muscles. Any stretch longer than 10 seconds tends to put the muscle to sleep. Have a regular core routine for these stretches that work for you.
39 Listen to your body Listen to your body especialy if you are struggling during your run. If you are just tired and stressed then often a run will refresh you, however look for other symptoms. Sometimes it is telling you that you just need a rest day.
40 Weather conditions Record the weather conditions, temp, skies, wind etc. The weather could dicate how you run and how you feel
41 Weekly mileage Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% a week otherwise your risk of injury greatly increases
42 Feet breathe Let your feet breathe as much as possible, even try some short bare-foot running on a grass oval. No more than 100m and go slow to begin with.
43 Lifestyle stretches Stretch at anytime during day and night – get into a life-long habit of stretching, even at your desk or watching TV
44 Leg stretches Stretch your calves, quads, hammies, groin and archilies both before and after running
45 Speed is good If your body is up to it, try a little bit of speed running from time to time. An oval is a great place to do this
46 Processed foods Avoid higly processed foods, especially things like processed cheeses and meats. The more items in the list of ingredients, the less likely it will be good for you.
47 Winter runs & clothes layering Try layering clothes during the runs, especially in colder weather. Don’t overdress. Within 1-2 kms, you will start to warm up and peel off. If you do an out and back, then you can pick up your discarded layers on the return trip and tie them around your waist
48 Race signup Sign up for a local race, a 5K, 10K or even 10M if you think you are ready. Try one on trails, but not extreme trails initially. Most race websites have information on terrain and level of difficulty
49 Hill running stretches Hill running is a big departure to your traditional road and normal trail running and requires a little preparation to avoid injury.
50 Find your event There are over 20,000 official events in the USA alone each year. Work out what you want to do initially and how many a year you want to compete in, if any. Some runners never compete and just run for lifestyle reasons their whole lives. Other runners race more than once each weekend from distances of 5K to Ultra marathons. All is good, nothing is wrong with any of that but always listen to your body. Find out what works best for you and tweak that every year.
51 Race with a buddy. Sometimes races can be a little unfriendly and a bit of a turnoff for someone new to them and especially the bigger events. Try going with a buddy and even run with a buddy to help motivate each other and reduce any nervousness
52 Racing FAQs #1 – general Arrive early and give yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with registration, start, finish areas, toilets, as well as the course
53 Racing FAQs #2 – hydrate Hydrate well before the race and know how many waterstops are on the course and what they offer (water, sports drinks etc). Check the website for all relevent information and make a paper copy if that helps
54 Racing FAQs #3 – course Learn the course profile from the website and if possible walk or run it beforehand, perhaps on a prior weekend. Decide on a pacing strategy beforehand. You are mainly competing against yourself and the clock
55 Racing FAQs #4 – water stops Water stops can be very congested. Typically bypass the first tables and hit the tables or volunteers towards the rear of the water station. You will suffer less interference that way. On winter races, watch out for frozen patches around the tables. They can be very slippery.
56 Racing FAQs #5 – pacing Pace yourself. Most novice racers and not-so-novice racers go out too fast and pay for it over the final stages of the race. A rule of thumb is for every second over your  ideal racing pace during the first mile, it will cost you 15 seconds over the last mile. Consider writing down your mile or K pace on your arms and sticking to those numbers during the race
57 Racing FAQs #6 – previous races Learn from your previous races. Remember your pacing, clothing and hydration from previous events, and modify your plans accordingly. The biggest challenge is your pace over the first couple of miles. Try to seed yourself at the startline where you think you might finish but avoid sprinting out with the mob
58 Racing FAQs #7 – post race socialize Socialise. After the race, hang around with other finishes and learn about other events, running groups and any other running-related sources
59 Racing FAQs #8 – post race cooldown Post race cooldown and stretches. Go for a little run after the race. Cool down, stretch and change your clothese before you socialise. Make sure you stretch your core leg muscles, archilies and ITB in particular
60 Racing FAQs #9 – next race planning Next race. Plan your next race within a week of completing this race and develop an appropriate schedule. However don’t do any hard training immediatley after your race. Typically allow a day of rest for every mile raced. For example a marathon requires about a month’s rest from any hard running but cross training and light runs are encouraged during this period
61 Racing FAQs #10 – vaseline On long runs and races it is important to avoid chafing and it can take a lot of joy out of running. Areas that are prone to chafing are groins, thighs, under-arms and nipples.
62 Feet exercise #1 As mentioned before, healthy feet is a cornerstone for every runner. Continuous feet exercising brings great returns in terms of reduced injuries and staying the distance on long runs and races.
63 Feet exercise #2 Practice picking up objects in your toes at any time of the day. Things like golf balls work well. Pick them up and place them elsewhere. Share workouts between both feet.
64 Feet exercise #3 Use a tennis ball to massage your feet. Put your foot on the top of a tennis ball and roll around for about ten minutes. Repeat on other foot. Repeat 3-4 times a week
65 Feet exercise #4 Spread your toes. Place your feet flat on a floor and practice spreading your toes. Stretch them out, hold the stretch and then release. Do this for about 10 minutes each foot and repeat on othewr foot.
66 Feet exercise #5 Whilst laying on a couch with legs horizontal, rotate each foot around your ankles. Rotate in each direction for 2 minutes and then reverse direction for a total of ten minutes. Repeat 3-4 times a week
67 Anti-inflamitories Many runners use anti-inflamitories on a regular basis to overcome pain from injuries. Often these medications only mask the injury. Another option may be to take glucosamine on a regular basis. It has no known side-effects.
68 Summer clothing Don’t overdress on a run. Even if it is cool at the beginng, you will warm up very quickly. Consider carrying and wearing a light hat most of the time. It does keep you a lot cooler & protects skin from sunburn
69 Tights If chaffing is a problem when running in shorts, try wearing tights or skins instead. These can be worn in all seasons and many runners swear by them
70 Socks There is always a big debate between no socks, light socks and heavy socks. Every runner is different. Find the socks that work best for you. Some of the more technical socks are expensive but many runners swear by them. They can reduce or eliminate blisters forming and keep your feet as dry as possible.