How To Be A Better Runner

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How to be a better runner

If you’re interested in learning how to be a better runner. If you are highly motivated to run faster then you may want to read this. Short, sweet and to the point.

These are a few do’s and dont’s that kept me from breaking the 2.20 barrier and also caused me from not breaking 2.40 for 7 years.

DO enjoy the journey in your training. Look at it in a long-term approach.

DO drink a shit load of water, both in training and in your racing. I learned this hard way, my wife, on the other hand has it down..all she drinks.

Your putting in a ton of work, mileage and effort. Ensure your hydrated for the next day’s training. This is one of the most important tips of how to be a better runner.

Replace what you have lost in training, in sweat.

DO take sleep seriously. The quickest way to fatigue and burn out is not giving your system enough time to recharge and recover from your last training effort.

DO relax. There is absolutely no sense in stressing yourself over meaningless BS that will not benefit you as a runner or bring out your capability.

DO read up on training. What can you do differently that would make a drastic change in your running?

Think about it…how are you going to find out without taking the time to educate yourself.

Knowledge is power, make use of it.

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DO spend as much time as you can building a strong mileage base..this doesn’t mean doing workouts in the first few weeks.

Easy mileage with very little anaerobic  work (if any at all) should be the focus. Don’t get carried away.

DO take into consideration, your coach’s advice. 99.99% of the time we think we’re right but it is usually the other way around.

The coach should know their athletes and it should’t be some cookie-cutter training plan…the coach should be interactive with the athlete he/she coach’s and give a shit about them. Not soley because they bring them $$ into their account.

DON’T worry. The biggest hindrance you can place on yourself is worrying about things you simply cannot control.

Weather? Out of your hands. Windy? What can you do about? Focus on the things you can control and you’ll run faster because your attention was placed in the right direction

It is like a finger pointing to the moon, do not focus on the finger, or you will miss all that Heavenly glory – Bruce Lee

DON’T try to be someone your not, rather, remind yourself of what you are…one in over 7 Billion people on the planet and no one has your capability, talents and potential as an athlete.

If someone is running 150 miles a week and bragging about it, who gives a flip, you can probably get equal results on 60. K.I.S.S.

DON’T run fast every frickin day. If your training a group and a segment is running faster then they should probably be going.

Don’t follow the herd…use the common sense you already possess to maximize your race results down the road.

DON’T make every workout a race…this ties into the above mention tip. Training should be the hard part.

The race should feel as if you are on autopilot because you were smart enough to taper correctly and your body feels as if you are jogging, yet are at race pace.

When I ran 2.19, I kid you not, I felt as if I were on a regular long run yet was on 5.11 per mile average through 20 miles. Rested body=autopilot effort

DON’T forget where you came from. STAY HUNGRY. One great race doesn’t make you. You have to continually want to improve as an athlete.

If your goal isn’t to qualify for the Olympic Trials or Team, then take whatever goal you are envisioning and be totally devoted to making it a reality.

DON’T go out too hard in your race.

Whhhheeew, have I learned from this one..raced against Ryan Hall in a half-marathon and hit the mile in 4.30 and two-mile at 9.26 …yeah, not the best thing I could have done.

I am strong runner but am I ready to step up to the 1.01 half-marathon pace when I am still a 1.07 guy?

Well, its great to be enthusiastic, but unless your 100% READY to hold a pace that FAR exceeds anything you have ever done, then you may pick a different speed and increment the pace down over time.

Not worth a bad performance on something you have control of anyway.

DON’T forget those who have helped you. I bring up my coach’s and mentors, Lisa Rainsberger, Jack Hazen, Joe Vigil and the Army WCAP program, to name a few, quite a bit in my writing because they made the difference in my life, gave me a chance to enhance my racing.

They inspire me to think bigger and erase any doubt that I may conceive in my mind of not reaching my goal. Remember those who made a difference for you.

Use it to fuel your efforts when no one sees you out on the roads, cares or is out living it up while your sacrificing for something truly worthy, something that you’ll remember the rest of your life.

DON’T EVER believe you don’t have what it takes. I am a huge advocate on the power of positive thinking and belief. If your not 100% IN IT then you are only selling yourself short.

I mean this. I don’t expect everyone here having a passion to run 130 miles a week or running a 2.30 marathon.

You may be just wanting to run one mile 5 seconds faster then you have run the distance. You may be just starting out in the sport…whatever it is you have your heart set on…bring everything you got into your efforts.

DON’T listen to ANYONE who tells you to quit. Had I done this I would have never went under 2.20.

You own your performance and preparation. No one will get you out the door.

That is up to you.

As long as you are following through on your mission, then forget whatever negative influences may appear in your training block.

Trust me, they will come. The greatest achievers are also innovators in how they think. Follow THAT example.

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10 thoughts on “How To Be A Better Runner

  1. Bekah…hope you feel better.  I understand, not being able to race in 2012 on account of a little ‘job’ I have to do for the next 9 months is making me salivate to race too…rest up and take it easy. 

  2. Nate

    A little something about me. Im M38, India and I started running 4 years ago. Since I have a half marathon coming up in 2 weeks, in my race fever, I have been doing some reading on the net, is when I came across RDA. I have been floored!!!! In a way, it is as if someone can read my mind and lay it out before me. All of it! The ambition, the fire, the fears, the anxieties, the doubts, the questions … everything!!

    I have a stretch target this year of going sub 2 and I believe I have put in some quality training for that. Yesterday morning, I ran 2:00:01 on largely the race route (with 1 more uphill than the actual race route so I know the intensity of my run has been above what is needed on the race day to achieve my goal)

    This is the first site that actually prescribes what I always believed deep down inside. That the faster you run and the more time that you extend that pace, the more likely you are to achieve race day goals! Every other training plan, without exception, does not recommend running at or below race day pace. And I couldn’t understand for the life of me how I would morph into a faster person on race day miraculously…. I now feel vindicated!

    I love your writings on motivation, goal setting, the power of positive thinking and quality preparation. I think I have found just what I was looking for to take my running to the next level.

    I will be running my 4th half marathon in 2 weeks and my previous efforts have been 2:40, 2:20 and 2:05, in that order. I’d like to believe that my improvements thus far have been the result of deep introspection combined with quality ‘self made’ training. I am passionate about busting the 2 hr barrier this year and having trained at or below race day pace, I can take the messages from the power of positive thinking that you speak so highly of and say, Yes I Can!!

    Shall keep you posted on my results. For the moment, thank you for a fabulous blog and keep posting!


  3. Mangesh. This has to be the most wonderful thing anyone has ever said about RDA. Thanks for these comments, makes me know I am doing something right, making a difference by what I write. I do coach online if you are ever interested. I am certain you will attain your goal based on your enthusiasm alone. You can’t coach that. The athlete has to have that and you do my friend. I will continue to write, continue to work to make RDA better for readers like you, means a lot so thank you.

  4. Thanks Nate, I look forward to coming back again and again and educating myself. I have also recommended RDA to other people I know who would be participating in the Mumbai Marathon 2013 so that they too could benefit. My only regret is that I dint come across RDA at the start of my training!

  5. Nate

    I am thrilled to tell you that I sank the 2 barrier in my run yesterday morning! Turned in a PB of 1:58:52 which was 30 secs better than even my pacing plan!! It is in order to thank RDA for helping me in my journey by being both, such a terrific resource base as well as a great sounding board

    The essential learning I was able to apply is to stretch myself by leaving failure as an option relative to my training and running strength. I was down with a throat infection a week ago which left me a little weak is why I can take a little more heart from this result. I consistently applied the following learnings from RDA:

    1. Drink shitloads of water
    2. Dont sip, gulp
    3. Dont wait till you are thirsty
    4. Have a gel every 5 kms
    5. Leave failure as a real option
    6. Stay positive

    The only thing I couldnt apply was a zen like approach since I always had one eye warily watching what my body was saying anticipating a bonk which I feared may result from the infection related weakness – which thankfully, never came! Also I could hold my carb reserves in store for the final burst in the last 2 kms having practiced at race pace even in my long runs.

    I am now geed up to set myself a stiffer target come 2014 and train appropriately for it. It is safe to say that I ran this effort with one matra in mind: Run, Dream, Achieve!

    Thank you Nate for your inspirational and educative posts. I totally appreciate it!


  6. Congratulations Mangesh, awesome effort. You got it brother. Keep up the great work my friend. This is awesome to read about. Get some rest, regroup then attack again.

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