Sometimes the simplest running advice is the best.
Sometimes the simplest running advice is the best. (Photo: Tikkho Maciel/Unsplash)

The 30 Best Running Tips of All Time

We’ve been sharing running advice for over 40 years. Here are the 30 best tips, tricks, and ideas we’ve ever shared, your one-stop shop for all things running.

Sometimes the simplest running advice is the best.
Tikkho Maciel/Unsplash(Photo)

The 30 Best Running Tips of All Time


At Outside, we write about running. A lot. We’ve spent countless hours talking to the greatest athletes and brightest minds in the sport to examine every training and racing strategy imaginable. We’ve even tested many of those approaches ourselves.

While we think it’s all worthwhile info, we recognize that sometimes keeping it simple is best. So we’ve distilled over 40 years of advice into one comprehensive list of the 30 tips that we consider most valuable to your running life.

1. Become an Aerobic Monster

“Mileage isn’t everything, but most runners will become stronger aerobically by carefully and gradually increasing the volume of running they can handle. Increasing your mileage from year to year while still being able to hit your times in workouts and races will improve your VO2 max (ability to pump a lot of blood to working muscles), lactate threshold (ability to clear lactate and therefore not have to slow), and running economy (amount of oxygen needed to hold a certain pace).”
February 2023

2. Practice Proprioception

“The simplest exercise is to close your eyes and stand on one foot. The proprioceptors in your feet will collaborate with your inner ear to help your brain know if you are swaying and determine what to do to keep yourself balanced. You’ll only be able to hold it for a few seconds at first but should be able to work up to 10 to 15 seconds at a time. Aim for a total of around a minute per leg during each session.”
June 2022

3. Strengthen Your Whole Body

“Good runners condition their whole bodies. The arms drive the legs. Keep your upper body and core toned with a lot of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and back raises (don’t forget that the back is part of the core). Stay away from machine weights and stick to Pilates, climbing, and dynamic flexibility work like yoga.”
October 2013

4. Run More Hills

“One of the beauties of hills is that they really work on dynamic power, hip strength, and hip mobility because you need to be able to go and drive those hips really high to get up.”
June 2015

5. Quit Trying to Set Your PR

“Be process-oriented, not outcome-oriented. Get a little better with each training session—a stronger squat, a harder effort on intervals. Don’t obsess about race day.”
July 2015

6. Hydrate (Especially Before Trail Races)

“Due to their remote locations, many trail races have few (if any) water stations. Make sure to hydrate for days in advance, and—depending on the distance of the race—consider carrying a water bottle or hydration pack during the event.”
June 2013

7. Cultivate Controlled Consistency

“I try not to run 100 percent. I perform 80 percent on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and then at 50 percent Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday,” says Eliud Kipchoge.
November 2021

8. Stretch and Refuel Immediately Post-Race

“There’s a natural temptation when you finish a race to collapse on the ground and bask in your own private glory. This is a bad idea.”
October 2014

9. Find a Routine, Then Stick to It

“I dialed in my race-day outfit and nutrition plan in advance to eliminate any surprises. I slept more, stopped drinking alcohol, and ate my vegetables. I put on the same clothes I had been training in for the past three weeks—black shorts, white top, gray socks—and ate my pre-planned breakfast of one banana, half a Clif Bar, and half a cup of coffee.”
May 2013

10. Don’t Freak Out if You’re Undertrained

“A lot of people ruminate and freak out. Then they have all this nervous energy and are toast during the race. The key is to stay calm and not expend energy worrying about the race.”
March 2017

11. Fix Your Stride

“He had to change everything about his stride—from the way his feet were hitting the ground to the way he swung his arms as he ran. It was a difficult adjustment, but he had the benefit of knowing he’d already tried virtually everything else.”
February 2016

12. Eat Whole Foods

“Try to eat whole foods that look as close to how they are grown as possible. Avoid the processed food—like foods that dominate most conventional grocery chains. They’re packed with sodium, sugar, and empty calories and are a drain on your digestive system.
July 2012

13. Slow Down to Spare Carbs

“She ran smart, at a pace that felt sustainable. She estimates she could have run a single hard marathon in about 3 hours 30 minutes at the time—over 50 minutes faster than her average over the ten marathons. Her marathon pace was slow, so she had little need for fast energy from carbohydrates.”
July 2022

14. It’s Not All About the Carbs

“Runners whose number one goal is to lose weight can cut the pasta, bread, and cereals and have enough energy to complete many of the easy runs in 30 to 60 minutes. Most healthy diets will still provide enough incidental carbs—byproducts of fruit and beans—to fuel you.”
August 2014

15. Random Massages Are a Bad Idea

“Every athlete’s body responds differently to massage; you don’t want to find out the week before your race that deep tissue work makes you uncomfortably sore.”
September 2012

16. Layer Up When It’s Cold

“It’s easy to see the weather and darkness as a reason not to work out. The price tag might sting up front, but buying clothes like a moisture-wicking base layer, gloves, and a breathable wind-blocking top will make training outside a lot more enjoyable.”
January 2016

17. You Need to Sprint More

“Five percent of an athlete’s total weekly mileage should be taken up by sprints. Someone running 30 miles a week should run hill sprints for 1.5 of those miles. It’s similar in theory and practice to speedwork on a track.”
September 2013

18. Get a Hydration Pack (Especially for Ultras)

“Yes, there will be aid stations. But there’s no telling how much time will pass between them, so bring your own fluids in a handheld bottle, pack, or belt. Which one you choose is a matter of preference.”
May 2013

19. Patience Is a Virtue

“In distance running, you’ve got to learn to love the process. Whether it’s in training (it takes a lot of time to get better) or in racing (holding back for the first 20 miles of a marathon), patience is a virtue. There are no quick fixes. It’s about believing in the plan and executing.”
January 2016

20. Don’t Hydrate Too Much Right Before Running

“Sloshing in your stomach is a sign that water has not worked its way into your bloodstream, providing a full feeling that’s a ruse for hydration.”
August 2010

21. Take Recovery Days Seriously

“The day after a tough workout, the most you want to do is jog lightly or do some form of cross-training, like cycling. You need a recovery day after a hard day. No exceptions.”
October 2013

22. Make It Social

“Get a group together, or join a local running club. When you’re socially and emotionally invested in your workouts, it’ll be harder for you to skip them. Having running buddies will help keep you from burning out or slacking off.”
January 2012

23. Don’t Pick Just One Running Partner

“One of the most basic ways to add a little variety to your running life is finding different running partners. You don’t need to be monogamous about whom you run with. The same principle applies for those who always run alone: Try joining a group for long weekend runs and (re)discover the joys of exercising with your fellow homo sapiens.”
January 2017

24. Get Off Your Feet Before a Race

“Take it easy the day and night prior to race day. Race organizers don’t make that easy by scheduling interesting expos and panel discussions the day before, where you are on your feet, walking around, expending energy. Discipline yourself to keep that to a minimum, making a conscious effort to sit and rest with your feet up as much as possible. Don’t squander the good work you’ve done during your taper in the last day or two.”
August 2014

25. Visualize Success

“Begin by taping an audio narrative for yourself that recreates, in as much sensual detail as possible, the sensation of performing your sport. Take careful notes the next time you practice…and work those into the script. Then narrate the tape entirely in the first person, present tense…and choose crucial moments.”
September 1996

26. Use Technology (But Not Too Much)

“Apps from MapMyRun and the USATF can help you plot your training routes in less time (no more driving them beforehand). For trail running, figure out how long it takes you to run a mile—maybe two minutes longer than on roads—and go by time instead. Garmin GPS watches track your distance and pace. But don’t let your tools get in the way.”
April 2012

27. Maybe Skip the Long Run

“You can’t just look at a singular long run or back-to-back long runs. You have to look at the whole picture. Every run is like bricks that add up over time.”
February 2023

28. Know When Your Running Shoes Are Worn Out

“The typical lifespan of a shoe is between 300 and 600 miles. Shoes will start to feel a little different after about 200 miles—it’s a depreciation curve. Each company has a different point at which their shoes will feel really flat, but it’s important to know that shoes do have a lifespan. It might not be immediately clear when your shoes have bitten the dust, but there are a few indications that it’s time to invest in a new pair.”
April 2016

29. Do Not Run Drunk

“For one, alcohol’s a poison. Two, while it can increase aggression (a positive, depending on the sport), it can also adversely affect coordination, planning, and execution of movement. And three, it’s a powerful diuretic, so it depletes your water volume, much of which your body takes from your blood plasma.”
September 2014

30. Don’t Run Injured

“It’s hard to sit it out while waiting for an injury to heal. You risk setting back training and racing goals, not to mention losing a sweet endorphin rush. But whatever ails you will take longer to heal—or get worse—if you run through the pain.”
May 2013

Lead Photo: Tikkho Maciel/Unsplash