15. The Sleep Rule
Sleep one extra minute per night for each mile per week that you train.
So if you run 30 miles a week, sleep an extra half hour each night. "Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on training," says David Claman, M.D., director of the University of California-San Francisco Sleep Disorders Center. "The average person needs 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep, so increase that amount when you're training."
The Exception: The extra sleep may not be necessary for some high-energy folks.
16. The Refueling Rule
Consume a combination carbohydrate-protein food or beverage within 30 to 60 minutes after any race, speed workout or long run. (Try one of these 10 Best Post-Run Recovery Bars.)
"You need an infusion of carbs to replace depleted muscle glycogen, plus some protein to repair and build muscle," says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of "Food Guide for Marathoners." "Ideally, the carb-protein ratio should be 4-to-1. Some examples would be 150 to 300 calories of low-fat chocolate milk, a recovery-sports drink, flavored yogurt or a bagel and peanut butter."
The Exception: Immediate refueling is less important if you aren't running hard again within 24 hours.
17. The Don't-Just-Run Rule
Runners who only run are prone to injury.
"Cross-training and weight training will make you a stronger and healthier runner," says TriEndurance.com multisport coach Kris Swarthout. "Low- and non-impact sports like biking and swimming will help build supporting muscles used in running, while also giving your primary running muscles a rest."
The Exception: The surest way to run better is to run. So if your time is limited, devote most of it to running.
18. The Even-Pace Rule
The best way to race to a personal best is to maintain an even pace from start to finish.
Most of the 10,000-meter and marathon world records set in the last decade have featured almost metronome-like pacing. "If you run too fast early in the race, you almost always pay for it later," warns Jon Sinclair, the U.S. 12K record holder and now an online coach (anaerobic.net).
The Exception: This doesn't apply on hilly courses or on windy days, when the objective is to run an even effort.
19. The New-Shoes Rule
Replace running shoes once they've covered 400 to 500 miles.
"But even before they have that much wear," says Warren Greene, Runner's World gear editor, "buy a new pair and rotate them for a while. Don't wait until your only pair is trashed." Consider shoes trashed when the spring is gone.
The Exception: A shoe's wear rate can vary, depending on the type of shoe, your weight, your foot-strike pattern, and the surfaces you run on.