Read on for our advice on the best rituals to add to your daily routine—your running will thank you.
Always Cross Check Your Schedules1 of 10
Have you heard the saying, "Failing to plan is planning to fail?" Your training is no different.
Having a kick-butt long run in your training plan won't do you any good if you don't make the time to execute it. At the start of each week, compare your training plan to your social and work calendar and make note of any conflicts.
Have a weekend full of travel? It might make sense to fit your long run in on Friday. And if you know you'll have to stay late at the office the night you usually do speed work, wake up early that morning to squeeze it in.
Be proactive in your planning, so that failure is not an option.
Figure Out a Go-To Pre-Run Meal2 of 10
Ensuring you take in the proper nutrition before important runs is one of the smartest rituals you can adopt.
Once you've found a pre-race meal that sits well, stick to it. Before long, that bowl of oatmeal with banana will signal to your body and brain that it's go time.
Never Forget Hydration3 of 10
Whether you're on the road for work or traveling to an out-of-town race, make sure to prioritize hydration.
Buy a fun water bottle or bring along your favorite sports drink if that helps. And if you have a long flight or car ride (four hours or more), consider donning a pair of compression socks. Many runners wear these to help with circulation and prevent blood clots brought on by sitting for extended periods of time.
Find Your Groove4 of 10
Just like eating the same meal before every big run, listening to a favorite pump-up song before workouts and races can signal to your body that it's time to work.
Whether it's a playlist or one power song on repeat, let music be a regular part of your pre-run routine.
Refuel Purposefully5 of 10
Once you finish your cool-down, head straight to the kitchen to refuel your depleted muscles.
Eat a small meal that contains a mix of protein and carbs, such as a turkey sandwich or chocolate milk and fruit. Refueling properly after each run will help your body repair in time to tackle your next workout.
Don't Forget the Mental Game6 of 10
On days when motivation lags, have a plan to keep yourself inspired and moving forward.
Whether it's a favorite running blog, an encouraging quote or Meb Keflezighi's autobiography, take a few moments to pump yourself up—and then get out there and conquer that run!
Warm Up and Cool Down...No Matter What7 of 10
If you're tight on time, you may be tempted to cut your workout short, but don't skip warm-ups and cool-downs.
Warm-ups prepare your body for the hard work ahead, while cool-downs allow your breathing, heart rate and core temperature to return to normal. Plus, some theorize that cool-downs amp up your brain's reward center and help you forget the pain of hard workouts.
Engage with the Running Community8 of 10
Whether you're looking for motivation or a new running buddy, take a few minutes each day to connect with the broader running community.
This could mean joining the local running club for post-run pancakes or sharing your latest race goals on Facebook. Forging connections with other runners will help you feel more connected to the sport.
Plan for the Roadblocks9 of 10
Whether you're an a.m. or p.m. runner, have a plan of attack for roadblocks.
For morning runners, lay your gear out the night before (some runners even sleep in their running clothes) and prep the coffee maker in advance. If you prefer hitting the road at night, have strategies to conquer work-day fatigue, like a small cup of coffee to combat an energy slump, a carb-rich snack to tackle pre-dinner hunger or a run-commute home to vanquish work stress.