8 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Next Run Feel Easier

woman in the city

We all have runs that feel sluggish, blah and tougher than we'd like. Sometimes a few days off is the only remedy. But if you're looking for a quick fix, there are some things worth trying. Ready to add some pep to your step? Read on.

Drink a cup of coffee

Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it increases your heart rate and can get you primed for a run. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that people who drank coffee before running a time trial on a treadmill finished their run a bit faster than those in the placebo group. Not a fan of java? Try a cup of green tea or a caffeinated gel instead.

More: How Much Sleep Do Runners Need? 

Consider a quick trip to the doc.

Quick Tip

Even if you don't technically have anemia, your ferritin levels (which indicate iron storage) may be sub-optimal

Low hemoglobin and hematocrit levels can indicate anemia and sometimes the first sign of it is tiredness—especially while running. Anemia produces symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath and will almost undoubtedly cause your performance to suffer. Even if you don't technically have anemia, your ferritin levels (which indicate iron storage) may be sub-optimal. Some medical professionals recommend supplementing with iron in those situations as well. Of course, before you take any supplements, you should check in with a doctor.

More: Nutrition Tips for Runners 

Slow down.

It sounds simple (almost too easy!), but sometimes backing off on your pace is the best way to feel better on a run. On easy days, your pace should be slow enough that you can speak in short sentences. Need some help with scaling back? Try leaving the Garmin at home or running with a slower friend. 


More: Should Runners Train By Heart Rate? 


Eat a carb-rich snack.

Quick Tip

An hour before you run, try snacking on a banana, a small bowl of cereal or a slice of toast.
 A small amount of carbohydrates will top off your blood sugar stores and improve your mood.

Do a dynamic warm-up.

Whether you choose lunges, high knees or butt kicks, drills will increase blood flow and get big muscles like your hamstrings and quads primed for a run. 

Whether you choose lunges, high knees or butt kicks, drills will increase blood flow and get big muscles like your hamstrings and quads primed for a run. 

Try this dynamic warm up on your next run.

Listen to a pump-up playlist.

It's time to cue up Spotify. Studies have shown music can increase motivation and improve running performance. Create playlists for a variety of runs (tempos, long runs, races) and listen to them only when you need extra motivation.

More: How Running With Music Changed My Life 

Adjust your body temperature.

Dreading a run in less-than-ideal weather? You can prep yourself in advance. If it's  chilly, try tossing your outer layers in the dryer to warm them up. You could also do a few indoor stair repeats to break a sweat. If the temperature is sweltering, hydrate with a popsicle or Gatorade slushy before hitting the roads.

Upgrade your running shoes.

If your joints are starting to ache or your miles feel flat, take a look at your feet. It might be time for a new pair of kicks. Most runners should replace their shoes every 300 to 500 miles; however, the exact number will depend on the type of shoe you wear, how much you weigh and what surface you run on most. If you notice the tread starting to wear Upgrade your running shoes. away, it's time for an upgrade!

Find Your Next Race

Discuss This Article