To keep the good mojo flowing, you need to commit to another goal, and devise a reasonable strategy for accomplishing this desire. You're sure to find inspiration plus advice for how to build your plan of attack from one of these 19 ideas.
Run Consistently1 of 20
Your mileage takes a backseat to the consistency of your training. Running an extra 5 or 10 miles next week isn't meaningful unless it's done for months. Instead of always trying to do more, try to run consistently. Be patient and gradually increase your volume over months and years (not days and weeks).
There's no magic number that will make you accomplish your running goals. Focus on consistency, not making stupid mistakes, and only moving up your mileage when you're ready and comfortable.
Build Core Strength2 of 20
The term "core work" often conjures up images of chiseled, six-pack abs and sweat-soaked gym rats pumping iron. For runners, however, the term should be interpreted a lot more broadly. To be sure, strong abs are great, but there is a long list of other core muscles that play even bigger roles in keeping you healthy and running strong.
One of the biggest benefits garnered from doing core work is a more economical running form that you can maintain when running at faster speeds and for longer periods of time.
Train to Run Your Next 5K Faster3 of 20
Beginning runners can get faster much more quickly than veteran runners, who have to work hard for mere seconds of improvement. You just have to adapt the right training philosophy and tweak some things that you're already doing to break through your fitness plateau and set a new personal best.
Replace Your Running Shoes4 of 20
Although your favorite pair of running shoes may have felt great all summer, if you're at the end of the shoe's life, new issues can arise. Sore knees, feet and hips can be telltale signs that the cushioning and support built into the shoe has worn down to the point of no longer being effective. While it can be difficult to tell simply by looking at the midsole or outsole, your body will tell you when it's time to move on.
Do You Need More Gear?5 of 20
All you really need is a pair of good running sneakers—something comfortable to wear while you run—and, for women, a good sports bra. Seriously, that's it. Everything else is gravy.
There is some gear beyond shoes and essential clothes that can enhance the running experience and even make it more fun.
Don't Diet; Make Better Choices6 of 20
Runners often combine their running schedules with diet programs that include counting calories or assigning "points" or percentages to macronutrient (carbohydrate, fat and protein) consumption.
Soon after many runners start these diets, their running takes a nosedive: plummeting energy levels, decreased performance and a constant feeling of sluggishness. Dieting almost always goes hand in hand with a reduction in calories and, very often, carbohydrates—the body's preferred fuel source for running. This leaves runners struggling to feel and perform at their best.
How to Balance Losing Weight and Rungry Pangs7 of 20
"If you eat too much, your body will make fat," says Dr. Dan Benardot, "and if you eat too little, your body will make fat."
Your caloric intake should both meet your body's needs and be spread out as evenly as possible throughout the day, including at night, as sleeping hours are undoubtedly the most extended period each day without calories.
Join a Running Club8 of 20
You've seen them running through your neighborhood. A couple nights a week your local running group jogs by, reminding you to get back on track and train for that next race.
Don't just watch them run by; join them. Running clubs can give you access to experienced coaches and scheduled workouts to help you stick to a training schedule and become a better athlete. That's just the start. Here are 10 convincing reasons to join your local running club.
Increase Your Endurance9 of 20
If you struggle through most runs or never feel energized in the latter miles of a long run, you need to boost your endurance. Even if you're already feeling great, who doesn't want to be able to run faster for longer? The 6-Week Endurance Challenge will improve your ability to run longer.
Switch Up Your Pace Even if You Don't Plan to Race10 of 20
If you run to improve health, lose weight or stay fit when on a racing hiatus, you likely plod at the same pace for the majority of your miles. This approach provides results for a finite amount of time; when you plateau, consider increasing your intensity to help you achieve your goals.
If your goal is to improve your overall health through running, speed work can help you achieve this in a way that easy running can't.
Slowly Add Speed to Your Routine11 of 20
Unfortunately, most runners go to their local track and start churning out blistering interval workouts every other day, only to wind up injured a few short weeks later.
A gradual transition to fast workouts is a better strategy, and will ensure that your body adapts to this new stress. Here's how to do it.
Don't Be Intimidated by the Track12 of 20
Although many believe a running track is reserved for track stars, it's actually the perfect place to learn to run, increase your speed, and get away from the repetition of running on the roads.
Tracks are flat and predictable; this makes it easy to hone your pacing skills. The synthetic surface provides a soft, forgiving landing, reducing the impact forces on your muscles and joints. Before you start running in circles, here are a few things you need to know.
Up the Ante: Train for a 10K13 of 20
Now that you've built your mileage and successfully tackled a 5K,training for a 10K is well within your reach. In order to run farther (in this case, your 10K distance), you've also got to run easy during most of your workouts. Think of your training as a chili recipe and the faster workouts as the spice of your program. As you work your way through the 10K training program, you will be pushing longer distance runs as well.
The secret is in balancing the recipe to allow your body time to recover between runs and grow stronger. When the program calls for easy runs, focus on keeping a "happy pace" and one where you can easily talk and almost feels effortless. Running easy translates to a stronger, faster or longer distance run down the road.
Start Foam Rolling After Your Runs14 of 20
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique, which helps reduce muscle pain, corrects imbalances, increases range of motion, and prevents injury. Using tools like a foam roller improves blood circulation and breaks up scar tissue, relieving stiffness and soreness.
Learn How Strength Training Makes You a Better Runner15 of 20
Many runners are quite content with just getting in their weekly runs. While running promotes cardiovascular health, weight loss, and an escape from the daily grind, it is not a complete program. If we were to look at measurable data, such as strength, speed, power, endurance, balance and coordination, running only improves endurance. Running is simply not enough.
Strength training can improve fitness in all of the previously mentioned categories. The benefits of strength training go beyond just getter stronger—you can develop better body mechanics, which will in turn help you to be a more efficient runner. You will use less energy, have more force production, and reduce your chance of injury. Strength training will also increase bone density and muscle tone, boost your metabolism, and improve your posture.
Sculpt Your Muscles16 of 20
While running, swimming and/or cycling should be the main focus of your training, strength training creates a balanced athlete. Strength training should be done twice a week. Pick two exercises that focus on your lower body and two exercises that focus on your upper body for the first strength session of the week, then pick four different upper- and lower-body exercises for your second weekly session. Pick a handful of these exercises, and master the movements. To ensure progression, you'll have to change up the variables by adding more weight, sets and reps. Keep track of your workouts in your log book so you can chart your progression easily.
Mud, Color, Glow Sticks and Obstacles: Run for Fun17 of 20
So, what is the allure of a mud run? A mud run is a mix of whimsical fun and physical exertion; it's the perfect event for a person who is ready to make a change but needs a cloak to do it under. It's also the perfect reminder for a lot of people that they're not in as good of shape as they think they are—and that they're not getting any younger either. How would I know this? Because I'm that person.
Train with Your Best Furry Friend18 of 20
Dogs make great running partners. They're enthusiastic and motivated, and they act as a good reminder that your workout is waiting.
The problem is that not all dogs are ready to run. No matter how energetic they seem at the house, if your dog isn't in running shape, you might end up walking him back home.
Try these four tips to get Fido ready to hit the ground running.
Make Running a Family Activity19 of 20
If you're a newbie runner who also happens to be a parent, it can be difficult to schedule your runs into your day. If your little one(s) are small enough for a jogging stroller, that's a great way to combine running with your parental responsibilities. What happens though when your kids are too big for the stroller or have soccer games that you'd like to see? Here are eight tips to help you manage a running schedule and your family.