Whether you've asked for it or not, every runner will have certainly received their fair share of tips and tricks to improve their running over the years. Some advice may stick with you - and others may not - but every now and again, there’s that one perspective or one practical tip that really clicks and truly does help you elevate your running, either mentally or physically.
Recently we asked our Tribe what that one piece of advice was for them, and how it helped them hit the next level? Here are some of their replies.
“You’ve got to believe to achieve”
“My friend Matthew Walters, founder of Runspire, has this motto that underpins his coaching and it’s something I always keep in the back of my mind. Every time I attempt a race, time trial or challenging run, I know if there is any doubt in my ability to achieve what I want, I will almost certainly fail.”
“In the weeks leading up to Race to the Stones 50k I knew I could get a top 10 finish. I analysed all my training runs, past results, the paces I knew I’d need to run etc, and was fairly confident I could do it. All I needed to do was go and execute the plan, and that’s what I did (mostly!), coming away with 4th place in the end. I didn’t overthink it, I just went out and ran the race I trained for with the belief that I could achieve my goal and it all paid off!”
“This motto helps keep me focused on my ‘why’ every time I step out of the door by considering what I’m aiming for and why that run is important in the bigger picture. Self-belief is essential, but it’s only the starting point. Once you believe you can accomplish your goals, you need to find the most effective route of getting to that end point, and that starts with understanding why you’re doing each and every run and how it’ll get you to your goals.”
“Slow down. If you think you’re going too fast – you probably are!”
“During our daily Instagram and Strava scrolling, running often resembles a competition or comparison with the world, rather than a personal journey, or personal competition. Ostensibly, everyone was posting their best and fastest runs. Yet, little did I know that, the majority of the elite’s runs are the ‘ungramworthy’ slow and easy runs. As a former Strava-addicted, stat-driven, comparison-making runner, being told to ‘slow down’, and be guided by your body rather than your watch, comparisons, or fear of judgement, was inevitably a real challenge. Yet, it really paid off. My PBs, energy, and recovery all improved. More importantly, my love, appreciation, and enjoyment towards running increased dramatically.”
“When I started my first ultra races I had no intentions on winning them. In fact, my only strategies were to run slow from the start, avoid racing the early-speed merchants, and run my own race. Tortoise mode on, I gradually overtook the early-speeders, the bonkers, and ran negative-splits to come first female and 4th out of 698 participants. Marvelled by this new strategy, I replicated it in my second ultra, and was also awarded first female, and a new course record!”
"I now thoroughly enjoy easy runs. In fact, they’re now my favourite! Not only for the many physical benefits they bring (injury prevention, aerobic capacity building, improved recovery, etc), but for the psychological ones. They bring me back to my childhood roots, when we didn’t worry about pace, or stats, or others, but ran for the sheer joy, excitement, and confidence it brings. So, I keep reminding myself - be the tortoise, not the hare. Be in it for the long run."
“Use your non-running time to work on your strength and conditioning”
“When I suffered a 5th metatarsal fracture in October 2020, a friend who is part of the amazing running community advised me to spend my non-running time working on my strength and conditioning, which will enable me to come back stronger. As a runner, we know we need to combine strength work and cross training alongside running, but these are often neglected. In those few months that I could not run, I used this to start a better routine of focusing on strength workouts. It has definitely helped me when I returned to running in February 2021. I am continuing with this.”
"I now always make sure that I add strength workouts to my weekly plan (which I must say I have written down in a book). I did not used to, I just used to go by feel. I also always do my stretches before and after my runs now, something I used to neglect all the time. It really does have a huge impact on recovery times. I am beginning to feel stronger and self-belief is a must."
“Just focus on the mile or lap that you’re in.”
"My running coach said this to me just before I ran a looped marathon - which was 11 laps of a race course. He’d said similar things before for my long training runs, but this time for the marathon, it really stuck with me. 26.2 miles is a really long way, but it feels even longer on a deserted race course that’s in loops. Imagine doing a marathon time trial by yourself, it can really get in your head. So I dedicated each lap to a person and wrote them on my arm, then each lap I had a focus and something to think about and detract from how much further I had to go. It worked!"
"Now, I use it in sessions and longer runs, just focusing on the rep you’re in rather than ‘I still have 8 to go…’. Again for long runs, just break it down by your time, distance or even your route - ‘I’ve just got to get from here to that tree.’ It helps you to not overthink it, especially when you have a tough session planned or a long run that you might be worrying about."
“Forget the tech and enjoy the sport.”
"A year after I started running, my personal trainer could see that I was getting down on myself about chasing times on every run and told me to just lace up and run. Half way through the following training block when I burned out with too much speed work and clock watching, I decided to step back and run for fun again and everything moving forwards just clicked."
"We all get caught up in the hype of gizmos and gadgets and it often sucks the fun out of the sport. Now I make myself aware of how I'm feeling week by week, analyse the week's training and assess if I need to rest up or keep pushing. You go through cycles of using the watch more and using the watch less and I often find that's dependent on if I'm in a training cycle or not! So when I put too much pressure on myself and the fun starts to go from the running, I go back to basics - to just enjoy putting one foot in front of the other and smiling."
Thanks to our Tribe for sharing the best running tips they’ve ever been given. Be sure to join our Tribe on Strava to keep the conversation going, and don’t forget that our Summer sale is still on site wide with up to 70% off.