UPDATED December 20, 2022: Here it is, the holy grail of game-changing running tips that I have collected over the past several years–revised and updated to make you run and feel your best. These simple yet effective running tips have helped mother runners worldwide get healthy, motivated, energized, and faster.
While these running tips cover the spectrum of self-care from nutrition to recovery, they have one thing in common: consistency. In order to improve anything in your running (or life), you must make it a habit.
I’ve asked mother runners everywhere what simple hacks have transformed their running. The result is 36 running tips that may help you troubleshoot areas of weakness and elevate your running performance.
I am not suggesting you do all of these, but if you are struggling with certain areas such as running consistently, or feeling sluggish on your run, these may help solve the problem.
Before I get to the running tips, here are some general guidelines when it comes to transforming your running.
What are the best running tips?
THE best running tip for runners is to be consistent and don’t increase your mileage too fast. Aim to increase mileage by about ten percent every week with rest days sprinkled throughout your running.
Other running tips are to make sure you are well-fueled, hydrated, warm-up pre-run, and rested in between running sessions. Also, slow down. Running should feel easy most of the time.
What does 30 minutes of running do?
Thirty minutes of running is the magic number, according to famed running coach Jack Daniels, in which we begin to increase our fitness through the increase in physiological factors like mitochondria and capillary density.
Something is always better than nothing, but aim to run for at least thirty minutes a session.
How can I get better at running fast?
The best way to get better at running fast is by running fast. In general, after you’ve built a solid base of running about 20 miles per week for at least 6 weeks, begin running strides (also known as striders or stride-outs).
Strides are fast running done at the end of an easy run. They teach the body how to run efficiently to run fast. They also serve as a bridge to faster running such as intervals and tempo workouts.
To do them, find a flat straightaway over about 100 meters. Begin running, accelerating to about 90 percent of your max in the middle for several seconds, then decelerate to a stop. Rest. Then repeat about 3 more times.
How do I run without getting tired?
Consistency in running is what will help you not feel tired during your runs. Beginner runners will most likely feel tired during most of their runs, even with walk breaks.
But over time, after about 4 weeks of 3-4 running sessions of at least thirty minutes, you will begin to notice that running feels easier. Over time, your easy pace will increase. And you’ll become hooked on running by the progress you see!
But this does not happen if you run here and there. It has to be consistent!
36 Running Tips to Try in 2023
Okay, here we go, 36 running tips to try in 2023 to make you feel better and run better!
1. Eat before, during, and after your run
Food is fuel and if you go for a run on empty, or don’t refill the tank when you’re done, you risk poor performance, low energy, and injury.
Before a run, try eating a couple of hundred calories of carbs (like 2 graham crackers) before you head out. I bet you’ll feel like you have a lot more stamina.
For runs over an hour, fuel every half hour with about 30 grams of carbs (an energy gel).
When you return from long runs or workouts, eat two meals: Within an hour of finishing your run, eat a carb-dominate snack. Two hours after that, eat a
This refueling speeds up your recovery time by replenishing glycogen stores and giving your muscles the protein they need to heal the tiny tears from your workout. This helps you be ready to run sooner, ward off injury, and re-energize you so you can continue being a badass mom despite running more than you drive.
Related: 3 proven ways to refuel after a long run (+ yummy recipes)
2. Stay safe on the run.
The murder of Memphis mother runner Liza Fletcher is a tragic reminder that with our running (especially early morning running) comes risk. So, please do what you can to stay safe.
I’ve written a lot on this topic, but some quick tips include running with others, not running with earbuds in, having GPS tracking on your phone and watch, running with your phone, and learning self-defense.
Related: Top Self-Defense Moves for Runners
3. Do a pre-run mobility routine.
Mobility is important for runners as we must move through a range of motions to run. Regular mobility routines will improve your running mechanics such as knee drive.
This can add power, correct improper running form, improve efficiency and performance, and decrease the chance of injury. Aim to do mobility exercises as part of your warm-up and whenever you have time.
4. Foam roll.
There’s scientific evidence that foam rolling before running can prevent injuries and after running can decrease delayed onset muscle fatigue.
The Rollga roller is hands-down my favorite foam roller because it’s like a hybrid of a foam roller and a bunch of lacrosse balls. The bumps hit the right spots in the tight muscles and it allows you to roll two legs at a time. Anecdotally, this roller has helped my legs feel fresh faster.
5. Take your vitamins.
Runners need supplements. Many of the recommended daily values are impossible to hit with food alone as a regular person. With the stress running can impose on our bodies, we need extra nutrients to repair.
Related: The 12 Best Supplements for Runners
I have never felt better (or had better blood lab results) since taking Previnex supplements. Previnex offers the best supplements on the market today. The ingredients are clean and reputable sourced and the proprietary blends are science-backed. Previnex also has a money-back guarantee.
Save 15% off your first order with code TMR15. I feel certain you will notice benefits in how you run, recover, and feel overall within the first month.
6. Take Epsom salt baths.
Taking regular Epsom salt baths, particularly after hard workouts, can help reduce soreness and inflammation of muscles.
Like a lot of running recovery treatments, there isn’t overwhelming evidence to support this claim but some studies do show that the combination of magnesium, sulfate, and warm water relaxes muscles and aids recovery.
Personally, I’ve been a believer in Epsom salt baths for recovery for years because of their noticeable benefits.
7. Run easy. Truly easy.
Easy running is the key to increasing volume, improving fitness, and staying injury-free. Too many runners stay in the “gray zone” in which they run too fast and hurt their recovery. Your easy run days should be at a pace that is conversational, comfortable, and controlled.
For most runners, your heart rate will be below 150 at this pace. However, there are many variations in heart rate and obsessing over heart rate zones can quickly rob the joy of running free. So, instead, run by effort and if you feel gassed or want to stop during the run–slow down.
Related: Benefits of an Easy Running Pace
8. Lift heavy things twice a week.
Mother runners say strength training has been a huge difference-maker in the power of their running, making running faster require less effort.
A study finds the benefits of lifting heavy weights with low reps. Aim to do low reps (5 to 10) with heavy weights (about 75 percent of your max) twice a week. Simple moves like barbell squats, deadlifts, step-ups, lunges, and calf raises will do the trick.
Related: Strength Training Guide for Runners
9. Do a quick stretch first thing in the morning.
Several mother runners like to do a yoga routine first thing in the morning. I like to do some cat cows and down dogs when I wake up. Another runner says laying in child’s pose helps her get ready to run later.
Indeed, this yoga pose is known to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. It’s a perfect (and productive) way to start the day!
Related: 6 yoga moves for runners
10. Prepackage snacks and special toys for stroller runs.
Prepping special stroller-only snacks and toys helps kids get extra excited for stroller runs and stay in the stroller longer, allowing for more miles (and more fun!).
Related: 12 genius stroller running tips
11. Limit alcohol intake.
Alcohol can be a big disrupter to your sleep, recovery, and performance. It can impact the body’s ability to maintain optimal hydration levels, regulate body temperature, repair muscle damage, and recover properly.
Limiting alcohol intake helps mother runners feel rejuvenated and energized. 2:30 marathoner Neely Gracey has told me she limits alcohol to twice a week.
12. Schedule rest.
Rest days are when our bodies build up what we broke down. We can’t get stronger without this time. Scheduling a reduction of 20-30 percent reduction in mileage every 3-4 weeks of training and a regular rest day allows our bodies to recover and absorb the work.
13. Run early in the morning.
Running in the morning helps moms ensure they get their runs in and that they’re focused on other things the rest of the day. It also increases energy despite less sleep.
In fact, this running tip is the most popular game-changer among mother runners. As one mother runner says, “I like to go early before everyone else is up so I don’t have to schedule my run around everyone else’s schedules.”
Related: Become a Morning Runner
14. Get everyone to bed early
Making sure your kids go to bed early so you can go to bed early and catch those zzzz’s is paramount to running well and staying healthy.
During a workout, your muscles break down on a cellular level. Sleep allows the body to repair those cells, enabling you to bounce back stronger and faster.
Getting enough sleep is challenging but you can have better control when you’re in control of your children’s sleep habits.
My kids still like us to lay with them until they fall asleep. So moving their bedtime up earlier (and being okay falling asleep with them) helped me get enough rest to train well and stay healthy.
Related: How Sleep Can Prevent Injuries
15. Drink water when you first get up.
And then keep drinking it all day long.
Your body needs water just to function and copious amounts if you’re a runner. Water is responsible for regulating body temperature, removing waste, helping bring energy to cells, and cushioning joints.
Hydration is also key to improving recovery, minimizing injury and cramps, and maximizing performance. Mother runners have noticed that drinking water consistently throughout the day has kept them from bonking on their runs.
Related: Hydration Guide for Runners
16. Prep for morning runs,
Readying your clothes before an early morning run ensures you get it done! This simple act takes the guesswork out of what to wear, lowers the chance of waking family members, and adds extra time to sip that coffee. (I also like to prep the coffee so I just have to push a button.)
17. Get a running coach.
Hiring a running coach that individualizes your training can make a WORLD of difference in your performance.
Chances are if you talk with anyone who has had a running coach, they will tell you that having a customized training schedule has leveled up their training and gotten those PRs.
18. Nail your fueling plan.
Having a solid marathon fueling plan can be the difference between a DNF and a PR. Studies show that marathoners who fuel early and often during their training perform better.
So, start practicing your fueling plan on your runs over an hour now. Figure out what energy gels your stomach tolerates and how you will get in enough liquids during your run.
Related: The Best Energy Gels for Runners
19. Drink ginger.
Regular ginger intake helps with digestion by protecting and healing the gut, hastening the movement of food through the GI tract, and reducing flatulence, bloating, and cramps.
Good digestion means you’re absorbing nutrients well. It also means fewer tummy troubles on the run. Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky have a yummy lemon gingerade recipe in their book, Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.
20. Challenge yourself twice a week.
One mother runner shared what most of us can relate to: being a running mom can be exhausting! It can be easy to surrender to the exhaustion and not run.
But setting a goal to run hard at least two times a week can dramatically improve your mental and physical stamina.
“Getting into the habit of attempting my scheduled workouts no matter what was a ‘game-changer’ for me,” she said. Oftentimes, you’ll surprise yourself by what you can do and how more energized you will feel.
A running coach can also help you by ensuring the harder workouts fit your fitness level and life.
21. Try new things.
If something isn’t working for you, then it’s time to try something new. If your fitness isn’t improving and you’re sure aren’t overtraining, then it may be time to try something new in your training. This could mean higher volume, more speedwork, more strength work, or even more rest.
Similarly, if you aren’t excited about running anymore, it may be time to think of training for a different distance.
22. Change your shoes.
Speaking of trying new things, that goes for shoes, too. If you have a history of injuries, there’s a chance your shoes could the culprit.
Ensure your shoes aren’t too worn and are the right fit. Go to a reputable running store and have the salesperson watch you run and suggest the best models.
Related: A review of the Hoka Rincon 3
23. Sleep enough!
Remember this equation: stress+rest=success. Our bodies rebuild in our sleep. So, aim to sleep at least 7 hours a night.
If you’re in a season of life in which you can’t sleep well, this is not the time to train for a marathon PR. That is an equation for injury, illness, or burnout.
Try to prioritize rest wherever you can. This may mean only doing early morning runs a couple days a week or gradually moving up bedtimes.
24. Find a run friend.
Studies show running with friends is a surefire way to keep you motivated. Running with other people keeps you accountable and is fun! You may likely find that the people you run with become your closest friends. Nothing is TMI on a run!
Related: 3 ways to find your running crew
25. Run to music.
Running to music (when it’s safe) is a huge motivator. Research shows it can make you run faster and longer. Honestly, when I’m really into a song, I can’t wait to run to it (it’s my form of dancing). Check out The Mother Runners playlist on Spotify.
26. Know your WHY.
It’s almost impossible to stick to something without buy-in. So, know why you run. Is it to relieve stress? Set a good example for your kids? Feel strong? Think about it.
I share #whyirun Wednesdays on my Instagram account if you need some inspiration.
27. Have a plan B.
Don’t leave runs up to chance. Pre-planning when you will run (plus a back-up plan) eradicates stress of when you’ll fit it in. It also ensures it’ll happen . Schedule when you will run and when you will run if Plan A falls apart.
This way when your baby wakes up and you can’t go early as you thought, then you know you have time to go on your lunch break or on the treadmill during nap time, for example.
Related: 9 habits of healthy mother runners
28. Prep the kids for your runs.
Let your kids know your run plans so they are more emotionally ready to handle you leaving.
Over time, they will get used to Grandma or the babysitter being there when they wake up, etc., lessening the chance for freak-outs when they realize mommy is not home. Inoculate meltdowns by cluing them into your plans.
30. Listen to your body.
Most mother runners have the tendency to push through pain. Listen to your body and ask questions like the ones below will save you from injury and extended time-off:
- Does just thinking of running make you feel exhausted or in pain?
- Do you have a fever? Does your stomach hurt? Are you using the bathroom frequently?
- Can you walk without pain?
- Have you felt tired, sick, or in pain for more than a day?
- Do you feel worse as your run progresses?
- Are you changing your gait?
If you answer yes to any of these, bag your run.
Related: Can You Run When You’re Sick?
31. Find a good physical therapist.
Finding a good physical therapist who understands runners is CRUCIAL to staving off injuries. Ask around and find who treats runners the best.
When you have a niggle that lasts more a week after treatment at home, consider calling them for guidance. I learned that nothing beats good ol’ physical therapy. It addresses the cause of the injury rather than just the pain.
32. Put your feet up.
Propping your legs up on a wall post-run for 5-15 minutes has been heralded as an optimum post-run recovery routine for decades.
While there lacks conclusive evidence that this helps drain byproducts and fluid from your legs, it does stretch hamstrings and runners swear it helps accelerate recovery. Plus, it’s relaxing!
33. Have a morning routine.
Elite parent runners Andi and Zach Ripley take less than 10 minutes every morning to stretch and strengthen their bodies. Making this part of their morning routine as much as that cup o’ joe has worked wonders in improving their running performance and keeping them healthy.
Check out their routine on atozrunning.com.
34. Journal about your successes.
Regularly writing about your training and training successes, no matter how small, will help reinforce your hard work, dedication, and accomplishments. Part of your morning routine can be taking two minutes to right about what you ran the day before and how it made you feel. If you had a bad run, reframe it as a mental strength day or lesson to improve your future running.
35. Get a massage.
Massages are amazing for moms and runners. They can help relax your mind, nervous system, body, and keep injuries at bay. Getting a regular massage (weekly or monthly) can help healthy and serve as small rewards throughout your training.
Most often it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Being consistent in the habits here that are appropriate for you could set you up for a lifetime of happy running.
36. Run strides twice a week.
Running strides teach your body how to run fast without wasting energy. Studies show they are powerful in improving running economy and speed. After building a solid base, aim to run strides on non-consecutive days twice a week.
Strides are fast-running spurts done at the end of an easy run. On a flat stretch of 100 meters, run where you are close to top speed in the middle. Slow to a stop. Recover completely. Repeat three more times.
Get more information on how to run strides and why here.
If you want guidance with your running goals including marathon training, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:
- Postpartum Training Plan
- After a Break Training Plan
- 5k Training Plans
- 10k Training Plans
- Half Marathon Training Plans
- Marathon Training Plans
- Strength Training Plan