Running is one of the most accessible and regularly undertaken sports around the world. You can start running as a complete beginner and get a full body workout no matter your distance. Aerobic exercise, like running, has been consistently found to help people feel calmer and lower stress hormones, and even a 20-30 minute run can create calming effects that last hours (1).
At Science in Sport, running is one of our core endurance sports and we’ve helped fuel elite runners and sportspeople for decades. Our unique insight and knowledge within running are informed by a panel of experts and backed by science, so we’ve gathered together some top tips to help you get more out of your training sessions.
1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!
Running is a great whole-body workout. Hitting a variety of key muscle groups, running can help to strengthen your legs, improve your cardiovascular system and it can also have a positive impact on your mental health. We know that running is great – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Olympic marathoner Steph Davis says that you need to “be prepared for the ups and downs” of running. “Some days it will feel smooth and easy, but others you just need to put your head down and get it done”. Whether you are training for your first marathon, trying to hit a PB or you just run to de-stress, it isn’t always going to be easy – get comfortable with pushing yourself a bit further and you’ll be rewarded at that finish line.
2. Practice your fuelling
Completing a half marathon, marathon or even an ultra is as much about your training as it is your fuelling. Planning how you’ll fuel your runs is vital if you don’t want to hit the wall during a race. Planning (and practicing!) your fuelling plan is as important as working out your race strategy – don’t leave it until the last minute or end up trying new things on race day, as you need to be led by your body’s response to certain fuels.
During your weekly long run, experiment with different formats and the timing of your fuelling. This will help your stomach get used to the fuelling, so you can avoid any issues on race day! A good place to start is to take on one SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel every 30-35 minutes or a Beta Fuel Gel every 40-45 minutes.
3. Train hard, recover harder.
Whether you’re training for a half or full-distance marathon or even going beyond the world of ultra-marathons, running puts much stress on the body. That’s why it’s so important to give your body what it needs. Science in Sport elite marathoner Mohamed Reda El Aaraby who came third at the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon says, “The key to running… is to balance good training and sufficient recovery”.
SiS REGO Rapid Recovery is Mo’s preferred way of recovering after a run. REGO Rapid Recovery is a complete recovery product giving you the right amount of protein and carbohydrates to help replenish and recover your system to train again, and o help to build muscle.
4. Listen to your body
Running is tiring, and it is very rare for a training schedule to go exactly to plan, but there are plenty of things that you can do and listening to your body will help your running. First off, don’t worry if you need to skip a session or two, you will run your best if you are feeling healthy and energetic!
Secondly, keep on top of your hydration. Our bodies need water to survive, popping a SiS HYDRO tablet in your bottle and sipping throughout the day can be a great way of getting added electrolytes in. This helps you to feel more awake, stay hydrated and be ready to go again for your next session.
5. Make it right for you
If you are training for a race, find a plan that is suitable for your ability, the mileage you can tolerate, and the distance you are training for. Plus, you want to make sure it’s manageable around your schedule. Planning out your week in advance can also help with getting the most enjoyment and benefit from training.
Organise when you will do your training, see your friends, do your admin etc! If you have structure, it will be easier to juggle a busy schedule, but you will also be less likely to miss your running sessions! Mohamed Reda El Aaraby is a big fan of training in the morning to get your session in early. Our free 16-week marathon training guide can fit around you and your schedule, making it ideal for your next marathon training cycle, you can find it here.
6. Get stronger!
Working on your strength will help you feel better when you’re out running. Adding in strength training can be a great way of keeping those running injuries at bay. Start off small with bodyweight exercises and progress as you feel comfortable. Cross-training can also be a great way to add more training without risking overloading the body through running. This will also improve your fitness levels, making the training and running all that bit easier.
Hopefully, these 6 handy running tips will help you on your way to running more. If you are looking for more in-depth advice like training for a marathon or wanting to know which gel to take and when, then head to our running hub, where you can find all of the articles and nutrition for runners in one place.
- Jackson, Erica M. Ph.D., FACSM. STRESS RELIEF: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 17(3):p 14-19, May/June 2013. | DOI: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e31828cb1c9