Tips For Runners

Pre-Run Tips

Matt Royak in handcycle at start line

Train for the specific event for which you’re running; in other words practice goal pace and in an environment that is similar to the race. For training, keep the total distance covered shorter than the goal race, or run at your race pace in shorter segments with rest breaks (interval training).

To reduce injury, increase weekly training mileage by no more than 10 percent per week.

Don’t eat or drink anything new before or during a race or hard workout.

Stick to what works for you. 

Wait for about 1.5 – 2 hours after a meal before running to allow your food to properly digest. Some ideas for pre-run snacks/meals include oatmeal, peanut butter on bagel or toast, or carrots with hummus.

Dress for runs as if it’s 10-20 degrees warmer than it actually is. The table below gives a runner an idea of how to dress for different temperatures; windy days might require more clothing to stay warm.

Above 70Lightweight/light-colored Dri-fit singlet and running shorts
60 to 69Tank top or Dri-fit singlet and running shorts
50 to 59Dri-fit T-shirt (short or long sleeve) and running shorts
40 to 49Long-sleeve Dri-fit shirt and running tights or shorts
30 to 39Long-sleeve Dri-fit shirt and running tights
20 to 29Two upper-body layers (e.g. long sleeve Dri-fit and half zip) and cold weather running tights
10 to 19Two upper-body layers (e.g. long sleeve Dri-fit and half zip) and one/ two (e.g. leggings, cold weather running tights) lower-body layers
0 to 9Two/three upper-body layers (e.g. long sleeve Dri-fit and half zip, running jacket), one/two lower-body layers (e.g. leggings, cold weather running tights)
Below 0Three upper-body layers (e.g. long sleeve Dri-fit, half zip, running jacket), two lower-body layers (e.g. leggings, cold weather running tights)


A sign that says Run

Start every run with a warm-up (e.g., 5-10 minutes of walking or slow running), and do the same to cool down. Stopping too quickly can cause leg cramps, nausea, or dizziness.

For a few days before a long race, emphasize carbohydrates in your diet.

You should be able to talk in complete sentences while doing long runs. Talking should not be easy during hard runs or races.

Do your longest training runs at least 2 minutes per mile slower than your 5K race pace.

There are no drawbacks to running them slowly. Running them too fast, however, can compromise your recovery time and raise your injury risk.

Run slower on hot days.

Generally, the longer the race, the slower your pace, so your 10K will be slower than your 5k, your full marathon will be slower than your half.

Windy days will slow you down. A headwind always slows you down while a tailwind speeds you up. Monitor your effort, not your pace.

Run against traffic except when running into leftward blind curves where there’s a narrow shoulder or in construction area; bike with traffic.

Wear reflective gear (e.g. headlamps, reflective clothing, blinkie lights) pre-dawn, and after sunset and in foggy weather.

Build up to and run at least one 20 to 22-miler before a marathon.

Long runs are like the marathon, as they require lots of time on your feet.

Hilly runs to be slower than flat runs. Monitor effort not pace. Running uphill slows you down more than running downhill speeds you up.

Take at least one easy day (e.g. short, slow run, cross-training day, no exercise) after every hard day (e.g. long run, tempo run, speed workout)

If you hurt for a couple of days, rest. If something hurts for a week or more, even if you’ve taken your rest days, see a doctor.


Your workout is not over when you stop your watch at the end of a run.  Here are a few steps to help your body recover and prepare you for the next day’s workout.

Guide Anne-Drew and Taylor E and athlete James
  • Hydrate as soon after your run as possible.
  • Stretch major muscle groups and anything that is sore or tight. Roll out any nagging injuries or problem areas.
  • Eat a small meal that contains a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein soon after running
  • Take an ice bath
  • Eat a decent sized, healthy meal several hours after running
  • Nap, put your feet up, or get a massage
  • Go for a short walk
  • Roll out on the foam roller or stick
  • Get plenty of sleep

For each mile that you race (full effort half or full marathon), allow one day of recovery before returning to hard training or racing. If your race effort wasn’t all-out, taking fewer recovery days is okay.