I literally cannot tell you how many times I have been out running and another runner just blows by me. I’m not talking like jogs by, waves, and we share a Gatorade or something. I’m talking like the person is running so fast I almost look around for a bear.
Let’s be clear, I’m totally jealous of their beast mode. They can flat kick it into a gear that I’ve never known plus they don’t ever seem to have to take a recovery walk. This got me thinking, what makes these runners so successful?
Taking it a step further, what defines a successful runner? I 100% believe the definition of success differs from runner to runner. Before you hop into these 6 habits, first set a goal for yourself, whatever it looks like; my suggestion is to sign up for a race. It gives you a deadline and deadlines really help when trying to form new habits.
In addition to my running coach license, I’ve talked to veteran runners; asked questions and watched their methods which has rendered me this list.
Here we go. 6 Habits of successful runners:
1. Successful Runner Tip # 1 – Plan Your Runs
There’s much debate on who said “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail” some say it was Winston Churchill some said Ben Franklin. Either way, that is the first habit of a highly successful runner. They make a plan and they work it. Here’s what I mean: Remember the 3 D’s: Days, Distance, Direction. They plan the days of their runs, they plan the distance (how far) and they plan the direction (or route) of their run. Having this plan in place helps you reach your goal(s) for running that you’ve outlined for yourself!
Pro Tip– when planning your route, make sure you know the approximate (pretty close to exact) mileage of that route. Otherwise, you might possibly reach your goal three miles away from your car. Which may not sound very far, but when you’ve already gone 7 and you weren’t PLANNING on 10, those 3 miles are a long way. Been there, done that.
2. Successful Runner Tip #2 – Plan Your Diet
Ohhhhhhhh the diet. Let’s remember that diet means what you eat, not “I’m going on a diet”. Crash dieting does not work, healthy eating is a lifestyle. Successful runners eat good lean protein, good fats (i.e. avocado and nuts) and complex carbs to give them the energy they need to keep moving through their runs. You will definitely have to find what works best for you and your training routine; but if you need some tips on how to get started, head over to my other post 7 Ways to Spice Up Your Healthy Eating.
Like I said, healthy eating is a lifestyle. It’s small choices, every single day that lead up to big results. I’m a big proponent of flexible dieting, which is what I have used to not only lose over 60 pounds, but it’s what I use to fuel myself every single day for my workouts and my runs.
There’s a book that I love called Mini Habits for Weight Loss: Stop Dieting. Form New Habits. Change Your Lifestyle Without Suffering. While the goal here is fueling for a run and not weight loss, the purpose is still the same. The book teaches you how to make small changes everyday to fuel your body properly.
Remember, no diets, just real food.
3. Successful Runner Tip #3 – Make Sure You Have Great Shoes
When you run, no matter the distance, your feet take quite a beating. Having durable, high quality shoes will really make a difference in your run. Now, I used to be a die hard for a certain brand, but here recently, I got out of my comfort zone and tried a different brand. They’re called Reebok Harmony Roads. They are literally the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. They are very light weight and have great cushion and support. They run true to size and they are my go to for running shoes. Period.
Below are my feet, in the Reebok Harmony Roads. They come in different colors if black and purple aren’t your favorite. To be honest, they’re not badly priced at all especially for running shoes. I know runners that pay about $150 for their running shoes! The Reebok’s are priced around $100 and I’ve seen them go on sale for $80!
5. Successful Runner Tip #4 – Hydrate Before, During and After Runs
Hydration is huge. When you run, you sweat profusely which if not handled properly will deplete your body of the necessary water it needs! Prepare for your runs by making sure that you properly hydrate yourself. Something that I do is I have a favorite cup that I drink my water out of throughout the day. I also spice things up a bit and add lemon or fruit to my water to give it some extra flavor. Having sufficient water during your run is essential as well, if you’re part of a training group typically they will have water stations set up throughout the course.
Something that I do that works really well for long runs is I place my water along the course kind of like setting up my own aid station. So I drive around, hide the water in a bush (nope, not a joke, this is a true story) will drink the water when I get to that point. Hide the bottle again, then after my run go back and pick up the trash and throw it away. I’m dead serious. You can ask any of my run girls that I’ve trained for distance, that is exactly what I do. I hate carrying water that much during my runs, that I’m willing to do the extra work!
4. Successful Runner Tip #5 – Invest in Quality Run Clothes
Quality run clothes is another big one. Just like basketball and baseball teams have uniforms made of good quality material, runners have clothes that are made especially for them. Each runner has a preference for what they like to wear. The point here is that they do not buy clothes that will chafe because chafing is a real problem and can happen to runners and other athletes and it can be painful!
There is a clothing brand that I partner with called Just Strong (my full review on their clothes here) and they have some great clothes at an affordable price! You can use code AGEORGE10 to get a discount! Click here to head over to Just Strong – Clothing for Women (I suggest ordering a size up from your normal size if you’d like a looser fit! 🙂
6. Successful Runner Tip #6 – Take Good Care of Your Muscles and Bodies
As runners, our bodies take a huge beating because of all of the bounce and shift of our bodies. It’s part of it! With that comes muscles soreness and fatigue and we have to know how to properly handle this soreness. This means drinking plenty of water, plus having a proper balance of rest and workouts. Especially if you’re training for a race, you have to keep your body and muscles in tip top shape!
Pro-tip:Walk to warm up. I like to walk about a 1/4 of a mile before I actually turn on my watch and start running. When you’re done with your run and your muscles are warm, stretch your muscles back out. I don’t tell my girls to stretch their muscles cold because imagine trying to stretch a cold rubber band. It doesn’t work well right? Instead, try for an easy active warm up to get those muscles nice and warm. You can even foam roll for an active warm up before heading out the door!
Time to hit the road!
Just like with any habit, it takes time to develop these 6 habits. Work on one at a time then move on to the next one!
I’ll tell you this, the one that I struggle with the most is drinking enough water and being hydrated. This is why I set up aid stations for myself. It makes me take a second and drink the water.
Life get’s crazy busy, I get it. So making sure that you’re scheduling your runs at a time that works for you. Work WITH your schedule, not against it!
Since I figured I wasn’t the only one struggling with this I took the time to create a little printable to help us out! Yep, this trainer and coach struggles to find time to workout too!
It’s called life!
Here you go, drop in your name and e-mail and I’ll send you my checklist to help you figure out your workouts schedule. Plus, there might be some other goodies in there too. 🙂
So! That said, tie your hair up, lace up your shoes and let’s run!
*Be Sure To Pin For Later!