But a little bit of advice from an experienced runner couldn’t hurt, right?
Whether it’s a mantra to push yourself to run farther than you ever thought possible, a hack to help you avoid injuries, or a tip on shaving precious seconds off your mile time, sharing tricks of the trade is an essential part of the running community.
Here, five experienced runners share the words of wisdom that have helped them up their game.
TV Meteorologist, mother of four, and nine-time marathoner
“I once rode in a limo with [legendary runner] Frank Shorter—who founded the Bolder Boulder 10K race—from Denver to Boulder, Colorado. I asked him how I could improve my race time, and his advice was so simple. ‘To run faster, you have to run faster,‘ he said. You have to train how you want to race.”
News anchor and co-host of NBC News’ Today and a six-time marathoner (including the 2014 Boston Marathon, with a finishing time of 3:35)
“While training for Boston, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my buttocks from piriformis syndrome. I tried everything: giving up running for a bit, sitting on tennis balls, and even visiting a sports chiropractor regularly. My friend and sports medicine doctor, Jordan Metzl, MD, who is an Ironman triathlete and has completed more than two dozen marathons, said the best medicine for so-called “runner’s butt” is strengthening your backside. Yep—it’s all in the glutes, apparently.
As a runner, I slack when it comes to cross-training, but after the Boston Marathon, I now regularly do my jump squats and lunges, as I’ve learned the butt is one of the most important muscles in the body. The extra training and strengthening has worked, and I also got a cushier pair of running shoes, which seemed to do the trick. So now I’m back in running form and am pain-free. My butt looks better too!”
“‘The race is supposed to hurt, love,’ Mark Rowland, coach of Oregon Track Club Elite, told me. ‘You don’t train so it doesn’t hurt—you train so you can tolerate it.'”
Local marketing director of Strava, 2:52 marathoner
“Tom Cotner, who coaches Club Northwest in Seattle, often told me,‘You don’t get fast on your fast days—you get fast on your slow days.’ He was always trying to get me to slow down on my easy days—something I still struggle with. He was a big advocate of working really hard during track sessions and races, then letting the body recover fully on easy days. Without adequate recovery, he told me, you don’t get the full benefit of the workout because you’re not giving your body a chance to absorb all that work and rebuild the muscles you had broken down.”
Yoga instructor, three-time marathoner
“When your body is sending you a signal that something isn’t right, don’t waste any time. Go see someone. Get body work. Take rest days, even if they are unplanned. Do whatever you need to do to get to that start line healthy. The number one goal of all training plans should be to toe the line feeling healthy and without injury, even if it means losing chunks of training time along the way. Everyone says this, but it’s something you eventually learn on your own. Oh, and not every race is going to be a personal record!”
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