06/18/2015 05:44 EDT | Updated 06/18/2016 05:59 EDT

10 Ways to Be a Better Runner

small group of runners in urban invironment, evening training
Henrik Sorensen via Getty Images
small group of runners in urban invironment, evening training

1. We all come in different shapes and sizes.

Despite what the advertisers lead us to believe, there is no "ideal" running figure. The only requirement for calling yourself a runner is to lace up a pair of running shoes and start putting one foot in front of the other. Running is not about what you look like, but rather, what you see yourself becoming.

2. Sometimes all you need to keep you going is a little distraction.

Let's face it, sometimes running is hard work and you need a little distraction to keep you motivated or to renew your love of the sport. If you feel like you're getting into a running rut, why not grab your "bestie" and head out to a fun adventure race. But whatever you do...don't forget to take lots of selfies!

3. There's joy in finding your tribe!

By far the greatest gift of running is all of the incredible people you meet along the way. As we witnessed after the tragedy of the Boston Marathon Bombings, the running community is strong, supportive and empowering.

4. When you're naughty, you need a time out.

What you get out of running has everything to do with what you put into it. If you cheat on your nutrition, your training mileage, or to a broader degree, the rules of our sport in general, you are bound to pay the price.

5. Always carry plenty of treats.

Runners are known for their voracious appetites, so it's always a good idea to keep a few treats on hand. When I'm out on a run, I make sure that I have enough nutrition "on board," and when I'm not running, I always have an energy bar or snack in tow.

6. Be prepared when nature calls

My advice to a runner heading to his or her first organized race, is to join the line for the porta-potties as soon as you get to the staging area. My second piece of advice is, once you've "done your business," get right back in me. Your nervous bladder and jittery tummy will thank you later!

7. Don't be afraid to go off road.

Most runners, especially those living in big cities, log most of their miles on the road or on a treadmill. There's nothing wrong with that, but whenever possible, I invite you to go off road and hit the trails for your run. The change of terrain offers a multiple of training benefits in terms of improving your gait and muscle imbalance, and the change in scenery will do wonders for your running inspiration.

8. Don't let the weather stop you from getting in your run.

You know what they say: There is no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing. Bundle up or strip down, but either way, don't let the weather get in the way of pursuing your passion.

9. Don't forget to listen to your body.

Running is definitely hard work, and it takes a toll on our body. Sometimes the best training you can do is to simply "do nothing." Pamper yourself after a hard workout or race by getting a massage or a much-needed nap.

10. We're all in this together!

You don't have to sniff each other or rub up against each other like dogs and cats do, but giving another runner you pass along the road or trail a high-five or friendly wave helps cement the bond we runners share. Each of us is an ambassador for our sport and an example of how running can change your life.


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