Five things successful runners do

Five things successful runners do

Many runners hit a wall and struggle to improve their times or distances. Did you know that incorporating specific habits can elevate your running game? This article lays out five key practices used by successful runners that can transform your routine and boost performance.

The Importance of Setting Goals

Setting goals is crucial for successful runners. Whether it’s setting a time goal for a race or simply aiming to run a certain distance, having clear objectives helps keep runners motivated and focused on their progress.

Tracking progress towards these goals can also provide valuable feedback and help adjust training plans as needed.

Setting various types of goals

Successful runners understand the power of goal-setting. They know it helps them stay focused and measure their progress.

  • Establish short – term goals to create momentum. Aim to shave seconds off your time each week or increase distance incrementally.
  • Define long – term objectives like completing a marathon or achieving a personal best in a year.
  • Include process goals that focus on improving running form, increasing stamina, and enhancing endurance.
  • Set performance goals, such as hitting specific times during training sessions or races.
  • Create recovery goals that promote adequate rest and prevent injury, ensuring longevity in running.
  • Incorporate nutrition and hydration targets to fuel the body effectively for both training and recovery phases.
  • Embrace mental toughness challenges by setting milestones for running under adverse conditions or maintaining motivation.

Tracking progress

Tracking progress is a vital aspect of successful running. Regularly monitoring your performance and improvements helps you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Keeping track of your running times, distances, and how you feel during workouts can provide valuable insights into areas where you can push yourself further or need to adjust your training regimen.

By tracking progress, runners can identify patterns in their performance, determine what’s working well, and pinpoint areas for improvement. This information empowers runners to make informed decisions about their training routine, leading to more effective and efficient progress toward their running goals.

Whether using a digital app or a simple journal, keeping tabs on your progress will help you stay accountable and continuously improve as a runner.

The Balance of Fast and Slow Running

Successful runners understand the importance of incorporating both fast and slow running into their routine. They know that running at a faster pace can help improve speed and performance, while taking it slow allows for proper recovery and injury prevention.

Running fast for improvement

To improve running performance, successful runners incorporate fast running into their training routine. By engaging in interval sprints and tempo runs, they enhance speed, endurance, and overall cardiovascular fitness.

Incorporating regular speed work also helps to build muscle strength and improve running efficiency. Additionally, fast running can help break through performance plateaus and boost confidence in completing races and achieving personal bests.

Successful runners balance fast running with adequate recovery to prevent injury and burnout. They understand the importance of incorporating rest days into their training schedule to allow their bodies to recover from intense workouts.

Taking it slow for recovery

Taking it slow for recovery is essential for successful runners. It allows the body to repair and rebuild after intense training sessions, reducing the risk of overuse injuries. During slower runs, the body taps into its fat stores for fuel, improving endurance and overall performance while minimizing strain on muscles and joints.

Incorporating slow running into your routine can also enhance mental toughness and discipline, as it requires patience and persistence.

Slowing down pace benefits runners by promoting active recovery, enhancing flexibility, and preventing burnout. It encourages proper form and technique while facilitating relaxation in muscles that may have tightened during faster running sessions.

The Value of Strength Training

Incorporating strength training into a runner’s routine is essential for improving performance and preventing injuries. Doing runner-specific core exercises and maintaining proper posture can make a significant difference in their running abilities.

Runner-specific core exercises

Developing a strong core is essential for successful runners. It helps maintain proper posture, reduces the risk of injury, and enhances overall running performance. Here are some runner-specific core exercises to incorporate into your routine:

  1. Plank variations: Include side planks and forearm planks to target different areas of the core.
  2. Russian twists: Engage the obliques with this dynamic twisting exercise using a medicine ball or weight.
  3. Bicycle crunches: Work on the rectus abdominis and obliques by alternating elbow to knee movements.
  4. Mountain climbers: Incorporate these dynamic movements to build strength in the entire core while improving cardiovascular endurance.
  5. Dead bug exercise: Activate the deep stabilizing muscles of the core with this movement, focusing on controlled and precise motions.
  6. Superman pose: Strengthen the lower back and posterior chain, crucial for maintaining stability during running.
  7. Leg raises: Target the lower abdominal muscles to improve balance and stability during running strides.

Maintaining proper posture

Maintain proper posture while running to prevent injuries and improve your performance. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and core engaged to align your body for efficient movement.

Avoid slouching or leaning forward to reduce strain on your muscles and joints.

By focusing on maintaining good posture during each run, you’ll help distribute the impact evenly throughout your body, reducing the risk of overuse injuries. This will also help you breathe more effectively and efficiently as you work on building endurance and speed.

Prioritizing Recovery

Successful runners understand the importance of prioritizing recovery to prevent burnout and injury. They make time for rest, embrace recovery days, and listen to their bodies when it comes to taking adequate rest between intense training sessions.

Resting and recovering

Resting and recovering are essential aspects of successful running. It’s crucial for runners to prioritize recovery in order to prevent injuries and maintain peak performance. Here are some key strategies for effective rest and recovery:

  1. Adequate Sleep: Getting enough sleep is vital for muscle repair and overall recovery, aim for 7-9 hours each night.
  2. Active Recovery: Engaging in light physical activity like walking, yoga, or swimming can help reduce muscle soreness and improve circulation without causing additional strain.
  3. Hydration: Maintaining proper hydration levels supports the body’s recovery process, helping to flush out toxins and replenish lost fluids.
  4. Nutrition: Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates supports muscle recovery and replenishes energy stores.
  5. Self-Care Practices: Incorporating practices such as massage therapy, foam rolling, or stretching can aid in releasing tension and promoting relaxation within muscles.

Embracing recovery and rest days

Embracing recovery and rest days is essential for successful runners. Resting allows your body to recover, repair muscles, and prevent burnout. Taking time off from running also reduces the risk of overuse injuries like stress fractures or tendonitis.

In addition to resting, embracing recovery days means engaging in activities that promote healing and relaxation such as foam rolling, stretching, and low-impact cross-training like swimming or cycling.

These activities can improve flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, and enhance overall performance.


In summary, successful runners set clear goals to strive towards. They strike a balance between fast and slow running for overall improvement. They incorporate strength training into their routines to build endurance and prevent injuries.

Successful runners prioritize recovery by allowing ample time for rest and recuperation. Additionally, they understand the importance of proper nutrition in fueling their bodies for optimal performance.


What habits do successful runners have?

Successful runners build effective running habits like maintaining consistent running schedules, practicing core strength exercises, and focusing on a positive running mindset.

Why is recovery important for runners?

Recovery is key for runners because it allows muscles to repair and grow stronger. Successful athletes use recovery techniques that include rest days, proper sleep, and incorporating nutrition plans tailored to their needs.

How does nutrition affect a runner’s performance?

Nutrition plays a crucial role in a runner’s performance by providing the necessary energy and aiding in muscle repair. Eating balanced meals with adequate carbohydrates, proteins, and fats helps keep runners energized and healthy.

Do successful runners focus only on physical training?

No, they don’t just focus on physical aspects; successful runners also cultivate mental toughness. A strong mindset helps them push through challenging workouts and races while staying motivated.

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