101 Tips for Your Best Run Ever

66. Tie the knot
“I double-knot my shoe laces. It’s a pain untying your shoes afterward—particularly if you get them wet—but so is stopping in the middle of a race to tie them.” —Hal Higdon

67. Observe certain rituals
“Once you find a warmup routine that works, repeat it as habitually as possible.”—Ted Corbitt

68. Warm up, don’t wear down
“At most, jog easily for 15 minutes before a race. Then stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and lower back. With about 15 minutes to go, maybe do a few strides. But no more—you’ll warm up plenty in the early going.” —Mark Plaatjes, 1993 World Championships marathon winner

69. Wear the right pair
“Feather-light racing flats might help you run a faster 5-K, but lightweight performance trainers (with better protection and cushioning) are a better choice for most runners, especially in longer races.” —Bob Wischnia and Paul Carrozza, Runner’s World shoe experts

70. Finish it off
“To develop your kick, finish each repetition faster than you begin it. For example, if you’re running 6 x 400 meters on the track, start off at a steady, controlled pace, then subtly shift gears in the last 100 or 200 meters.” —Robert Vaughan, Ph.D., coach and exercise physiologist

71. Stay on pace
“It’s better to run too slow at the start than too fast and get into oxygen debt, which is what 99.9 percent of runners do. You have to learn pace.” —Bill Bowerman, renowned University of Oregon coach

72. Don’t dodge the draft
“Slip in behind someone running a similar pace and, yes, draft. It’s not illegal. It’s not even poor form. On the contrary, it’s just plain smart.” —Priscilla Welch, former British Olympian and 1987 New York City Marathon champ

73. Snap out of it
“Occasionally pick up speed—for 2 minutes, tops—then settle back into your former pace. Sometimes this is all you need to snap out of a mental and physical funk. Pick a downhill stretch if you can, and really lengthen your stride.” —Mark Plaatjes

Marathoning (Training & Racing)

74. Go minimalist
“Marathon training doesn’t have to be a grind. By running for about 30 minutes two times a week, and by gradually increasing the length of a third weekly run—the long run—anyone can finish a marathon.” —Jeff Galloway

75. Step back a bit
“Build up your mileage in gradual increments, but every third or fourth week, drop back in mileage to recover. This will help you avoid your breaking point.” —Lee Fidler, coach and two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon qualifier

76. Don’t push it . . .
“In marathon training, 3 hours slow is better than 2 hours fast.” —Pete Gavuzzi, coach of four-time Boston Marathon champ Gerard Cote

77. . . . And enough is enough
“Never run more than 3 hours straight in training, whether your marathon best is 2:42 or 4:24.” —Ed Eyestone

78. Be vigilant
“During the hard training phase, never be afraid to take a day off. If your legs are feeling unduly stiff and sore, rest. If you’re at all sluggish, rest. Whenever you’re in doubt, rest.” —Bruce Fordyce, nine-time Comrades Marathon champion from South Africa.

79. Pamper your muscles
“When I’m training for a marathon, I soak in a hot tub every day, and get a weekly massage.” —Anne Marie Lauck, two-time Olympian

80. Try winning combinations
“I include iron with vitamin C in my diet to prevent anemia. Without it, I wouldn’t have the energy I need to train.” —Joy Smith, 2:34 marathoner

81. Know when it’s show time
“Just remember this: Nobody ever won the olive wreath with an impressive training diary.” —Marty Liquori

82. Taper on time
“The key step between a great training program and a great race is a great taper. Your last long training run before a marathon should come 3 weeks before the race—not 2.” —Pete Pfitzinger, two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner

83. Wait for the weights
“If you strength train, shelve your routine about a month before your marathon, to help you feel fresh on the big day.” —Steve Spence, 1991 World Championships Marathon bronze medallist

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