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How to Become a Better Runner

From Beginner to Expert: 4 Ways to Become a Better Runner

Have you got the running bug? If you've recently committed to a running program, it may seem like there's not much prep involved, except downloading your favorite playlist. Running is a popular pastime because it doesn't require much know-how to start — just pick out your shoes and go. But that doesn't mean that there isn't technique. Whether you're starting out or never thought twice about your regular runs, read on for tips on how to become a better runner.

Learn the basics: The barriers to entry may be low, but that doesn't mean running isn't a skill. If you are a beginner runner, pay attention to how you run. Listen to your gait — you shouldn't be running unevenly or hitting the ground hard. Read more tips on analyzing your running style here. And remember that mid- or forefoot-striking is best (as opposed to heel striking) for helping prevent injuries.

Read more tips on proper running after the break.

Define your goals: Want to become a faster runner? Or want to be able to run longer without stopping? Once you know your goals, you can find and follow a plan to help get you there. Read our tips for running a faster mile or increasing your endurance. Or sign up for a race and get training!

Challenge yourself: What once seemed like a crazy amount of miles to run is just your normal weekday workout. But don't settle into a rut. Try a new interval routine, incorporate more hills into your route, or up your mileage in order to keep reaping the benefits of a challenging workout.

Don't forget to cross-train: You're toning your legs while you log miles, but you have to make sure that you aren't forgetting the rest of your body. Don't just stick to the treadmill when you go to the gym. It's important to incorporate strength training so you can prevent overuse injuries — strengthening your quads, for example, helps balance out your leg muscles to prevent runner's knee. Yoga and stretching helps runners as well; the practice keeps your muscles flexible and pain-free. Try our must-do yoga poses for runners.

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