10 Ways to Be a Better Runner (Without Logging Miles)

If you want to be a better runner, the answer is simple, right? After all, the more you run, the easier it'll become. But what you do off the course can really affect your time and distance as well. Whether you're trying to improve your running stats or you just want to be able to run two miles without stopping, here are 10 ways to be a better runner that have nothing to do with the miles you log.

POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart
  1. Foam roll: If you're running a lot, you'll really feel those tight muscles. Loosen them up to help prevent injuries with these self-massage techniques you can do with a foam roller.
  2. Fuel up: Before and after a run, think carbs and protein. Carbs help fuel your muscles, while protein builds them up. These pre-workout snacks are the perfect combination of what you need for a good run.
  3. Cooldown: Your run isn't over until you've spent a few minutes on cooldown stretches. These help relieve muscle tightness and soreness, so you can bounce back and be ready for your next run. Try these postrun stretches after your next jogging session, and see how you feel.
  4. Do yoga: Regular running leads to tight joints and muscles — regular yoga helps undo it. These must-do yoga poses for runners will open up tight hips, relieve lower back pain, and unhitch those shoulders.
  5. Stretch for speed: Certain stretches can help you become a faster runner. Try incorporating these stretches for speed into your regular postrunning routine; they'll help you improve flexibility and strength over time.
  6. Hydrate: Chances are, you're not drinking enough water, which is especially important if you're running a lot. Beat fatigue and muscle cramps by hydrating well every day.
  7. Energize: Need a little boost? Drink coffee about an hour before your workout — it'll improve your endurance. You can also try beet juice, which studies show may improve oxygen flow in your body.
  8. Strength-train: If you want to become a better runner, you need to cross train. Complement your running routine with workouts that strengthen muscles like your core, upper body, and quads.
  9. Sleep: Your body needs to recharge if you want to have enough energy for a good run, so make sure you get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you're not meeting that number, your nighttime habits probably need a revamp. Here are 20 ways to get better sleep tonight.
  10. Prehab: You'll want to make sure that you're doing everything you can to prevent injuries that can sideline your running hobby. While strengthening muscles, stretching after a workout, and foam rolling will all help prevent injuries, specific prehab techniques are essential for areas where you are injury-prone. Try one of these: