10 Smart running hacks to get the most out of running
Looking to get the most out of your running? From prepping your post-run meal to making use of those end of season sales, here’s ten of the best running hacks.
We’ve all heard of life hacks, however, have you heard of running hacks? Simply put, running hacks are little tips and tricks we can implement into our running and our training.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could make running that little bit more enjoyable? A little bit easier? Or perhaps stomp the pavement with more joy in our stride? Luckily for you, we have ten smart running hacks to accomplish all of these!
In fact, you’d be surprised how many simple, yet smart running hacks are out there. We’ve gathered together our top ten to make your life that little easier… so sit back, enjoy, and throw in a running hack or two into your training!
1. Prepare your post-run meal beforehand
While we may pay more attention to our pre-run/workout meal, we must also pay great attention to our post-run/workout meal. It is recommended to consume a meal or some form of protein such as protein shake or protein squares within 30-minutes of finishing a high-intensity run or workout.
Therefore, instead of stumbling around the kitchen in an exhausted mess in an effort to make a nutritious meal, we suggest preparing a high-quality meal beforehand. Examples of meals include:
- Chicken pasta and veg
- Chicken and sweet potato
- Turkey salad sandwich on wholemeal bread
- Chocolate milk
Alternatively, If you’re looking for a quick fix of protein and mix of electrolytes directly after a high-intensity run or workout, you can also opt for a protein shake as mentioned previously.
2. Make use of those end of season sales
If you’re looking for some cheap, high-quality running gear, look no further than the end of season sales. In winter invest in some warm weather running clothes such as short-sleeved t-shirts and shorts, and in summer purchase a waterproof running jacket and a couple pairs of tights. You’ll save a ton of money and have even more kit – yes, that means less washing!
3. Sleep in your running clothes
Are you a morning runner? Or do you want to become one? If you struggle waking up and heading out the door, consider sleeping in your running clothes at night. Yes, we know it sounds silly, but the second you wake up there’s no messing around, it’s up, out the door, and hitting the pavement for those morning miles – starting the day right, and already dressed.
4. No time to read? Want to learn more?
If you constantly find yourself with no time on your hands, or even if you’d like to learn more but never get around to it consider swapping your usual tunes for an audiobook. These days you can pretty much listen to anything, from autobiographies to Harry Potter, there’s something for everyone.
This is especially great for those who wish to learn more yet don’t have the time. You’re able to get in your run/workout, listen to a book, all while returning home both fitter and smarter!
5. Create your own hydration station
Heading out for a long run but don’t want to carry a water bottle? Try hiding a bottle or two in the bushes, just like your teenage years, just don’t’ reach for the wrong one and try to hydrate with a gin and tonic…
If you feel too sketchy to be hiding bottles, you could keep one in your car and run a loop that passes or alternatively run around a field (useful for intervals) or even get a good friend to follow you on a bike, keeping you hydrated at all times.
6. An easy way to track the miles you’ve put in your running shoes
We’ve all heard the rule of replacing our running trainers every 300-500 miles. However, how do we know once we’ve reached this point? We recommend using an app such as Strava, a GPS fitness tracker which also allows you to add gear such as running trainers.
Simply add a pair of trainers to the app and watch as each and every run you accumulate those hard-earned miles. Now, there’s no second-guessing whether your shoes have seen better days, even if you think not.
7. Did somebody say elastic shoelaces? Anybody?
You heard us right! If you haven’t tried elastic running shoelaces yet you’re missing out, especially if you take part in triathlon.
There’s nothing worse than your lace coming undone during a run, especially in a race. Now, we can prevent that from happing altogether. Investing in a pair of elastic running shoe laces allows for a quick pull-cord to tighten the lace with a one-time set-up.
8. Freeze your water bottles during summer
Is there anything better on a hot summer’s day than an ice-cold bottle of water? Especially after a run? Freeze your bottles overnight and take them out before your run, you’ll have a nice cold drink waiting for you once you finish – more motivation to crush those early miles.
9. Wet weather? Place your phone in a zip lock bag
While it might look a little odd, placing your phone in a zip log bag while it’s raining out is a great way to protect your phone without compromising on those tunes. You might want to set your device to shuffle first, or else you won’t be able to skip songs without getting your phone wet.
Related: 10 Tips for running in the rain.
10. Stop static stretching before your run!
Static stretching before your run shortens the muscles while increasing our risk of pulling a muscle. Instead, we recommend undergoing a few dynamic stretches such as walking lunges, leg swings, and hip circles.
Instead, after your run is the time to perform those static stretches. This will increase flexibility while easing our muscles out of the hard session we’ve just put in – essential to preventing injury.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.