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5 Ways to Optimize Your Running Routine

A group of people running down a brick path beside the ocean.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Whether you’re an established runner or just getting started, there are ways you can optimize your routine. These small tweaks can boost your progress and help you reach your goals.

Breathing

Although it’s something we do all the time (and wouldn’t last long if we stopped), breathing is one of those things people simply don’t pay attention to. We tend to hold our breath or take really shallow inhales and exhales, completely stripping ourselves of the benefits fresh oxygen brings to the table.

When our breathing is on point, we’re able to recover better during our run and, in turn, run longer, faster, and more efficiently. There are multiple breathing techniques you can try during your sessions. Take your time, go through each one, and find one that suits your running style and flow.

As you practice and your training advances, you’ll notice how different techniques pair with different exercises. It also depends on the length of your run and energy reserves, as well as the altitude and time of the year.

Once you learn to pay attention to your breath, your entire running routine will undoubtedly change.

Foam Rolling

The only way to improve any of your fitness goals is to ensure you properly recover, so you’re able to get back into your training as soon as possible, without the risk of injury. Foam rolling is extremely important, as it breaks down lactic acid and improves your muscles’ ability to grow and recover. It also relieves the tension of the fascia, and stimulates the release of harmful compounds to help your body detox.

Running is very taxing on your lower body. It can easily cause soreness or tightness which can create all sorts of problems and, if not treated properly, can even lead to injuries.

Good warmups and stretching routines can prevent these problems, but foam rolling takes it a step further. It gets deeper into the fascia and releases the pressure from the main trigger points.

Best Vibrating Roller

TriggerPoint GRID VIBE PLUS Four-Speed Vibrating Foam Roller

It's all the benefits of foam rolling plus deep tissue vibration.

Whether you choose a smooth, bumpy, or even a vibrating model, a high-quality foam roller is something every serious runner should have. Start implementing it after your runs (or even before in cold weather). Your muscles will thank you!

Mindful Training

A man and woman running across a city bridge.
Dragan Grkic/Shutterstock

Are you really present throughout your entire run, or does your mind wander? Do you completely forget about your form, breath, or the fact that you’re running at all?

Practicing mindfulness during every second of your run can optimize your technique. It also makes you pay attention to your strides and pacing, which helps you run smarter, better, and faster with less fatigue.

When you go out for your next run, start with a determination to stay focused and present for as long as you can. When you notice your mind wandering, bring it back into the zone. Turn your attention to your breath and the sound of your feet rhythmically bouncing off the ground.

Scan your body and asses how every part of it feels. Are your legs sore or tired? Are your shoulders caving in? How do your hips feel?

Acknowledge the state you’re in and modify your run accordingly. Allow your body to dictate your flow. Stay connected to your breath and pay attention to any changes, tension, pain, pulling sensations, tightness, or even relief, after your body has warmed up.

Mindfulness is a technique we all need to learn because it can help in so many areas. It can help you set the tone for the day ahead, prevent burnout during long working hours, or improve your sleep. When you incorporate it into your workout routine, you’ll learn how to optimize it and reap the benefits.

The Right Running Gear

Every serious runner will tell you to invest in your shoes. It doesn’t matter if you run five miles every day or just Sunday mornings on your way to the farmer’s market, what you wear on your feet counts.

The right type of shoe depends on your running style, your build, and the shape of your feet. So, rather than spending a small fortune on the wrong shoes, head to your local athletic store and let a professional help you out. Most stores that specialize in running gear offer free tests, so this is a no-brainer. The right shoes are a gamechanger. They’ll provide extra support, protect your ankles, stabilize your feet, reduce impact, and affect traction.

Your running clothes and accessories might not be as important, but they’re definitely worth paying more attention to. If you live in a rainy area, invest in waterproof jackets, leggings, and socks.

If you usually run in warm, sunny conditions, you’ll want a good running hat, sweatbands, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The less you have to worry about while running, the better.

Fuel with Superfoods

Nourishing your body with foods that boost your energy and aid in recovery will improve your performance and help you reach your fitness goals.

Pay attention to your macros and include plenty of complex carbs, like wild rice, sweet potato, quinoa, beans, and legumes, to fuel your run. Healthy fats, like avocados, cacao, coconut oil, nuts and nut butters, and seeds help absorb vitamins and minerals. Finally, an adequate amount of protein from fish, lean meats, eggs, or plants will feed your muscles and help them recover.

While macros are important, you should put an even bigger emphasis on micronutrients. You can do this via supplements or including certain superfoods in your meals. These include rhodiola, ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, spirulina, chlorella, omega complex, vitamin D, and more.

To find the right dose of vitamins and minerals to optimize your training sessions, schedule a consultation with a nutritionist or health coach.


If you love running, there are a lot of tips and tricks that can help you attain your goals. These suggestions can help you improve your technique, minimize the risk of injury, and increase your speed and distance.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »

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