5 Expert Running Tips to Prevent Injury and Get Faster

Running strengthens your heart, protects your brain, and is one of the only types of exercise that science has shown can literally add years to your life.

The best part? When the sun is shining, you can just slip on your sneakers and go wherever the wind takes you—no fancy equipment or gym membership required.

Still, you’ll end up better off if you review a few expert running tips before lacing up, especially since running is a high-impact form of exercise that can be tough on your joints and lead to super tight muscles.

For help, we reached out to star Barry’s Bootcamp instructor Matt Nolan. Not only is Nolan a treadmill training pro, he’s also a certified running coach, marathon runner, and lifelong athlete.

Nolan’s expert running tips will help you prevent injury so you can keep running as you age and get faster as you go—whether you’re a total beginner or are hitting the pavement again after a long (likely winter?) break.

expert running tips

5 Expert Running Tips

1. Stretch!

Nolan says taking care of tight muscles is key, via ice, yoga (“Never at the same time, though!”), or simple, consistent stretching. “It can be five minutes,” he says, as long as you stop and make it happen, instead of immediately sitting back down at your desk. Barry’s is so big on stretching it recently began to roll out the “Barry’s Stretch Lounge” at select locations, where instructors will help exercisers prep their muscles for high-intensity sessions and recover.

RELATED: How to Stretch After a Workout

2. Don’t skip the warm-up.

“I would also suggest a dynamic warm-up routine every day, or at least before every run you go out on,” he says. Try this simple sequence: bodyweight squats, hip bridges for glutes and abs, alternate reverse lunges for hamstrings, quads, and groin, slow push-ups for chest and back, and then some concentrated, slow mountain climbers or bicycles to wake up the abdominals.

RELATED: The 5-Minute Workout You Can Do Anywhere

3. Focus on form.

“Form is key,” Nolan says. “I like to remind myself to stand tall, land softly on my feet, and to not overstride.” If you’re going to start logging serious miles, getting your gait analyzed by a coach or PT is a great idea.

4. Don’t forget to breathe.

Just like in yoga, maintaining control of your breathing is important while running. “If I start to fatigue, I focus on my breathing tempo. Inhaling as I take three to four steps and then matching the exhale to the same tempo works for me,” Nolan says.

RELATED: Should You Go Running on an Empty Stomach?

5. Invest in (really) good running shoes that are right for you.

You really can’t overestimate the importance of good running shoes. “Shoes are paramount,” he says. “Invest in your shoes, get sized, get analyzed, know if you pronate, get inserts if you need them. You will run hundreds of miles and take thousands of steps in these things, so research and test out lots of them to find a pair that you love!” Don’t forget to also ditch the old ones once you feel the cushioning in the soles wearing down.

Now, all you need is the perfect playlist. On to Spotify?

 

Travel Workouts: The Easiest Ways to Maintain Your Routine

Whether you’re getting ready for a road trip to visit family during the holidays, just snagged a new job that involves tons of business travel, or are planning your next vacation, fitting in travel workouts can be tough.

But figuring out how to stay active while jet-setting is not as hard as it seems. (It’s way easier than doing burpees for a minute straight, for example.)

Here are a few easy ways to sweat as often as possible while you’re on the go (just don’t forget to throw a few healthy snacks in your bag, either).

 

3 Travel Workouts You Can Do Almost Anywhere

 

1. Pack your running sneakers. Traveling involves a lot of stress, so don’t add to it by overcomplicating your workouts. Running is the simplest of exercises—all you need are your favorite kicks and any open road. Even if you’re more of a SoulCycle person, make an exception and hit the pavement. There are also a few great portable tools for resistance training on the road, like lightweight resistance bands you can toss in any bag or the TRX, which you can attach to a hotel room door or tree in a park to get in a full strength-training sequence.

2. Find a fast, free online workout. You’re going to be pressed for time, but good news: most recent research points to fast, intense workouts delivering the same benefits as longer sessions. YouTube is stocked with free workout videos that range in length from five to thirty minutes and don’t require any equipment at all. Or try this five-minute workout that happens to be one of our favorites.

3. Sign up for a digital membership (or try a new studio).  If you’re a boutique fitness junkie, many of the top brands now offer digital version of their workouts, so you can keep up your routine even when far from a studio. A few great options include Natalie Jill’s inspiring body-weight strength-training programs, Barre3 and Physique 57 for barre, AKT on Demand for dance and HIIT training, and My YogaWorks for yoga. Bonus idea: do a quick search for gyms and fitness studios in the city you’re headed to before you leave and book a few new classes to try before you even leave. Then you’ll be locked into sweat sessions before your trip even kicks off.