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?

 

The Workout Apparel Essentials Every Active Woman Needs

Leotards were 80s. Sweatpants were 90s. And we all know today’s workout apparel craze is athleisure. But it’s tricky picking fashionable fitness clothes that also look great outside of the gym.

To start building a workout wardrobe worthy of that task, you’ve got to stock up on essentials. (Think LBD or classic white Tee.)

Get inspired by these picks for the three essential items every active woman needs.

Workout Apparel Essentials

workout apparel essentials

A Really Great Basic Black Legging

First up (and arguably the most important): a pair of versatile, sweat-wicking leggings that work for classes from HIIT to yoga and also look great before and after, for days when changing just isn’t an option. This Power Legging ($100) is exactly that “do-all-things” legging. Think of it as the LBD of your workout wardrobe.

RELATED: Why Self-Discipline is a Muscle You Should Start Flexing

workout apparel essentials

A Comfy, Multi-Tasking Sports Bra

Sure, higher-impact workouts will require more support and occasionally you’ll want to want to break out that crazy, strappy number that looks amazing under a low-back tank. But you need a go-to you can always grab. Sweaty Betty’s Infinity Workout Bra ($65) provides medium support, great shape, and has just enough strappiness in the back for a little style bonus.

RELATED: How to Get Abs Without Doing a Million Crunches

workout apparel essentials

The Perfect Cover-Up

When running from gym to the next thing, you need something you can throw on over your sweaty garb that doesn’t look totally frumpy. The Escape Sweater ($160) is slightly oversized but sleek. It’s a Sweaty Betty favorite for a reason.