Running is supposed to be so damn simple. For millennia, it was evolutionary—run to eat or to not be eaten. But then we invented agriculture and cars and moving walkways and eliminated everything that made running a necessary part of living. So some of us figured out it was just fun—satisfying not because we needed to get somewhere or avoid something, but because it felt good to just move.
Which is how the first boom happened in the 1960s and 70s. Then things got complicated. There was money to be made and scientific studies to be conducted and finishers medals to earn and athleisure clothes to design. Running shoes were reported to prevent injuries and then they caused them and then they prevented them again. Running was supposed to kill you, ruin your knees, or worse—make you wear neon.
Then smart phones arrived, then the smart watch and smart shoes and smart socks, and now, it is feasible to have everything you wear while you train shout at you with enough numbers and tips and badges that you sometimes have no idea what the hell to do anymore.
Take a deep breath. Running is still extremely simple.
With more than 40 combined running years between them, hundreds of shoes tested, and thousands of miles completed, the Men’s Journal editors compiled 20 rules that will make you faster, healthier, and less-injury prone.
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The easiest way to become a better runner is to run more. Cross training is a great way to boost general health and maintain fitness when you are injured, but if you want to get faster, the lion’s share of the work is done on the roads.
Credit: Erik Isakson
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Follow the 10 Percent Rule
Injuries are an inevitable part of running. Run long enough, it’s going to hurt. But the single biggest reason we’ve seen runners sidelined is because they take on too much, too soon. Often, this comes because they registered for a marathon and started running far more miles than their bodies were prepared for. The easiest way to prevent this: never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent from one week to the next.
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