1. Find a goal that really inspires you.
I’d urge you not to shy away from a goal just because it’s a reach. A lot of times, that’s the one that will motivate you the most.
2. Slow down.
My advice is to slow down by a minute, or even two, per mile from what you normally run. This will free your mind to focus on things other than “damn, this hurts,” and you might experience a little of that runner’s high you hear about.
3. Take 180 steps every minute (90 per leg).
As ultrarunning great Scott Jurek says of running form in Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Body, “If you focus on higher stride rate, much of the rest corrects itself.” I give people this “180 steps” tip so often that I’m beginning to feel like a one-trick pony. But it’s that important.
4. Run trails.
Real ones. In the woods, unpaved, with rocks, roots, streams, and mud.
5. For runs over 45 minutes or an hour, you need to take in some nutrition.
The body can only store enough for an hour and a half or so of running, and when it runs low, your brain shuts your body down to save what’s left so that it can continue to function.
6. Alternate hard workouts with easy ones.
People seem to grasp the idea that your muscles need time to recover after you lift weights. For some reason, they think that rule doesn’t apply to running.
7. Keep at it.
Run. Run some more. Run some more.