Looking for a few ways to make the most out of your running experience?  Follow my Top 10 Rules of the Road for a more enjoyable, less stressful run.

rules of the road for runners

1. Be Thankful
If you are fortunate enough to be able to run at your own discretion, be grateful for that gift.  Some people do not have that ability.  Embrace the gift, because it can be taken away in an instant.

2.Just Do It
The more you think about it, the less likely you are to actually do it.  Don’t think.  Just do.

3. Ditch the Jordan’s
Baggy short are to running what oil is to water – they just don’t mix!  So get rid of the high tops shoes and wife beaters and pick up some running-specific gear.  Not only will you actually look like a runner, but you will feel and perform like one too.

4. This Isn’t Gymnastics
We’re not on the pummel horse here, we’re on the pavement.  Nobody cares about your splits.  If somebody wants to know how fast your individual mile times are, they’ll ask.

5. Shut Up and Run
Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.  If you wait for perfect conditions, your muscles to stop aching, or your schedule to open up, you’re not going to get very far.  Embrace the wind.  Learn to love 20 degree runs.

6. Familiarity
Whether it’s a spoonful of butter, a bowl of oatmeal, or a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, put the same foods in your body prior to your run.  Do not eat anything your body is unaccustomed to.  Trust me; I’ve learned this the hard way.  Your stomach and digestive system will thank you around mile 10.

7. Pre-Game Ritual
Always.  Always.  Always.  Make a visit to the restroom before a long run.  Just as with Rule 6, your stomach will be happy you did this.

8. Mix It Up
Run alone.  Run with people.  Run on the treadmill.  Run on the road.  Run intervals.  Run distance.  Specificity is important when training for a race or a certain distance.  But variety will limit boredom and give you different workouts to look forward to.

9. We Are All Equal
Runners are as varied as any group of people in the world.  Some of us are sprinters while others prefer distance.  Some of us like to listen to the pounding of feet against the pavement and some like the pounding of music in our headphones.  As different as we may be, we are also equal because we are runners.

10. Enjoy it!
This is why I run.  I make it a personal goal to enjoy every run, whether it’s a struggle or not.  So, take a break every once in a while and remember why you run.  Find what you enjoy about it and keep that close to you.

As a holiday gift for you all, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite treadmill workouts.  I call this the High/Low Workout.  As the name indicates, you will alternate between high and low running speeds on the treadmill.  I usually set my intervals for 30 seconds at a high intensity followed by 30 seconds of low intensity running.  Each set usually lasts for 5-6 minutes, with a 1 minute walk in between sets.

To give you an idea of what the High/Low entails, here is what a typical workout looks like for me:

Set 1: 8.0 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 Minutes
Set 2: 8.5 MPH/6.0 MPH – 5 Minutes
Set 3: 9.0 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 Minutes
Set 4: 9.5 MPH/5.5 MPH – 5 Minutes
Set 5: 10.0 MPH/5.0 MPH – 5 Minutes

Do you have any of your own Rules of the Road?  Leave your favorite rule in the comment box below!

Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.