A wide shot of a group of Macmillan runners at Run Regents Park 2017

Practical running tips and information

We've worked in partnership with training experts Running with Us to get you in tip top shape for your run.

Top 10 training tips

Number 1
Commit to a plan
Number 2
Have a routine
Number 3
Train to time
Number 4
Get the kit
Number 5
Don't just run
Number 6
Adapt to succeed
Number 7
Set targets
Number 8
Find your strength
Number 9
Fuel and recover
Number 10
Keep it social

The training triangle

llustration of a triangle. A 'T' sits on the top point, an 'R' on the bottom left point, and an 'N; on the bottom right point.

Training and developing your fitness can seem complicated because lots of different information is available. The key is the training triangle.

Most of us think the running training sessions are the only thing we need to do to become stronger, fitter or faster. In reality you won’t make gains until the other two sides of the triangle, rest and nutrition, are considered.

As you increase your training, keep the triangle in balance by improving your nutrition and ensuring you listen to your body and respect its need to rest in order to improve.

Training

Your running, conditioning and cross training is designed to progressively overload your muscles. When they recover from that overload they will get stronger. Our training plans include a mix of different effort levels to progressively build endurance.

Rest

Your body improves and progresses during rest phases, rest days and as you sleep.

Nutrition

Fuel your training and recovery correctly to ensure you have the right nutrients to have the energy to train hard and allow your body to heal and keep your bloods, bones and immune system healthy.

What running trainers should I buy?

Before you begin your running journey you should make sure you have the right trainers.

Why are the correct trainers important?

A pair of trainers that are correctly fitted and sized for you is a sensible investment. Wearing the correct running trainers that are suited to your feet and running gait will play a huge role in preventing injury.

Discover your running gait

Your running gait is simply the way in which your foot strikes the floor as it lands and then pushes off into the next stride. Depending upon the type of foot strike you have, your trainers can aid in making each step as efficient and safe as possible.

Find out which foot strike you have by doing the wet foot test.

The wet foot test

Step in some water and then stand on a dry floor or piece of paper. This simple test works on the basis that it roughly translates into the amount of stability you will need from your trainers. It will give you an indication of the type of foot strike you have and will equip you with some basic knowledge to help show you what features to look for in your running shoe.

An illustration of a footprint. A slight curve in the footprint showing a normal arch.
The neutral runner
An illustration of a flat foot footprint. The whole shape of the foot being printed on the floor, with no visible arch.
The over pronator
An illustration of a high-arch footprint. A very narrow section or no section at all between the forefoot and the heel.
The supinator

Perfect your running posture

Having a good posture throughout your whole run will make you more efficient, minimise the risk of injury and help you to breath more easily.

  • Carry out the perfect posture check
  • Think about the position of your body while you run
  • Try to be upright and tall
  • Feel as though you're leaning forward into every stride
  • Practice perfect posture in every day situations to make sure your muscles don't tighten up.

The perfect posture check

Do the following exercises to help support good running posture.

Body position

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Imagine there is a piece of string pulling you through the centre, right through the top of your head and towards the sky. This will create your ‘running tall’ posture.
  • This is a feeling of your upper body being lifted up and out of your hips.
  • Your shoulders may have risen, so relax them by rolling them back and downwards making sure there is no tension through the shoulders and neck.
  • Without lifting your heels, lean forwards ever so slightly. Your whole body should lean from the ankles, not just the top half. This is a very small movement but should give you a slight feeling of falling forwards. You certainly shouldn’t be leaning so far forwards that you look like you are about to fall over!

Arm position

  • It is important to remember that your leg speed is determined by your arm speed.
  • In your perfect posture check position, begin to swing your arms as if you are running.
  • Drive the hands forwards and the elbows backwards with your thumb lightly resting on your forefinger.
  • Imagine you are wearing a running jacket with a zip down the middle, your hands should not be crossing the line of that zip. This will limit lateral (side to side) movement. Running is a linear (straight forwards) sport so we want all of our energy going forwards towards that finish line!
  • At this point, while you drive your arms (remember that slight forward lean) you should feel as though your legs want to start running.
  • Congratulations — you've found your perfect running posture.

More useful information

Now you've got the basics sorted you can check out how to stretch, strengthen and fuel for your run with more top advice from our training partner Running with Us, and find the perfect running training plan for you.