1. The Specificity Rule
The most effective training mimics the event for which you’re training.
This is the cardinal rule of training for any activity. If you want to run a 10-K at seven-minute-per-mile pace, you need to do some running at that pace.
2. The 10-Percent Rule
Increase weekly training mileage by no more than 10 percent per week.
3. The 2-Hour Rule
Wait for about two hours after a meal before running.
“For most people, two hours is enough time for food to empty from the stomach, especially if it’s high in carbohydrate,” says Colorado sports dietitian and marathoner Cindy Dallow, Ph.D. “If you don’t wait long enough, food will not be properly digested, raising the risk of abdominal cramps, bloating, and even vomiting.
4. The 10-Minute Rule
Start every run with 10 minutes of walking and slow running, and do the same to cool down.
“A warmup prepares your body for exercise by gradually increasing blood flow and raising core muscle temperature,” says Jerry Napp, a Tampa Bay running coach. “The cooldown may be even more important. Stopping abruptly can cause leg cramps, nausea, dizziness, or fainting.”
5. The 2-Day Rule
If something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off.
Two straight days of pain may signal the beginning of an injury. “Even taking five days of complete rest from running will have little impact on your fitness level,” says Troy Smurawa, M.D., team physician for USA Triathlon.
The Exception: If something hurts for two weeks, even if you’ve taken your rest days, see a doctor.
6. The Familiar-Food Rule
Don’t eat or drink anything new before or during a race or hard workout.
7. The Race-Recovery Rule
For each mile that you race, allow one day of recovery before returning to hard training or racing.
8. The Heads-Beats-Tails Rule
A headwind always slows you down more than a tailwind speeds you up.
9. The Conversation Rule
You should be able to talk in complete sentences while running.
10. The 20-Mile Rule
Build up to and run at least one 20-miler before a marathon.
11. The Carbs Rule
For a few days before a long race, emphasize carbohydrates in your diet.
12. The Seven-Year Rule
Runners improve for about seven years.