Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

  • The 10 Percent Rule: Increase your cumulative mileage no more than 10 percent a week. In the beginning, once you get in a running groove, you might want to go headfirst into crazy miles. DON’T! Abide by the 10 Percent Rule. Slow and steady increases will keep you progressing and injury free.

  • Don’t stress about the miles: I recommend starting out clocking your runs by minutes, not miles. Begin at fifteen minutes, twenty, twenty-five, and build from there. Once you’re comfortable running for thirty to forty minutes, then you can start tracking miles, either using a smartphone app (such as Nike+ Running),, or any GPS-enabled device. Run on feeling, not on numbers.

  • The talk test: A lot of runners go out of the gate too quickly, get winded, frustrated, and swear off running. Slow. It. Down. The next time you go out, try the “talk test.” If you can sing a verse from your favorite song or have a conversation without panting, then you’re at the right pace. You’ve got to learn to jog before you sprint, ya feel me?

  • Running economy will make you faster. However, even some of the most famous runners in the world didn’t have perfect form. Long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe famously runs with an awkward gait and she’s the fastest female marathoner to date. That said, there are mistakes that might cause injury and definitely don’t contribute to efficiency. I’m culpable of all of them at some point or another. Here they are: •     Crossing your midline with your arm swing, or the center of your chest where your sternum is, wastes energy. Keep the angle of your elbows at 90 degrees with your hands in front of you, maintaining that same position in the backswing when your elbows graze your rib cage. I recommend sitting in front of a mirror to practice. •     Hunched shoulders and bad posture happen when we are tired and/or have minimal core strength. Focus on fixing both with core work and a head-to-toe body scan during training runs—raise your shoulders to your ears a few times during the run and intentionally relax them down. The forward lean that occurs during sprinting and propels forward momentum starts from the ankles, not from an awkwardly slouched torso, ya dig? •     Clenching your fists stunts your stride. Pretend you are holding a potato chip in each palm and keep the pressure light enough that you wouldn’t crush it. •     Overstriding happens when you aim to go faster or farther by taking a longer stride. This results in hitting the ground harder, usually on your heel, and no increase in speed. To avoid this, focus on swinging your arms faster and increasing your turnover (the rate with which each foot hits the ground). Your legs should do what your arms do, meaning you are one body of motion and a stunted arm swing will make for an awkward gait, and vice versa. Ideally, your foot should make contact with the ground while underneath your body. Olympian Jack Daniels dubbed 180 steps per minute as the ideal running cadence and that’s pretty much the standard. •     Heel striking gets a bad rap because your foot hits the ground twice, once at the heel and again at the forefoot, instead of just in the mid- or forefoot. I get it. But some people are just heel strikers. I don’t think I’ve ever run a marathon without resorting to heel striking when my legs are tired. There are always ways to tweak your form for safety and efficiency. A mid- or forefoot strike might reduce impact and increase efficiency, but I don’t think there’s anything inherently dangerous about heel striking. Think about how your body is moving as a whole. If something feels off, then it’s probably worth adjusting. •     Running too slowly will negatively affect your form. A great way to build the muscle memory of what it feels like to have good form is to sprint on the track. Focus on your arm swing, your turnover, cadence (your rhythm), controlled breath, engaged abdominals, relaxed shoulders, and a forward lean, where your body is in a front-facing motion starting from the ankles to the top of the head. I find these come together most frequently for folks when they are sprinting. Ultimately, if you’ve been running for a while and haven’t had any injuries then you’re probably running just fine. There’s no sense in making your form worse by changing it just because of the latest study on arm swing, stance time, and all the other technical bullshit.

  • IF YOU’RE COMING OFF A RACE, especially any race lasting longer than 90 minutes, try these nine tips to heal faster and get back out there.

1.    Rest. Once you get in a running groove, you might want to do it every day, all the time. If that sounds crazy, trust me, you might get there. I did. Rest is actually much harder for me to accomplish than a tough workout. At least one day a workout cycle should be devoted to rest, especially if you have a race coming up or just finished one. Common advice is once a week, but I know plenty of ultramarathon runners who rest on a ten-day or two-week or even a month-long cycle. 2.    Listen to your body and err on the side of resting if you’re not sure. Overtraining leads to injury. Injuries are not cute. 3.    Ice everything, especially if it hurts, but even if it doesn’t hurt. If I had to choose between icing and stretching, ice would win. The ice packs that are used for food deliveries like Blue Apron are awesome to use for ice baths. After a race, I ice my knees, quads, and my feet. Twenty minutes on, 20 minutes off, repeat. 4.    Arnica gel is great for pain relief. Massage it on your calves and sole arches. 5.    Move. It’s counterintuitive, but unless you’re injured you should at least walk the day after a race. Don’t get turned up with miles for at least two weeks, though. 6.    Fuel with anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, cherries, beets, dark leafy greens, and foods rich in omega-3 like walnuts. Foods high in artificial sugar and saturated fat can increase inflammation. 7.    Elevate your feet. Sit in an L shape with your back on the floor or couch, and your feet above you against a wall. It really helps prevent swelling. 8.    Spin. I’ve coached indoor cycling within a day or two of racing and I swear the cross-training, low-impact movement, and endorphins of spinning help with recovery. 9.    Sleep. Like. A. Mofo. Nothing beats the human growth hormone that releases while you sleep to help repair muscle tissue.

  • MY FIVE RACE DAY TAPER TIPS 1.    Nothing new on race day. This includes food, gear, and your race T-shirt. Start thinking about what you’ve used to fuel during training runs. You’ll want to eat the same foods that have worked already. No need to test out a new Gu Energy Gel or PowerBar on race morning and risk an upset stomach. The testing phase should happen long before race day. 2.    Now is not the time to try yoga, barre, Pilates, or any other workout for the first time. If you’re a regular yogi and you know a yoga session will keep you limber, not sore or injured, go for it. But nothing new. 3.    Trust the training. Nerves are normal, but as race day approaches and doubts slip through the cracks, remember that no single workout from now until race day will make or break your race. 4.    Listen to your body. Your eating habits may have changed with the increased demands of training. As your mileage decreases until race day (about 20 percent of mileage a week), remember to eat when you are hungry, not just because you’ve made a habit of meals before or after training runs. Ten-milers don’t require the same fuel as four-milers. 5.    Not running can feel like torture. Your brain goes wild thinking about what you should or shouldn’t have done in terms of training. Use this extra time to catch up with loved ones, watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see, or read that book. Savor it!

  • DEALING WITH POSTRACE BLUES POSTRACE BLUES ARE A TRUE OCCURRENCE. You’ve built up the race for months, driven your family and friends crazy with this preoccupation, and whether it was a wonderful race or a tough one, it’s common to feel “meh” in the days that follow after you cross the finish line. Not only has your body been tested, but your emotions, serotonin, and endorphins have surged. Of course your body’s going to be like, “What the F?!” after it. The important thing is learning how to deal with the postrace blues. •     It’s okay if you have no desire to run. As your body recovers, now is a great time to ease into the cross-training that you neglected while preparing for the race. Maybe look into a new sport such as swimming or cycling. •     Sign up for another race of a different distance. If you raced a 5K, consider a mud run or an adventure race series like Spartan. If you conquered a marathon, try a local 10K for speed or an ultra for distance. This will force you to shift gears and get out of the pace and training mode for the race you just finished. •     Visualization that works for race day works now, too. See yourself getting out the door for a chill 30-minute run. See yourself lacing up. Tell yourself you’re only going for 10 minutes; once you get started you’ll likely do a longer run. Track your first recovery run in minutes, not miles. No watch. Even if you don’t feel sore, your body has been through a lot. •     The buddy system matters now more than ever. If you’ve never run with a group or a friend, start now. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get those negative vibes out of your system with someone who likely empathizes. Check out or local running stores for group run options. •     Write it out! If you simply can’t muster energy to get off the couch, write down how you feel. No joke, it’s cathartic. If you’re concerned that your postrace blues are serious, don’t hesitate to see a medical professional. Better safe than sorry!

  • HOW TO RELAX THE BODY WHILE RUNNING 1.    Cadence breathing: When you inhale for two steps and exhale for one. If this feels too labored, start with a 5-count (inhale for 3 and exhale for 2). While you’re focusing on breath work, it’s best to leave the headphones at home. Tuning in to your breath is one of the best things you can do to understand your body’s natural cadence and, eventually, your race pace. 2.    Refocus: When you’re running, do a head-to-toe body check. Relax your face and your shoulders. Are you clenching your hands? Your core? How’s your form? Visualize strings pulling your legs up. Knees up. Light landing. 3.    Arm shake: Every five minutes, completely loosen the shoulders, straighten the arms, and allow both arms to hang and wobble at your sides for 30 seconds as you run monkey-style. 4.    Tongue-press: After the arm shake, press your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth and hold it there for 8–10 seconds. Then allow it to relax, and as you do so, feel the tension release from your jaw and neck muscles. Focus on maintaining this relaxed jaw until your next tongue-press. 5.    Horizon-glance: Pick a distant spot on the horizon and gaze at it for eight-ten seconds. This will encourage forward momentum and prevent too much time looking down at your feet or the road.

  • IF YOU ATE PROPERLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY, you don’t need to specifically fuel for a short run. If you must eat something before your sunrise session, I recommend the Rule of Half—half a banana, half a piece of toast with nut butter, half a protein bar. The Rule of Half is my standard for eating anything when it’s less than 60 minutes before a run. Take in 200 calories and you should be good! MY FAVORITE PRE-RUN SNACKS: •     Half an apple with almond butter •     A spoonful of peanut butter •     Half an avocado on rice toast •     Half a banana •     Half a pita or English muffin with cashew cheese (nondairy) •     Half a cup of coconut yogurt (or regular if you eat dairy) with berries, flax, and cinnamon

  • Hydration is the biggest thing people skimp on in the morning. You’ve been asleep for a number of hours without water. Dehydration makes you sluggish and cranky. I suggest a glass of hot water with lemon to start the day. Sip, don’t chug. Chugging water and then running might lead to uncomfortable bloating. If you’re a coffee person, imbibe at least 30 minutes before your run. If you must eat something before your sunrise session, go with food that isn’t greasy or loaded with fiber. Again, the Rule of Half is a good measure of how much food you need, and, of course, eat after your run! Within 30 minutes of your run, get in some carbs and protein.

  • RUNNING BOOKS I LOVE •  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall •  Eat & Run by Scott Jurek •  Finding Ultra by Rich Roll •  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami •  Kings of the Road by Cameron Stracher INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS •  The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle •  A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson •  The Fear Project by Jaimal Yogis •  Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko MY FAVORITE TRAINING BIBLES •  Marathon by Hal Higdon •  Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi •  Jogging by William Bowerman •  Hansons Marathon Method by Luke Humphrey GREATEST RUNNING MOVIES EVER •  Unbroken (2014) •  Transcend (2014) •  Run for Your Life (2008) •  Unbreakable: The Western States 100 (2012) •  Running the Sahara (2007) •  Prefontaine (1997) •  Spirit of the Marathon (2007) •  Fire on the Track (1995)