Running may be praised as one of the fastest tracks towards a healthier lifestyle, but many also find themselves frustrated at how gradual their progress seems to improve. Thankfully, the differences between a good runner and a great one are often very minor and can be rectified by tiny alterations to the diet, technique, and attitude. With that in mind, look over the following 10 simple tricks to go that extra mile.

1. Eat More Carbs

When people start to run for reasons of weight loss, they often do so in conjunction with carb restrictions. This may not be the most beneficial approach, as your muscles require these fuels to function properly. The key is to eat the right type of carbs (otherwise known as the complex carbs) for a slower conversion of energy. Good sources of these carbohydrates include oatmeal, potatoes, whole wheat foods, and brown rice.

2. Eat Carbs Strategically

Following on from the previous point, you shouldn’t load up on carbs unless you are actively running. For the best results, consume your carb-heavy meals directly after an intense workout so that your body will burn them quickly during your muscles’ recovery process.

3. Replace Your Shoes

Experts agree you should replace your footwear every 300 – 500 miles in order to avoid feet or joint injuries. When seeking out the best shoe, research exactly what you are looking for and then get them fitted by a professional. For additional safety precautions, purchase a few pairs and rotate them, throwing each one out at the first signs of worn treads or pain.

4. Increase Your Vitamin D Intake

The sunshine vitamin is imperative for good bone health and a strong immune system. If you are vitamin D deficient, you have a greater chance of stress fractures and a lengthier rehabilitation period ahead. If there’s no sun out, fill your plate with fish, egg yolks, and fortified cereals, or simplify your life with some supplements.

5. Eat at Home

The easiest way to take control of your diet is to cook everything yourself, learning how to read labels, avoiding excess sodium and sugar, and keeping track of those calorie numbers. It may seem like a tiresome effort, but if you cook a big batch for leftovers, it can ultimately save you time and money.

6. Cross-Train

The running body needs to function as a unit, which is why you must focus on all of your fitness areas equally. Your core is a good place to start as this will stabilize your center and keep your frame balanced. These endeavors don’t have to be a big deal either, as you can simply trade one weekly run with a home session of lifting weights or practicing yoga, teaching all of your muscle groups to get along.

7. Use Apps

Apps are the perfect tools to keep a record of your achievements while building some healthy competition against yourself. And with so many options to choose from, you are certain to find the one which interests you, whether it be a speed measurement, distance, a slow routine to increase your intensity, or even a game to escape from zombies.

8. Mix Up Your Program

If you insist on running the same route every session, then you are not only at risk of severe boredom but also of repetitive stress injuries. Use this time to explore your neighborhood by searching for different terrains and textured surfaces while darting off into nature whenever inspiration hits.

9. Take Time Off

And here is the easiest suggestion of them all. If you have noticed your performance getting progressively worse, then this is probably the reason why. You need recovery days in order to rejuvenate your muscles, granting them the space to heal and then coming back stronger than ever before. Make sure you are also getting a good nights sleep. This will help keep your energy levels up and positively impact your performance. Finally never ever train when you are injured.

10. Stay Positive

This may seem like a silly tip but studies have shown that optimism is connected to healthier lifestyles in general. At the end of the day, if you aren’t having fun while you’re running, then you’re not going to be at your peak performance, hence why your enjoyment should be the priority. Appreciate the endorphins flowing through your brain and the oxygen filling your lungs. Be amazed by your body which allows for this freedom. And remind yourself of how lucky you truly are.