What if you ran like an elite?


Obviously most of us are not going to be paid to run or earn a lot (or any, most likely) money running and racing. I think we could still all learn a lot from how elites run.

If you’ve ever watched an elite runner, you probably marveled at how effortless they make running fast look. A lot of effort goes into being an elite runner, and I think all runners could take a page from the elite runner’s book.

Pick races carefully
Elite runners don’t usually race injured. It happens, like it does to everyone, but they are much more choosy about the races they run. They often will bail on a race with weather that isn’t conducive to their best performance.

Obviously elite runners’ livelihood is on the line — there’s prize money to be won to support their families. Elite runners, can, and do, run in some amazingly bad weather, too. Boston Marathon tales are made from those races!

Because their livelihood is on the line, though, they are more likely to skip the races that don’t play to their strengths.

We may share a birthday, but not much else!

Don’t run #alltheraces
I still remember listening to Meb on a runner panel at my very first half — yes, that Meb (I wish I’d known who he was!). He talked about how elite runners don’t run a marathon every month. Don’t race a marathon every month, anyway, no doubt they’re running marathons as training runs, which is faster than we mere mortal runners can race.

Elite runners know that races are grueling and they need to be trained and recover properly — Deena Kastor even wrote about how she took months off after a marathon. No running at all!

Do all that supportive crap you don’t want to do
They take ice baths, they get massages, they foam roll, they lift weights, they do yoga — and more! They have a whole team taking care of them, of course. It’s their job. They also put in the hard work in every way to make their dreams come to fruition.

Take fueling seriously
You’re probably not going to find elite runners downing some beers the night before a race. Or having poptarts as a pre-race breakfast. They know that if you eat crap, you feel like crap, and even worse — it effects your performance.

Recover like it’s your job
Well, for them it is their job. However, not all elite runners are just runners. Believe it or not, some have families and jobs in addition to running, too. This one also goes back to #dontrunalltheraces — you generally won’t find them running a marathon every week, or month, or even multiple marathons every year. They take time off after a goal race to properly recover; to be able to come back even stronger.

What else do elite runners do that we could lean from?

Which one of these do you think would help you if you started to do it?

How much does hard work vs the right body type and talent come into play to make a runner elite, do you think?


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


19 thoughts on “What if you ran like an elite?

  1. Glad I’m not an elite. Lol.

    But when running is your job, you probably don’t have as much fun. Just like with a job, you may do it as a paycheck.

    They get backed by companies. They have to perform. Some drop out of races in order not to have a slower time. A lot pressure.

    As you alluded to, some of us normal runners look up to the elites to see what they do. Some even feel the same pressure. Run faster!!! Improve our times.

    Unfortunately hard work just gets you so far. Look at the Ethiopians. Genes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elites definitely have to be focused on every running-related endeavor they do. I’d love to have their abilities, but their lifestyle would be challenging. I often wonder if they experience burnout because they probably don’t get to do many runs just for the fun of it (unlike us commoners LOL).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny you mentioned having pop tarts before a race- I had a friend who did that! On the flip side, elites also don’t have other full-time jobs like the rest of us (since running is their job) so they have the time to put in the miles necessary and all of the time for rest and recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fun food for thought.
    A lot of genes – but it’s also like the Biggest Loser. Of course you’re going to perform at your best if it’s the only thing you have to do. A staff takes care of everything else. And they can nap. They’re not trying to cram in training and rehab among other activities of daily living.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Too much pressure to be an elite runner. Yes they have lots of perks and companies to look out for them but if they miss a race because of injury or another reason, no money for them. Plus, you mess up and the whole world knows about it. I just like to run and race for fun. Oh but I would love to get free shoes and always have access to free massages. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great topic, Judy! I love it. Even though we may not be as fast as an elite runner, we still can learn from how they train and run. I have started getting regular massages ever since my injury and they really have helped me. I foam roll (occasionally) and stretch (religiously) too, which I never did before. Such a cool photo of you and Deena!

    Liked by 1 person

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