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7 Ways To Give Yourself The Best Shot At Hitting Your Running Goals

Clocking up the kilometres on foot has positive implications for our bodies, our minds and our longevity. And while runners reap all those benefits, each of them pounds the pavement for their own reasons. Whether it's the ease of ducking out the door for a workout, the endorphins that come from a 'runner's high', the ability to clear your head or just to get into nature, there's an array of motivations that get us moving.
But what keeps us going, as die-hards or beginners, is the drive to make great strides. Perhaps you're a regular runner training hard to ace an upcoming race, or a leisurely jogger who just wants to be able to catch their breath five minutes in. That's the beauty of running – you're only competing against yourself.
If you're finding that you've been struggling to hit your running goals, don't lose faith. You may just need a break, a shake-up or a bit of help to get back on track. So if you're looking to reach a new personal best, here are some ways to help give yourself the best shot.

1. Experiment with your environment

Try changing things up. Over time, this is how runners Jasmine and Laura, learned exactly what circumstances they excelled in.
“By testing out different things like wearing a hat or running with a water bottle, you can see which runs are better and recreate that environment,” says Jasmine.
For Laura, she will now only run in the morning and on cement (because it's sturdier for her ankles) to smash her 10km time.
Whether it’s the time of day, terrain, or what you fuel yourself with (Laura always has a coffee on her best days and Jas will eat oats with banana and peanut butter), try switching things up. Keep a log of what does and doesn’t work for you.

2. Try a race

For Jasmine, who recently trained and competed in a half-marathon, her record time came on race day itself. So, she recommends exposing yourself to whatever races you can to experience that race-day energy.
“You'll realise how far you can push yourself when you're in a race environment,” says Jasmine.
And it doesn't have to be as extreme as a half-marathon! Even shorter 5km or 10km events can give you a taste of the pressure to see if you push yourself further.

3. A good sports bra 

The right bra can make or break a run. Wear one that’s not supportive enough and the pain (and flailing) will be a big barrier to getting further, quicker. For women and gender-diverse people with bigger boobs, opt for breathable, high-impact sports bras with a firm under-band and thick straps to keep them in line. 

4. The right shoes

Blisters, heel pain and shin splints can quash your hopes of achieving a PB. They’re also common culprits that you can wind up with when not wearing the right shoes.

Take into account what surface you'll run on most when choosing the correct sole. Softer, flatter soles are good for cement and treadmills, whereas uneven ground requires a harder sole.
You should also know a little something about your foot type, in particular, pronation — which is the degree your foot rolls in when it hits the ground. For individuals with neutral or supinated pronation, you'll need neutral support, while people with overpronation need more stable support. Not sure which one you are? Go into a store and let the pros find your fit for you.
If your current pair is worn through, try the ADIDAS Ultraboost 22 range. The running shoes were designed after analysing scans from the feet of 1.2 million women to address the differences between male and female heel anatomy, instep height and gait cycle trends.

5. Some weights 

Research has shown that strength training can improve your running performance. Bolster your weekly runs with some weight training to build up your muscles so those legs can carry you further on your next route. Squatting, in particular, is worth introducing to your workout routine as it helps with your knee stability.

6. Proper socks 

We’ve all had the dreaded slippery suckers slide under our heels while running — and then it’s all over. Wearing the wrong socks can be both uncomfortable and distracting. Swapping your socks to breathable ankle ones that don’t slip down is a simple but effective move.

7. Your phone

We’re competitive and it shows, with one study finding that social networks can push us to run further and faster than our friends. Sign up for a running app with some friends and track your progress to stay accountable to keep your training up and keep an eye on your data. 
Your phone can also provide the goods in the form of audio entertainment. Need a catchy bop to jog along to the beat of? Maybe a metronome app to time your strides with? Or perhaps an audiobook to keep you engrossed so you keep moving? Whatever the audio, use it to push yourself further to reach that next PB.
If you didn’t think you had another personal best in you, try these seven ways to increase your distance and shorten your time. Whether it's extra comfort or a clear mind, these tips may just get you over the line when it comes to your next goal.
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