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25 Crazy Clever Hacks That Actually Make Running Awesome

Your feet, boobs, hips, knees, nipples, and motivation will thank you. And that's just for starters.

1. Stop stretching before you run.

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Studies have shown that static stretching — holding a muscle in a fixed, stretched position for 20 or 30 seconds — doesn't really prevent injury and may even compromise performance when you run. If you want to warm up before you run, dynamic stretching is where it's at.

2. Eliminate, like, a million sneaker/fit problems by learning different ways to tie your sneakers.

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Cramped toes, slipping heels, and pain across the top of the foot are just a few problems that can be solved with creative lacing. School yourself here.

3. Take lots of brisk walking breaks.

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Fact: Some people complete entire marathons alternating between walking and running. Why not give yourself quick walk breaks in the middle of your runs, too? You can follow the Galloway method, named after Jeff Galloway, the godfather of run-walking, or make it up on your own.

4. Do shorter running workouts.

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If the thought of running for a cool 45 minutes sounds like a nightmarish hellscape but you still want to get in some good exercise, try a quick high-intensity workout. You'll have to push yourself to move a bit harder and faster but you can do anything for 25 minutes, right? Here are a bunch of running workouts that all take 30 minutes or less.

5. Turn your run into an immersive adventure game.

6. Ease into adding mileage with a Couch to 5K app.

7. Make a running mix with songs that have more than 120 beats per minute (BPM).

8. Or use an app like Songza that will curate perfect running playlists.

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Songza lets you browse playlists by activity, so visit its library of playlists to work out to and go crazy. I recommend "'80s Training Montage" and "Rap Bangers for Running." Also check out RockMyRun, which lets you choose playlists put together by DJs — you can choose by genre or BPM — or use myBeat mode, which adjusts the tempo of your music to match your pace (or push you to go harder).

9. Break up your run with bodyweight exercises.

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Running a mile and doing 100 squats is a big NOPE with a side of Zzzzzz. But a workout that consists of a quarter mile run and 25 squats alternating back and forth until you've done each four times (i.e. one mile and 100 squats) is more interesting. The quarter-mile repeats should be run at a comfortably hard pace and the squats should be done as quickly as is safely possible (and with full range of motion). You can substitute other bodyweight exercises for the squats or change up the distance of the run depending on how much time you have.

10. Make sure you have the right sneakers.

11. Get temporary tattoos to keep your attitude positive and your motivation strong.

12. Invest in a fashion-forward and functional headband.

13. Keep those sweaty earbuds in place with DIY ear wraps.

14. Follow #RunChat and #SeenOnMyRun to get inspired.

15. Make your pre- and post-run snacks into delicious rituals.

16. Get cheaper running clothes by buying them at the end of each season.

17. Get wool socks.

The right socks can mean fewer blisters, less irritation, drier feet, just the right amount of support, and basically just a ton of comfort. Wool absorbs moisture better than cotton, can continue to insulate even when wet (wet cotton = super-cold feet), and dries quickly.

Shop at a sporting goods store for a good selection of moisture-wicking socks made from wool for all temperatures and thickness preferences and use a good guide so you know what you're looking for.

18. Understand what's happening boobwise when you run.

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The right sports bra is the difference between a bouncy, painful run and delightfully stationary experience. There are a few factors to consider when you're buying the right bra: compression (best for A and B cups) vs. encapsulation (for larger breasts), strap style, clasp (bra snaps in back) or no clasp (pull bra over your head), and impact the bra was designed for. Again, a running specialty store is your best bet for great sports bras and trained pros who can explain the options and help you decide.

19. Seriously, enough with chafed nips and thighs.

20. Vanquish shin splints in less than 10 minutes.

21. Trick yourself into going for a run by simply putting on your workout gear and heading out for a brisk walk.

22. Use longer runs as opportunities to get lost in an audiobook or catch up on podcasts.

23. Use an app to track how many miles you've put on your sneakers.

24. Free up your hands and pockets by tying your key into your shoelaces.

25. Register for a fun race.

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