Run regularly to get the most benefits from running.
Find your tribe. A real or virtual community will support and motivate you.
Head outside to run whenever you can to get the boost that nature gives your mood and brain power.
Know that you are enough. You have nothing to prove.
Be happy without running. Make sure that your happiness doesn’t depend on running. You should be happy and fulfilled without it.
Don’t let running become a pressure. Check in with yourself intermittently to make sure you are enjoying your running.
Volunteer regularly or from time to time. Giving back to others, including the running community, is rewarding and life-enriching.
Never be afraid to ask for help. Find someone you trust to share your thoughts and problems with.
The Cardiovascular System
Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. Running counts as vigorous activity, so only 75 minutes per week is required.
Maintain a normal weight.
Eat a healthy, varied diet full of fresh vegetables and oily fish, and avoid excess salt.
Get your blood pressure checked at least every five years (unless you have hypertension or other medical conditions that require more frequent checks).
Prioritise recovery on your training plan.
Reduce your stress levels.
Reduce sedentary time – move frequently and don’t rely on running as your only exercise.
Don’t race with a viral illness.
Listen to your body.
The Respiratory System
Don’t smoke and avoid passive smoking too.
Maintain a normal weight.
Exercise regularly at a variety of paces.
Eat a healthy, varied diet.
Practise diaphragmatic breathing
Avoid rush hour running to minimise exposure to air pollutants if you experience symptoms or have lung problems.
Maintain a good running posture
to allow your lungs to expand freely.
Consider Pilates to help control breathing, strengthen muscles and improve posture.
The Gastrointestinal System
Keep a food diary and use trial and error to help solve gut issues.
Drink plenty of fluid and rehydrate properly after runs to avoid constipation.
Assist your digestion by avoiding over eating or eating in a rush. Chew your food properly and allow enough time between eating and running.
See your doctor if you have a persistent change in your bowel habit or any blood loss from your back passage.
Eat a healthy varied diet with plenty of whole grain fibre (unless you have IBS and find whole grains aggravate it).
Look after your gut microbiome. Keep the good bacteria in your gut happy by eating plenty of plant-based foods and live yoghurts, and avoiding excess alcohol.
Manage your stress levels.
Don’t smoke. It increases your risk of acid reflux and stomach cancer.
The Urinary System
Hydrate yourself before, during (if necessary) and after your runs.
Replace electrolytes lost through sweat, especially on long runs
Respect the weather conditions and adapt your expectations, pace and hydration in hot weather.
Don’t use anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief during long runs and races.
Get your blood pressure checked at least every five years or more often if there’s a medical need. High blood pressure can damage the kidneys.
Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluid to avoid constipation, which can affect bladder function.
Do regular pelvic floor exercises.
Don’t suffer in silence and seek help if you experience urinary or faecal incontinence.
If you have given birth then make a gradual, planned return to running after strengthening your pelvic floor muscles
The Reproductive System
Attend screenings such as cervical and antenatal screenings.
Perform regular self-examination, for example on breasts and testicles.
Visit a sexual health clinic for a screen for sexually transmitted diseases if you have any symptoms you’re worried about or for reassurance if you have ever had unprotected sex.
Practise safe sex.
Report any unusual bleeding, lumps or other changes to your GP.
Lead a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Keep exercising regularly.
Take your time returning to running after childbirth. Follow a core and pelvic floor rehabilitation programme and then build up slowly from walking.
Consider tracking your menstrual cycle if you want to identify any effects on your training.
The Musculoskeletal System
The musculoskeletal system can seem complicated and overwhelming, but there are some simple things you can do to help keep yours in good shape for many happy running miles:
Always increase the volume and intensity of training gradually.
Allow enough recovery days.
Wear correct footwear, professionally fitted if possible.
Use strength and conditioning to give you a strong and balanced body.
Be aware that strength and balance training become more important as you age.
Warm up with dynamic stretches rather than static ones, which should be done after a cool-down.
See a health care professional for a diagnosis if any pain is not resolving.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Eat a balanced and varied diet so your body has the building blocks it needs for growth and repair.
Find a good physiotherapist who is experienced in helping runners – they’re worth their weight in gold.
Shower soon after running.
Don’t leave skin damp. Dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
Use a barrier cream to protect sore skin or problem areas while running.
Experiment with fabrics to find which suits you best.
Wash running kit, including socks, after one use.
Consider alternating between two pairs of running shoes.
Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect skin from UV rays.
Check moles regularly and report changes or new skin lesions to your GP.
Eat a diet that includes a variety of fruit and vegetables to provide the nutrients needed for healthy skin. Top foods include avocados, nuts, seeds and fish.
Drink plenty of water daily.
Rest when you’re ill or injured.
Get injuries diagnosed if they aren’t resolving quickly.
Take your time coming back from illness or injury.
Train progressively, but flexibly too, so you can cut back if you need to.
Don’t skimp on the warm-up.
Do what you can to get a good night’s sleep and add in extra if you’re training hard.
Dress for the weather.
Add in muscle-strengthening work, balance and co-ordination activities and cut down your sedentary time.
Eat a diet that works for you, and provides you with the energy and nutrients to fuel your active life.
Be proud that you’re a runner and doing amazing things for your health and wellbeing, both now and in the future.