7. Focus on rate, not length, of stride – Don’t try to lengthen your stride (it’ll happen naturally as you become more fit). Instead, focus on turnover rate—the number of steps you take per minute. “All good runners turn over 180 times a minute, which is about 90 right foot falls per minute,” says Daniels. “But beginners tend to lope along instead of rolling along at around 80.” The slower your turnover, the harder you're hitting the ground upon return, so shuffle—don’t bound.

8. Land Naturally – Forget the forefoot hype. Seventy to 75 percent of mediocre runners land rearfoot or midfoot, which tends to be more comfortable and economical. Running barefoot or training in a minimal shoe? The lack of cushioning promotes forefoot running, which puts more stress on your calf muscles—not ideal if you’re prone to shin splints. Rearfoot striking, on the other hand, can put more stress on the quads and knees.

9. Think big picture – Look towards the long term instead of focusing on just one race. Have a non-time related goal for each run. Try to start slower, run with a partner, breathe through the whole race, or turnover faster. You’ll accomplish your goal and won’t even worry about finish time.