Run Like an Olympian

Tips to Improve Your Fitness and Focus

Every four years, I get so excited to watch the Summer Olympic games and, of course, I have a particular fondness for the track and field events. The runners' incredible athletic abilities, their intense mental toughness, and their fierce competitive spirit are so motivational and inspiring. How do they make it look so easy? How do they stay so composed under such extreme pressure? While the vast majority of us will never run at their level or speeds, here are some lessons and tips we can take from Olympic track and field athletes to improve our own running.

Practice Good Form

Woman running
John P Kelly

I'm always in awe of Olympic runners' fluid and flawless form. That type of perfection didn't happen overnight—elite runners have worked for years to achieve it. So, while we may never look that good when we're running, that doesn't mean we can't work on making small improvements. 


Find Your Motivation

Elite runners train for years with a long-term goal in mind: competing in the Olympics. Keeping their eye on the prize helps them push through the pain and drudgery of thousands of hours of training. While you may not be dreaming of standing on the Olympic podium, it's still important to set goals. Whether it's completing a 5k, running your first marathon, or losing weight, working toward something specific will help maintain your motivation and keep you going.


Run With Others

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Olympic runners train with the best, and that constant, high-level of competition pushes them all to perform their best. Even recreational runners find that group training brings out their competitive spirit and helps them push themselves harder. Running with others, even if it's just one person, also makes running more fun and can help you stay motivated.​

Fuel Your Body Properly

Olympic runners know the importance of proper nutrition and hydration. But even if you're not running at the elite level, your diet is important not only for maintaining good health, but also to promote peak performance. Proper nutrition and hydration can make or break a workout or race, and also greatly affects how runners feel, work and think.

Reduce Race Anxiety

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Olympic athletes get anxious before races just like everyone else. But they use anxiety-reducing techniques to help them control that nervous energy and use it to their advantage. Don't let your pre-race nerves get the best of you. Figure out what ​strategies work for you so you'll perform better and enjoy racing more.


Stay Mentally Tough

Olympians need incredible focus and coping skills to compete at such a high level and get through pain, discomfort, and disappointment during both training and racing. To take your running to the next level, you need to learn how to run through discomfort and how to maintain your mental focus.

Don't Forget About Rest Days

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Even the best runners in the world know that they need recovery time to allow their bodies time to repair damage and build themselves to be even stronger. For both Olympians and recreational athletes, overtraining can lead to injury and burnout. Make sure you know the signs of overtraining and give yourself some easy recovery workouts every week.


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