15 Essential Life Hacks for Runners

Lizzy Crawford


Try using some of these tips next time you go out for a run!

When it comes to running, people want things to be as convenient as possible. Afterall, runners are always in a rush (pun intended.) To fulfill every runner’s wishes, I did some research on different running hacks and methods and here’s what I found:

 #1 Shower with Your Running Clothes On

As crazy as this may sound, showering with your clothes on can deem quite beneficial for runners. Not only does it appeal to the ideal of convenience, but it also can be a quick way to cool down by jumping in a cold shower right after a run. The practicality of this hack comes into play as you can skip having to wash your running clothes for that day because you already cleaned them in the shower!

#2 Sleep in Running Clothes

For those who like to get out on early morning runs, this may be the hack for you! One way to be more motivated to roll out of bed in the morning and head out for a jog is to already be ready to go. To do this, all you need to do is wear your running clothes to bed, which would probably be pretty easy because most running clothing is made for comfort. By doing this, there are no more excuses to not run because you aren’t prepared!


This is a personal tip from me. I have noticed that the things I use to fuel, especially on race days, greatly impact my energy levels. Everyone has different foods that work for them, but for me I typically eat lots of carbs and peanut butter on race days. I also will eat these Runner’s GU packs that taste pretty interesting but are really light and offer lots of essential nutrients. For normal running days, my favorite ways to fuel up on protein and carbs are protein bars like KIND bars or Belvita cookies. Remember, fueling looks different for everyone and it is all about listening to your body and giving it what it needs.

#4 Salt in Water

As ironic as it may seem, adding salt to your water can help you stay more hydrated. You may often hear how runners “carb-load” but they also do something called “fluid-loading.” Fluid-loading is done by putting salt in your water to retain water and not have to pee as much. This keeps you hydrated longer, so if you struggle with hydration, you might want to consider adding salt to your water. 

#5 Cotton Shirts for Hot Days

Many runners avoid wearing cotton shirts on hot days and instead use dri-fit materials. What they don’t know is that cotton shirts in fact make you feel cooler because it holds sweat to your body. Next time you reach to grab your go-to shirt for warm-weather days, remember to pick out a cotton shirt instead and try this tip out!

#6 Squad Runs

On days when laziness is at an all time high and motivation is at an all time low, it can be hard to find something that will encourage you to go out on a run. If you are one who struggles with finding motivation running alone, then get a group of friends to go on runs with. If possible while complying with COVID protocols, go to 5ks and form your own running community. Getting a squad to suffer alongside you during dreadful runs, especially long runs and hill workouts, is an essential! Every runner should have people to laugh with on a run and also use their fellow runners to help push them through healthy competition.

#7 Run with Furry Friends 

Not only is it great to find human comrades, but fluffy ones too! If you have a dog who enjoys running, it is very beneficial to take them on runs with you. Your dog is a great moral support and just looking at them can provide a little more motivation for you. Animal or person, we all need a little time to clear our minds, so why not take your furry fellow out on a jog with you?

#8 Motivational Writing on Hand

Something I do on race days is write motivational quotes for myself with a sharpie on my hand. Whether that be a Bible verse or running quote, it is nice to glance down at my hand during a race when I have nothing left and find some encouragement. One common running quote is, “The faster you run the faster you’re done,”and  if that does not motivate you to run faster, I don’t know what does. A nice part about this hack is that you can personalize the quote for yourself, pick something that motivates you and look at it when you are feeling tanked. 

#9 Roll Out Legs

If your legs often feel tight during runs or sore from tough workouts, then this one’s for you. Leg rollers provide a refreshing massage for strained or worn out muscles. It can be used before and after runs as it helps with preparation and recovery of muscles while improving circulation. This Runner’s World article gives tips on how to use leg rollers and information on why they are beneficial for runners. If your legs are feeling stiff before a run, grab a foam roller, stretch, and you will already feel a difference. 

#10 Keys on Laces or Hair Tie

If you don’t like running with a backpack, this hack is useful. For the times that you need a place to put your car key, it comes in handy to just tie it to your shoelaces or a hair tie. Another convenient spot to store your keys is in the waistband pocket that is in most women’s running shorts and leggings. With this hack, you can say goodbye to the extra weight of backpacks and hello to maximizing the storage you have in your clothing.

#11 Pump Up Playlist

A great way to get hyped up for a big run is to listen to music! Create a playlist of your favorite hype songs that get you “in the zone.” An ideal time to make use of this playlist is during warm up stretches prior to a race. 

#12 Chewing Gum 

Does your mouth always get dry on runs? A hack many of my friends use is to chew gum during your run to keep it moist. Although it may be a safety hazard if you aren’t a very cautious gum-chewer, this hack can help you feel more hydrated on hot summer days, lessening the feeling of exhaustion.

#13 KT Tape

This is not sponsored, but KT tape (and other athletic tapes) are AMAZING! If you have shin splints, bad knees, foot pain, or pretty much any other injury while you run, KT or Kinesiology Tape can sooth the pain. Last cross country season I had pretty intense shin splints, almost to the point where I thought it was a stress fracture, and once I started using KT tape I never went back. It holds the muscles and bones in place and offers compression that helps with injuries. 

#14 Count Your Steps 

Sometimes during a run you can’t seem to think about anything but the pain. When you are searching for every distraction available, a good hack is to count the number of steps you take. Not only does this distract you, but it can also help you with pacing as you speed up and slow down. 

#15 Just Smile

One thing my coach tells my teammates and I is to “smile through the pain.” This is also a running motto that the world’s top marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge, uses. The New York Times elaborates on this as it shares that many studies have found smiling while running can even make you faster, “Smiling probably aided economy by prompting a “reduction in muscular tension,” says Noel Brick, a lecturer in sport and exercise psychology at Ulster University, who led the study.” When in doubt, smile. Smiling tricks your brain into thinking that you are more content than you really are!

At the end of the day, every runner knows that they end every run automatically feeling automatically better (mentally and physically) than when they started it. The hardest part about running is getting the motivation to take the first step. My hope is that these hacks and tips can make every runner’s life a little easier and that they help them take that first step!