top of page
  • Writer's pictureOwner

11 Running Principles I Swear By

Updated: Feb 25

To celebrate 15 years of running, completing 3 half marathons in 2024 so far, and not having knee pain anymore, I’m making a list of my own running principles today—during a 15k training run, because I love coming up with blogposts when I run.

These are not general tips for how to run! It’s about me as a runner—what I do (and avoid) that contributes to my ability to run long distances, never get injured, and have lots of fun doing it.

Are these principles useful to anyone besides me? Perhaps. Mostly if they’re just starting out or if they’re endurance runners who want to increase distance, perhaps to complete an official (half) marathon, as long as the main goal is to complete it rather than to run it in any specific time. Racing for time is associated with rigid training schedules and potential injuries—not really my thing.

1. For endurance: run as slowly as possible.

When you’re new to running outdoors, or trying out longer distances, you have to pace yourself, especially in the beginning. It’s the only way not to burn out or risk injuries. So I mostly take it easy. I trust that my body will tell me when it’s ready to speed up. No need to force it.

Do you think 6:25 minutes per km (about a 10 minute mile) is super slow? I did. But now I know it’s ok when I’m training for a really long run, or when it’s hot or hilly. With this speed you complete a marathon within 4.5 hours, which is a perfectly respectable time, especially as a starting point.

2. For speed: Follow your body, not a training schedule.

I don’t have any speed goals for myself. As I mentioned earlier I try to slow myself down if anything. In my experience, speed increases naturally, which is a great motivator to keep going. By just doing what I’m always doing I become faster every time. My 10k race times from the past six months prove this point:

Aug 6 (2023) Indian Navy Heritage — 1:08

Aug 20 (2023) Ageas Life Insurance — 1:04

Sep 10 (2023) Decathlon run — 1:01:47

Dec 17 (2023) Decathlon Thane — 1:00:48

Jan 7 (2024) Inorbit Vashi — 57:20

Feb 4 (2024) Mumbai Half — 55:57

Feb 11 (2024) Navi Flamingo  Run — 54:30

PS That August 6 run was a horrendously hot and humid run but the main reason I ran so slowly was that I hadn’t run since March!

3. Run just enough

I found out through trial and error that I need to run a lot in order to run a lot. My knees, achilles, shins, hips… everything starts to protest if I run a long distance without making some serious practice miles first.

Then again, I’m getting older so I also need time to recover. And I need to prepare mentally and logistically for long runs. It's important to feel refreshed and map out a decent route. That’s why I simply can’t follow a schedule that tells me precisely how often to run. I know I need to run once or twice a week to stay in shape, not less, but also not a whole lot more.

4. Avoid injuries at all cost.

It’s essential to start a new “running season” slowly and not overdo the distance. I think running like hell is not natural to us in our current state of evolution. And when I feel an injury coming up: I know to stop! I ignored my aching knee once and it cost me. I completed a half marathon with lots of hills without slowing down even though the pain in my right knee made this nearly impossible. I had to give up running for a few months and then start back up really slowly—hence my relatively slow 10k runs in late 2023.

5. Map it out!

I never run anywhere without a set route and knowing exactly how long the route is. I don’t check my time or speed while I’m running because I’m going for distance, not a set time. The other benefit is that I program different routes this way, which keeps it interesting.

6. Mental prep beats physical prep.

I can have an excellent run on very little food and sleep. It’s not ideal—I prefer to take care of myself—but it happens sometimes and it’s fun to find out I can do just as well. It also taught me that not feeling fit or rested is not an excuse to skip much-needed runs, because usually it’s fine and I feel better afterwards. I just gotta put my mind to it. Showing up is half the work as they say.

7. Run whenever you want.

Mornings are beautiful, roads are empty and it’s easier to “make” time for it without disturbing my family routine. Afternoons are good for cold climates and avoiding the dark. Evenings are good because the body is all warmed up and I can “shake off” the day I had so far. Each time of the day has pros and cons, so I do my thing whenever it’s convenient.

8. Dedication.

When I’m running after a little break, or when I’m training for a longer race, I really dedicate myself. This means I think a lot about my goals and how I’m gonna achieve them. I always know when my next run is. I map it out. I record the run in an app. For bigger runs, I go to bed early and tell myself I’ll just party it up another day. Other sports, if relevant, go on the back burner.

9. Mitigate risks

I always assume I might get lost, get thirsty, get a sore knee, get cold afterwards (running shivers), or just get bored. So I’m adding more and more gear. Before, I was someone who ran in regular shoes sometimes, without music or podcasts. Now I’ve got multiple pairs of great Nike running shoes like the rest of ‘em. I have a little fanny pack for my phone, AirPods, hair ties, and emergency money. I often tie a shirt around my waist for afterwards. And I’m thinking about getting one of those ridiculous camelbacks for hydration. I know what you’re thinking and I don’t care. Though I haven’t quite… bought it yet.

10. No treadmills.

I talked about this before and I’m not on a personal crusade to discredit treadmills—I just don’t like them. To me it’s boring, artificial, uncomfortable, and I feel it doesn’t prepare me for outdoor running at all.

11. Do official “races”

I’ve completed 37 official races so far and I loved all of them. As a diplomat I have the major benefit of racing in different countries, which gives me endless variety (though the downside is that some places are extremely challenging for outdoor running). Otherwise, I’d probably join a running club that travels to races in other locations on occasion. It’s a fun excuse to travel. Races are a bit like a party and an extra motivation to go “all out” sometimes. It also gives me much needed running goals.

Races completed since 2010:

5K races: 5

10K races: 21

15K races: 2 (both trail runs)

Half marathons: 8 (1 was a trail run)

Full marathons: 1



Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page