Mario Fraioli’s Secrets to Becoming a Better Runner

Photo: John Tran

A few months ago a good friend texted me for training advice. He asked specifically about exogenous ketones and power meters, knowing that he was poking the bear, and this is a cleaned-up version of the rant (some have called it a manifesto) that he got back from me:

Run as many miles a week as you can without compromising your overall physical and mental health, relationships, and other pursuits that are important to you. Most of it (~70-80%) should be relatively easy. The other 20-30% should be challenging but within yourself. Finish most of your workouts feeling like you could do another rep or two or go a couple more miles at a given pace. Once every great while turn yourself inside-out (ideally in a race but every so often in practice).

Learn to differentiate between easy/moderate/steady/hard/really hard by listening to your body. Use a few key data points to identify patterns and correlations but don’t overwhelm yourself with meaningless metrics. This will take some trial and error to figure out and that’s OK.

Do some resistance work 2-3x/week. Bodyweight work will get you a long way but dumbbells and kettlebells are a good investment. Better yet, learn how to lift (relatively) heavy.

Eat a balanced diet that is about 60% carbs, 25% protein, and 15% fats. Beyond that, make sure you eat enough since you are training a lot. Better to be a couple pounds over whatever you think is an ideal weight than to be under by a few—your immune system will be stronger, you’ll recover faster, and have more energy. Also, unless you are deficient in something, say iron or Vitamin D or calcium, you probably don’t need a supplement “stack.” If you’re eating well, you’ll get most everything you need through food.

Surround yourself with good people on and away from the run. A supportive environment is one of life’s most important pillars.

Finally, sleep at least 7 hours a night, 8-9 if you can. This is the glue that holds it all together, not just training but overall health and well-being.

Do all of this for years on end and you will stay healthy, perform better, and generally feel pretty good about yourself most days.

Like this post?

Join the 11,000+ readers who get the morning shakeout delivered directly to their inboxes every Tuesday morning.