HISTORY It is reported the first fell run took place in Scotland in around 1064,…
Part of the beauty of running is that it isn’t a complicated sport thus allowing you to lace up your trainers and run on virtually every surface. Numerous studies have also found that running has several physical and mental benefits including boosting your immune system, helping you relieve stress, and allowing you to lose weight.
However, running entails a number of unwritten rules in order to improve and for some beginners, these may be overwhelming [TWEET THIS!]. So whether you’re a newbie or getting back into the routine, here are common running mistakes that you might be doing and what you can do to correct them.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: RUNNING THROUGH PAIN AND INJURY
We’ve heard it all before, “no pain, no gain.” Perhaps one of the most common mistakes runners make is pushing one’s self excessively in a workout routine. They get too enthused about their running that they do too much mileage early on in their training. As a result, they often suffer from running injuries.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: TAKING A REST DAY
According to the coach of Track Club LA Eric Barron, in order for you to get stronger, your body needs time to rebuild. He suggests mixing easy days with tough days and avoiding pushing when your body needs a break. Extending yourself too much during runs will only result in more injuries that will cause you longer recovery periods.
A good runner takes the time to listen to their bodies. If you’re feeling tired, take a day off from your usual routine to let your body rejuvenate [TWEET THIS!]. Remember to follow the 2-Day Rule which states that if something hurts for two straight days while running, take two days off.
Team physician for USA Triathlon Troy Smurawa, M.D. said that the pain that you’re feeling may be a signal for the beginning of an injury. “Even taking five days of complete rest from running will have little impact on your fitness level,” he explained.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: TRAINING BEYOND YOUR LIMITS
Some runners who are training for specific goals tend to over-train, leaving their bodies very little recovery time. While consistency is best when it comes to training, many still believe that running everyday will help them get achieve a new milestone sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, this leaves the runner burnt-out due to the lack of downtime.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: PACING YOURSELF
“I noticed that runners who increased their training load too quickly were incurring injuries,” says Joan Ullyot, M.D., an author of three women’s running books. Whether you’re new to running or a marathoner, an injury is a runner’s biggest enemy.
Although research headed by Jason R. Karp in 2007 found that building your mileage can help improve your running performance, remember to plan out your weekly routine by following the 10-Percent Rule. This rule states that you should increase your weekly training mileage by no more than 10 percent. Not only will this allow your body to acclimate to the new adjustment but it also keeps you from overtraining!
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
Some people manage to remain productive and energetic even with a minimal amount of sleep. But they are exceptions to the rule. When you run, you burn calories and break down cells to become stronger. The best time for your body to rejuvenate is when you sleep.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: CATCHING THE EXTRA Z’S
The average person needs about seven and a half to eight hours of sleep each night. However, endurance athletes, especially runners, need to increase that amount during training for this gives way for the body to rehabilitate. “Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on training,” says David Claman, M.D., director of the University of California-San Francisco Sleep Disorders Center.
Remember to follow the Sleeping Rule which states that for every mile that you run each training week, add one extra minute per night. For example, if you run 20 miles a week, sleep an additional 20 minutes each night.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: EATING UNHEALTHY FOODS
Many runners mistakenly think that it’s okay to consume unhealthy foods because of their fitness routines. But did you know that poor dietary choices can hold you back from succeeding in running? It can even lead to injuries, frequent sickness, and subpar performance.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: OBSERVING A HEALTHY DIET
The food you intake is the fuel that your body burns when you work out. Your performance is highly dependent on your diet thus the need for well-balanced, nutritious meals. Instead of eating processed food that are high in trans-fat, indulge yourself in healthier options like foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as these may help decrease inflammation, boost your immunity, and protect you from heart disease.
Carbohydrates and protein loading is also good for runners. According to Nancy Clark, R.D., author of “Food Guide for Marathoners,” “You need an infusion of carbs to replace depleted muscle glycogen, plus some protein to repair and build muscle.” Next time you’re preparing your meal, remember that the ideal carb-to-protein ratio should be 4:1.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: NOT STAYING HYDRATED ENOUGH
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that runners commit is not drinking enough water before, during, and after a run. Many underestimate the amount of fluid the body loses during training. Because of fear of experiencing side stitches (i.e. that stabbing pain in your diaphragm), runners choose to drink fewer fluids. As a result, they suffer from dehydration which is detrimental to a runner’s performance and health.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: DRINK MORE WATER
Athletes need to be mindful of how much fluids they drink throughout their routines. However, remember that drinking too much can also be harmful to your performance so you need to strike a balance. On average, 500ml of fluid an hour is recommended for long-distances races. “It’s quite easy to drink more than you need and, in doing so, put yourself at risk of hyponatremia,” John Brewer, professor of applied sport science at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, England said.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: RUNNING IN THE WRONG SHOES
Wearing old running shoes—or worse, the wrong type of shoes altogether—can lead you to injuries. As a runner, you need shoes that are specially designed for the terrain that you run. Unfit shoes for running will make you hurt not only your heels but also your knees for these absorb the most impact during a run.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: GETTING A DECENT PAIR OF RUNNING TRAINERS
In recent years, research suggested that shoes are crucial to a runner’s performance. “You need a trainer with good structure that doesn’t allow too much foot movement as you stride,” runner Matt Roberts said.
Other runners have also taken a liking to glove-like minimalist running shoes for their routines. If you’ve been using the same pair of shoes for years, it’s time to chuck them out and purchase a new pair. Go to a running specialty store so that knowledgeable salespeople can assist you in finding the perfect pair of trainers to suit your needs. With the right kicks, you’ll find yourself more balanced, lighter, and more confident on your runs!
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: IGNORING OTHER FORMS OF EXERCISE
Although running is already a great form of exercise for cardio and endurance training, it can’t be the only workout routine in your arsenal. Solely running ruins a balanced, well-rounded active lifestyle. Many runners still believe that training every day will help improve their performance. Without other exercise routines, you may not achieve the optimal performance you want.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: ACCOMPLISHING WELL-ROUNDED EXERCISE ROUTINES
Sam Greenwood, a physical literacy expert who has been in the fitness industry for 30 years, believes that focusing on running doesn’t necessarily make you a better runner. “There is too much emphasis on actual running, when in reality runners should be focusing on improving core skills such as strength, posture, stability and mobility,” he explains.
Strength training should be a part of your fitness routine for this is essential to keeping your body healthy and puts you at a lower risk for common running injuries [TWEET THIS!]. You don’t have to hit the gym to become a better runner. Simple strength training exercises like lunges, squats, deadlifts, and light-to-moderate weight lifting will help you become a better runner. “Speed will be determined most by your running form, but having strong legs and, particularly, a strong posterior chain (the muscles on the rear of the body) will help enormously,” Sean Hyson C.S.C.S., Group Training Director for Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness magazines said.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG: COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
There is no better inspiration and motivation to become a better runner than to look up to others. However, comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your progress because it conditions your mind to work harder and faster far too soon. Not only will you feel bad about not being as good as others but you might end up injuring yourself as well.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING: RUNNING FOR YOURSELF
“Compare yourself with yourself. There will always be someone faster and leaner and who looks more like a runner than you do. Focus on the improvements you want to make for yourself,” running coach Chris Heuisler said.
Instead of comparing yourself with others, create a running plan that allows you to build your stamina, mileage, and speed [TWEET THIS!]. Note down your weaknesses and figure out how to strengthen your weak spots. Don’t forget about your strengths and continue to develop them as well. Soon enough you’ll see that you’re as good as those who inspire you!
Running is not only a simple sport that allows you to workout anytime anywhere but it is also a great exercise for you to release stress and get your heart pumping. For beginners, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Pacing yourself is crucial to becoming a better runner and preventing injuries. Whether you’re a newbie or a frequent marathoner, listening to your body is the key to succeeding. It’s time to stop making these mistakes and be a better runner!
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