You’re done making excuses for not working out and so you get your running shoes out of the cupboard… Congrats, you’ve taken the first step! As you wipe the dust off your shoes, you envision yourself zipping by other runners and you can hardly wait to start running again. We know you’re excited about getting fit, but you need to take a step back and make sure that your running plan will help you and not hurt you. Running mistakes are very common, but knowing about them in advance can help you avoid them.
Common Running Mistakes That Beginners Make
It’s good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from others’ mistakes! Running mistakes can lead to serious injury including muscle strains and ligament tears which can derail your fitness plan for weeks or even months. A setback like that can be particularly discouraging and you might decide to just give up on your running plans and lose the fitness progress you’ve already made so far. You can avoid all of these unnecessary hassles just by avoiding these common running mistakes.
1. Choosing The Wrong Footwear
“Running shoes should provide adequate shock absorption and arch support”
You walk into a shoe store looking for a pair of sleek running shoes –there’s your first mistake right there! Don’t bother about the appearance of your shoes – what is important is that the shoe should be designed for running with cushioning as well as support features. The cushioning of a pair of good running shoes contains energy- absorbing material that dissipates shock arch support is important as it can reduce foot pain and improve posture.
2. Pushing Too Far, Too Soon
“Pushing too far, too soon is the cause of 60–70% of all running injuries”
Yes, we know you’re excited and enthusiastic, but you need to rein it in! Most beginners make the mistake of pushing themselves too hard too fast as they believe that they should push their boundaries in order to get better. This could not be further from the truth – studies show that pushing yourself past your limits while running will result in injuries such as shin splints, runner’s knee, and muscle and ligament damage.
Beginners are generally advised to start by walking briskly for a week or two before progressing to a jog and then a short run. Limit your weekly mileage increase to just 10% and if you experience any pain, stop your run for the day and only resume running the next day if you are sure that you are up to it. Don’t try to be a hero and run through the pain, you’ll only cause further damage.
3. Not Pacing Properly
“A steady run which is performed at a 2:1 ratio – 2 strides per breath”
Whether you are running a race or simply running in a park, learn to pace yourself properly. Improper pacing is one of the most common rookie running mistakes. The proper pace varies from person to person and depends largely on level of fitness, weight, and overall health. You can go for a steady run which is performed at a 2:1 ratio of steps to breathing – 2 strides per breath.
4. Not Warming Up & Cooling Down
“20-25% people who do not warm-up before running will experience pain 24-48 hours later”
Recently there has been a lot of controversy over the effectiveness of warm-up and cool down routines. However, there are plenty of studies that show that warm-up exercises help to increase body temperature which improves the blood flow to the muscles. A warm-up before running improves coordination and function by increasing the speed of nervous impulses and improving the sensitivity of nerve receptors.
Warm-up stretches and exercises also help to prevent muscle soreness – 20-25% people who do not warm-up before running will experience pain 24-48 hours later as compared to 3-5% of people who warm-up before they run. Similarly, studies show that cool down exercises can also play a key role in preventing muscle pain and aches.
5. Eating A Large Breakfast Just Before a Run
“52% of people experience a stitch if they eat before a run”
A large breakfast before a run will not help to fuel your run and instead it will slow you down and possibly cause stomach cramps – commonly referred to as a “stitch”. Studies showed that on average 52% of people experience a stitch if they eat before a run, while 38% experienced this type of pain shortly after ingesting fluids. You can have a small high-energy snack about 20 minutes before you head out for a run and have a full breakfast once you get back to avoid stomach cramps while running.
In addition to avoiding these running mistakes, you can also maximize the results of your run by adding in a short burst of backward running. Backward running offers many fitness benefits – it improves posture, increases weight loss, and provides greater muscle development. So start your fitness story – get running, and take it one step at a time!
August 29, 2018