Do you make these easy-to-fix running mistakes? Read on to find out more and discover the simple tweaks you can make to become a stronger, faster runner.
As a new runner do you sometimes wonder if you’re doing things right? Maybe you took advice from someone more experienced than you but for some reason, you always feel overly exhausted for days after your run? Perhaps you run with a group but find yourself struggling with injuries more than anyone else? Or maybe you’ve only laced up once or twice and you have no idea what you’re doing?
Avoid These Running Mistakes
Either way, there’s no need to worry, because in this article we’re going to break down the top mistakes that most new runners make and show you the simple tweaks you can make to fix them.
So if you’re a new runner and you want to get it right, read on to find out how.
You’re Too Enthusiastic
It might sound weird to say but there is such a thing as being too enthusiastic about an activity and in the case of running, it could lead to injuries. A lot of new runners can’t wait to get started so they hit the road and clock up the mileage much faster than they should. When you also consider that most new runners don’t have a clue about pacing it’s easy to see why so many pick-up injuries relatively soon after starting.
Running places a lot of strain and pressure on the joints and by putting your body through more stress than it can handle so soon after starting, you’re going to end up hurting yourself sooner rather than later.
Solution: Take it slow and increase the mileage at a more comfortable pace.
You Believe in ‘No Pain, No Gain”
Whether you’re new to running, or exercise in general, you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘No Pain, No Gain’ more than a few times. Well, the thing is, in the overwhelming majority of exercises, pain is bad and when you feel it, you should stop. However, a lot of new runners don’t realize this.
They think that pain ‘must mean its working’ so they keep on pushing, to their downfall.
You need to be able to tell the difference between when you’re body is working hard and when you’re struggling. Whether it’s your knee, your ankle, or your back if you feel pain when you run you should stop.
Solution: Make sure you have the right footwear on and you’re stretching beforehand. When you actually run, make sure you have a smooth, even stride pattern and you’re not landing flat-footed, putting extra stress through your joints. If you experience pain when you run, seek medical help.
You Give Up Too Easily
When we say this, you must understand the difference between pain and discomfort. We are not saying you should keep going when you feel pain, see above, that would be wrong.
What we are saying is that as a new runner when you get a little tired or the run gets difficult that is perfectly ok (and normal) and in those conditions, you should keep going. Unfortunately, a lot of new runners feel tired and decide that they’ve had enough and that it’s time to stop which will never truly allow them to improve or get faster. There will be times when you push yourself harder and you have to dig in to complete your session, that’s good and by doing this, you’ll get stronger and faster over time as those difficult runs become easier than you’d ever imagine.
Solution: Try including intervals, sprints, and hills into your routine, as these are great ways of challenging yourself. You’ll realize you’re capable of so much more and your performance will increase dramatically.
You Don’t Fuel Yourself Properly
You might not be an Olympic athlete but it doesn’t mean you should skimp on your nutrition. While water is a given, it’s also important you understand how to fuel yourself before and after you run whether it’s a quick one that only lasts 30-minutes or a long run with lots of miles.
Your pre-race meals should revolve around carbohydrates and you should take on enough fluids to hydrate your body.
After your run, you’ll want to aim for something protein based with some healthy fats to go with it and a protein shake or sports drink could also help you to replace the electrolytes you’ve lost.
It’s also worth remembering your overall goals because if you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll need to keep an eye on your calorie intake too.
Solution: Plan your meals ahead of time and where possible prepare in advance so that you have the right foods available for when you want them.
You Only Focus on the Run
Now that you’re thinking about what you eat before and after the run you should also think about how you look after your body. A lot of new runners are guilty of only focusing on the run. They set aside an hour to go running and that’s it. They’ll head off, run for an hour then come home and get on with their day. Trouble is, what you do before and after is just as important as the run itself.
Before you start you must make sure you prepare your body by warming up, stretching off, and making sure you’re prepared for the session so that you limit your chance of injury.
It’s the same for once you’ve finished your run. Instead of grabbing food and hitting the showers immediately after your run, you should make time to stretch and cool down properly.
Skipping the cool down is a big reason why so many runners struggle to walk the day after a run and it‘s also a contributing factor in developing tight muscles that pull, snap, or strain the next time you try to lace up.
Solution: Prioritize pre-run preparation and post-run care. It will help to reduce the risk of injury and help your performance.
But It Works For Me So Why Change?
Over the years plenty of runners have faced the issues addressed in this article refused to change, claiming that it’s just their running style and they know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, the thing is many of these issues may not present themselves immediately, but instead may become a concern 5, 10, or 15 years down the line.
Sure, pushing through the pain barrier and believing in No Pain, No Gain may sound cool now, but it probably won’t be as fun when you’re struggling to walk in 10 years due to debilitating knee pain. And while stretching after a workout may be boring, it’s certainly better than popping a hamstring due to excessively tight muscles.
Which is why we’re identifying these issues before it’s too late. So you can do something about it and fix it before it becomes a much bigger problem.
Running is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, it’s also something that a lot of people struggle with. They suffer from injuries, discomfort, and pain and decide that running isn’t for them, however, it doesn’t have to be this way. By following the advice in this article, you can reduce your chances of developing an injury or causing serious harm to your body.
If you do make some of the mistakes listed here, perhaps you skip the cool down after a run or maybe you’re guilty of pushing yourself too hard, the important thing to remember is it’s not too late to fix it.
Follow the solutions listed and find a way to make your running experience a more enjoyable and beneficial one. Not only will you start to get more enjoyment out of your runs, but you’ll also see a huge boost in performance and recovery as you give your body the respect it deserves.
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