You’re motivated, you’ve read all about how to start running, you’ve figured out your route and you’re ready to put your iPod on shuffle, earphones in, to then sprint off into the distance! However, before you set off, we’ve got a few points of advice you might want to consider reading over to help you as a runner learn from the running mistakes that some runners we know have already made. To make running a habit it takes time, patience and dedication but the reward you get from it in both the long term (fitness/health) and short term (runner’s high) is unmatchable. Eager to set out, it is easy to make a few mistakes as unlike in other sports, most of us don’t have a running trainer helping us out.
Running Mistakes to Avoid
So, here are a few running mistakes that beginners tend to make, and some which even experienced runners make. Read the ones mentioned below and try to avoid them.
1. Starting Too Ambitious:
First and foremost, one of the running mistakes that most of the beginners tend to make is being too ambitious when starting out. Running places more pressure on your knees and ankles than walking does, along with that it increases your heart rate significantly; when over-exerting all of a sudden, your not-trained-for run body can go into a shock.
Start small. Build up to it. Let your body get used to it. A tip is to start walking regularly: incorporate a daily walk at a brisk pace into your lifestyle. Over time, start switching up between brisk walking and 2-5 minutes of running – always increasing the running time and reducing the walking time.
Setting out too ambitious is more often than not a setback rather than jumpstart.
2. Strictly Running:
One of the basic running mistakes is not realizing that running, just like any other sport, is physical exertion. Physical exertion is strenuous work on the muscles and organs of the body.
In order to keep running, it is essential to begin incorporating other activities into a workout to support your budding passion. Strengthen your body, most importantly core muscles and heart, and as a result, reduce the risk of injury while running.
Running is the product of your workout.
3. Skipping Leg Day
On top of a good running form, a fit heart and a strong core; you cannot skip leg day. Your legs, hips and lower back carry all the weight of your body while running. So strengthening those three sections of yourself are greatly recommended, if not vital, and an avoidable running mistake is not doing so.
Strengthening exercises which are easy to complete at home would be squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, step-ups and, as a warm-up/cool down option: jump rope.
Strong legs make a strong runner.
4. Spending the Next Few Hours on the Couch:
It’s easy to unlock your front door panting and head straight to the couch and TV remote after kicking off your sneakers and having grabbed a glass of water, but spending the next few hours on the couch post-run will result in lasting stiffness and sore legs – again one of the common amateur running mistakes that most of us make!
Make sure to stretch your legs as well as back consistently in the next few hours after your run. Keep yourself moving, slowly letting your heart rate slow down again. Invest in a foam roller to relieve the tension from your quadriceps and hamstrings.
Cooling down post-run is just as important as warming up pre-run.
5. Ignoring Rest Days
Working running into your routine and staying regular to the sport is a great development. However, with regular running comes regular rest – you need to establish a balance. Start small running maybe twice a week and build up to five times maximum. Running daily does not give your body enough time to recover, rest and possibly heal any minor injuries you may not have been yet aware of.
Your muscles have to grow and adjust to your running and can only do so while the body is at rest. Steer clear of these running mistakes and make sure stick to a healthy sleep schedule and don’t ignore rest days.
There has to be a balance between work (running) and play (resting).
6. Forgetting to Stay Hydrated
For obvious reasons of being the hottest time of the day, it is advised not to set out on your daily jog between 12 noon and 3 pm. But even when heading out in the morning or late afternoon, consuming the right amount of water to keep you feeling hydrated and alert is essential. If you’re not a fan of carrying a water bottle while you run make sure to plan your route keeping in mind where to get water in case you were to need any.
On the other end of the spectrum, another running mistake is to run with a full stomach of water. Best would be to continuously sip water throughout the day making hydration a part of your lifestyle and not just your run.
Not hydrating yourself can lead to fainting, collapse as well as injury.
7. Not eating at all pre-run
You cannot run on only water, you need the energy to run, and energy comes from food. The common running mistakes that most beginners make is skipping meals to avoid running on a full stomach.
Well, we would suggest to rather prepare yourself a light and healthy snack or meal at least an hour before you set out. Let your body digest the meal and break down the food into the energy you will need for your run.
The broken down food supplies glucose to your muscles – the energy supply that keeps your muscle working and not cramping up!
8. Eating Heavy Pre-run
Just as you wouldn’t be able to have a successful run on an empty stomach, you definitely won’t get far with a full one. Hence, the same advice for above goes for this point as well. Plan your runs according to your meals. Make sure your blood sugar levels are not falling low right around the time you plan to go on your run.
Break down your three daily meals, into five smaller ones evenly spaced through your day.
9. Getting Attached to your Sneakers
If you’re the generally sporty type hitting up the gym or sports club every so often, there is a chance that you might have a favourite pair of sports shoes… and you will wear those sports shoes until you run them into the ground; big yet surprisingly one of the most common running mistakes. Although saving you a few bucks through using your shoes to the fullest, you’re probably better off replacing those shoes before you’re suddenly running in your socks.
If your shoes are showing signs of wear or going stiff with time, get rid of them. Any rips or a worn away midsole or heel as well as uneven balance when placed on a flat surface are all signs that your shoes are getting old.
Although costly, good running shoes are an investment over cheap running shoes.
10. Letting your Playlist go Old
Music is scientifically proven to have an effect on our mood; it can make us happy, sad, excited, relaxed, and so on.
So a good playlist to listen to while your feet pound the pavement can not only get you excited to start running, but also keep you going for longer. Make sure to update your playlist regularly to stay motivated.
Faster paced songs will keep you moving faster.
11. Trying to set a new personal record with every run
Running is something you need to prime your body towards and it takes time to improve whether it be in terms of speed or stamina. Consistently training and slowly increasing at your own pace will get you further in the long term than always challenging your personal best.
Make it a point to track progress by measuring your personal best every 3 or 4 weeks. A running mistake is trying to beat your personal best with every run you embark on. Give yourself time.
Don’t over exert yourself always trying to set a new personal best.
12. Not having a Plan B: How to get back home?
Plan A would be to run back home. But if it starts pouring (or more accurately, the sun starts blinding), it starts to get dark, you lose a shoe or experience dehydration, pain or fatigue you’re going to need a Plan B. Do not make the mistake of not planning your backup route back home. Stick your bus pass, or some cash to catch a rickshaw or a cab, into your pocket (or really anywhere it’ll hold) so that in a worst case scenario you’re not stranded. Have a plan B for yourself!
Have a plan B for yourself!
Once you’ve changed into your comfortable sportswear, invested in your sneakers and read through the twelve points on the most common running mistakes above, you’re as good as prepared. Start at your own pace and slowly build up. Go out and make your own mistakes (hopefully no injuries though) because those are the ones you’ll truly learn from – and feel free to come back here and comment so that we can add on!
Once you’ve built up your running skills, maybe a marathon is your next move? Read up on 5 Things To Keep In Mind Before Your First Marathon Run .