Not many exercises will burn calories and raise your heart rate quite like running does. However, if you’re not careful, this type of training may actually have adverse consequences, such as suppressing your immune system or even knocking you right off of your feet.
Thankfully, if you pay attention to your pains and recognize your own bad habits, you’ll quickly learn what your body requires to face these strenuous workouts. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes to be aware of.
10 Common Running Mistakes to Avoid
1. Running Too Much, Too Soon
While it’s tempting to see how far you can push yourself, you are risking an injury if you go too far. It has been suggested that a mileage increase of 10% every week (known as the 10-percent rule) is the very maximum you should be attempting. Furthermore, you must always listen to your joints for warning signals and be additionally cautious if you’re still recovering from a previous injury.
2. Inadequate Refueling
It’s no secret that your diet plays a key role in your peak performance. Consume high protein meals to power your muscles, and load up on carbs to fuel yourself (especially after a big run). Water is also imperative in replacing your lost fluids, which is why you need to stay hydrated even if it might slow your time down a little bit.
3. Ignoring the Sunscreen
The sun’s rays do wonders for your health in moderation, but if you’re an outside runner, then your skin is susceptible to premature aging or even cancer. Do not let the cool wind rushing past your face deceive you, and keep safe by slapping on that protective layer of sunscreen. If you are known to sweat quite a lot, carry a batch with you and reapply regularly.
4. Running as Your Only Workout
Of course, if you want to be the best runner possible, you need to practice running. However, it’s still crucial to maintain a balance of overall fitness, otherwise, your body may fall out of tune with itself, and this can cause a repetitive strain injury. Try cross-training with swimming, cycling, or yoga as this will substantially improve your whole game.
5. The Posture is Not Aligned Properly
A common mistake that many athletes make is one of bad posture, most notably by watching the ground as they run. Your entire body is connected through your spine, meaning that any instability can leave every aspect of your physique under threat. Keep your head up, lean forward slightly, and remember to see your doctor immediately if you experience any spinal pain. Even if you’re taking a break, you must ensure that you’re undergoing the right treatment for your upper back to avoid permanent problems.
6. Not Resting Enough
The negative consequences of overtraining are vast and include a decreased performance, the loss of motivation, and an exhausted immune system. Muscles need time to rebuild. If your body isn’t functioning as well as it was before, take this as a warning message, and relax for a few days.
7. Incorrect Footwear
Whether blisters, plantar fasciitis, or tendonitis, there is a good chance that your injury was related to the wrong shoes. Remember that price tags or brand names are not necessarily the best fit for your specific foot, so test out a few pairs until you find the most comfortable step. If you suffer from flat feet, experiment with insoles, and if your favorite shoes are looking somewhat weathered, it might be time to replace them.
The occasional ache is to be expected, and can often be an indicator that you’ve completed a worthwhile session. However, if the pain persists for longer than a few days, don’t hope for the best by relying on painkillers or ice therapy. Rather, be safe in times of uncertainty and speak to your doctor, otherwise, your injury may develop into something far more serious.
9. Exclusively Running on Hard Surfaces
Each strike of your foot against the taxing pavement is known to place an immense pressure on your knees. A simple method of alleviating this persistent beating is to switch up your surfaces and explore an off-road path every now and again, as this break on softer terrain should alleviate some of that repetitive tension.
10. Not Sleeping Enough
Without the sufficient amount of slumber, you can’t expect your body to function at any reasonable level. Your mental awareness will be foggy, your cells won’t have rejuvenated to their best ability, and the recovery time of your muscles may be noticeably reduced. The recommended 7 – 8 hours should be incorporated as an essential part of your training, so go to bed earlier and wake up to your greatest performance yet.
-By James Flemming
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