Wrong shoes: Not wearing proper running shoes is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a runner and it’s fairly common for beginners. It can lead to running injuries and extreme discomfort. It can become overwhelming trying to figure out what running shoe is best for you as there are hundreds upon hundreds of choices. My advice is to seek a running store in your area for a proper fitting and list of recommendations based on your pronation, cadence, and foot structure. Can’t locate a running store? Click here, here, and here for some tips and advice!
Not resting: Get some rest! Otherwise, you’ll be running on a road straight to injury city. Over-training is one of the leading causes of running related injuries. Today’s society is filled with the notion, “gotta have results now and fast!” Running success takes time, adequate rest, and injury prevention methods. You might as well say hello to your couch or bed if you don’t slow down, take it one day at a time, and gradually increase your mileage. Of course, it’s okay to push yourself, but not every single time. While you should earn your rest days, don’t turn that into what could end up being weeks of recovery from an over-training injury.
Going out too fast. Okay, so it’s finally race day and your adrenaline is pumping! You hear the gun go off and you want to immediately run faster than you’ve ever ran before. Don’t pay attention to the other runner’s abilities and allow them discourage you if you can’t keep up with their pace. There is a very wide variety of runners of all levels, from beginners to elite athletes. Don’t try to keep up with the elite runners. Conserve your energy for when you really need it. Aim to run the first mile slower than your last. Remember: a lot of races take finish line photos, so make it a picture worth a thousand words! ;)
Overstride. A lot of runners believe that the longer their stride, the faster or more efficient they will become at running. This is not the case. You’ll be wasting a lot of energy and the only thing you’ll gain is a nice injury. The most common injury due to overstriding is shin splints because you’re causing a “braking" action with each step. Shorten your stride and try focusing on landing on your mid-foot. It’s going to feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon get used to it and it will come naturally.
Bad running form. Believe it or not, developing proper running form takes a lot of practice. Some people feel that if they vigorously swing their arms back and forth, it will propel them forward at a faster rate. There’s no reason to use up all of your energy by overusing your arms; save it for your, ahem…legs. It’s also good practice not to slouch in order to breathe more efficiently. Stand up straight (like you’re proud to be a runner) and avoid tensing up by all means possible. If you’d like further information, please watch this good form running video.
Not hydrating properly. This is a given, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t hydrate enough or over hydrate. You need to be aware of your fluid intake before, during, and after running. You lose a lot of water and electrolytes through sweat while running and you can cause dehydration if you’re not careful. This even happens during on those brutally cold days, though a lot of people tend to think differently, therefore don’t drink as much during their runs. And lo and behold, too much of a good thing can be bad. Yes, you can over hydrate. Scary, right? Click here to read about hydration tips.
Inadequately fueling your tank. View your tummy as a gas tank. You need to provide your body with the right fuel to run efficiently. Proper nutrition plays a role in performance and energy levels as well as recovery. Foods high in fiber may cause gastrointestinal distress, also know as, I-need-a-bathroom-STATitis. If you’re running for more than 90 minutes at a time, it’s wise to bring something (gels, shot bloks, sports drinks, or bars) with you to replace some of calories that have been burned during your run. This requires trial and error. What works for someone else may not work for you.
Too much, too soon. Before you begin any new exercise program, you should first get the approval of your primary scare physician. So, you chose running? That’s wonderful! Here’s the thing; you won’t roll out of bed one morning with the endurance to run a marathon if you’ve never ran before. Therefore, don’t train like you do because true progress takes a lot of time, discipline, and commitment. Take it one week at a time and increase your mileage slowly, about 10% each week. Set small, feasible goals. If you’ve never ran a complete mile, aim to do that. If you’ve never ran a 5K, aim to do that. So on and so forth. If you set your goals too high in the beginning, you’re only going to set yourself up for failure. It’s all about baby steps!
Saying “I can’t.” You’d be surprised how much you’re capable of as long as you try. Prove to yourself that the little voice inside of your head is a liar for ever doubting the potential you have for greatness. Have you tried in the past and believe you
failed? You didn’t. The failure comes from not getting back up, moving forward, and trying again and again. Don’t allow yourself to feel defeated. Brush it off, move on, and say to yourself, “yes, I CAN.”
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