Running is a simple sport, not much is required to run. You don’t need a ton of equipment and running is a great way to improve on your health, spend time outside, and connect with community.
Still, if you are new to the sport (or coming back from injury) there are some notable errors that you can make when running.
Let us help stop you from making the same mistakes we have all made prior to you.
Trying to progress too quickly
The troublesome "toos". New runners tend to get so excited about their running that they do too much mileage and run too fast all too soon. You have seen it, or maybe you have done it! We see them start registering for lots of races, without taking any time off to rest and recover.
They mistakenly think that "more is better" when it comes to running. This behavior can, and will, result in injury. The most commo overuse injuries are shin splints, runner's knee, and IT Band Sydrome. In other cases, the runner may get burned out and lose interest in running.
When beginng to run, you must be conservative with how much, how often, and how long you run. You are in the development stages and increasing your mileage 10% every two weeks is a nice gradual beginning. If you're very new to running or are coming off a long hiatus, begin with a run/walk program.
Running in the wrong shoes or shoes that are worn out.
Wearing old running shoes or wearing the wrong type of running shoes for your feet and your running style can lead to injuries.
When you make the decision to start running it is imparative that you get the right shoe.
Going to your local running store where they can evaluate your running style and foot type (whether you're an over-pronator, under-pronator, or neutral runner), they will guide you to the right shoe.
Once you get the right pair of running shoes, make sure you replace them every 300 miles, because the loss of cushioning can lead to injuries.
This can be the most difficult thing for a runner. As a runner we are taught, geared towards, and trained to run through pain. But sometimes the pain is telling us something, it is not just fatigue you are running through. If you don't stop to access the problem at hand soon it could turn from something that would only require a 2 week rest into a few months of rehab or even sugery.
Don't ignore pain, listen to your body.
Not getting adequate nutrition/hydration
Many runners ignore their need for adaquate nutrition. It could be possible you started running to lose weight; however, running performance and overall health goes hand in hand with nutrition. What, and when, you eat before, during, and after your runs has a huge effect on your performance and your recovery.
We recommend eating a light snack or meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before a run. Choose something high in carbohydrates and low in fat, fiber, and protein. To avoid stomach issues, stay away from rich, high-fiber, and high-fat foods.
If you're running more than 90 minutes, you need to replace some of the calories you're burning. You can get carbs on the run through sports drinks or solid foods that are easily digested.
Also, many runners underestimate how much fluid they lose during run. Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they're drinking before, during, and after exercise.
An hour before you start your run, try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid.
During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intakes should include a sports drink (Nunn, Skratch, Roctane) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
Don't forget to rehydrate with water or a sports drink after your run too!
Overtraining/Always running fast and not enough recovery
Some runners who are training with certain goals run too hard, run too many miles, and don't incorporate proper recovery time. They are under the assumption that running every day will help them get fitter and faster. Overtraining is the leading cause of injury and burnout.
To avoid overtraining, it's important to incorporate rest and recovery into your training.
Increase mileage gradually.
Give yourself periodic "rest weeks" by dropping your mileage every fourth week.
After a hard run, take a day off. Rest days are important for your recovery and performance.
Add cross training to your schedule. Doing activities other than running prevents boredom, works out different muscles, and can give your running muscles and joints a break.
Skipping drills and strength training
The introduction of running drills, if only once a week, can reinforce the most fundamental and underappreciated concepts behind running performance. Injury prevention for runners comes down to either running less or strengthening the body more. Running drills help enforce the fact that if you are constantly raising the demands on your body through running, unless you add suitable weekly conditioning exercises to your training program, you will eventually reach your limits and most likely get injured.
Bodies that are strong, lack imbalances, and have stability do not break down as much. The output of power increases and the body is more resilient in its training. In general, runners who lift weights have better running form and are less prone to injury. Running is a limited and repetitive motion; but, most runners know that including cross-training, stability, and balance into your regimen will help to compliment the continuous use of the same muscle groups that's required for distance running.
Strength training can help to improve your running form and when you put more muscle on your bones it helps to dampen the effects of the forces put on your bones when you run. In order to build strength, you need to load the tissue enough to challenge the body and force it to adapt. If you are an athlete that often suffers from stress fractures, weight training can help you out.
In summary, runner may seem simple - go out the door and run! However, a lot goes into how you can keep longevity in the sport by avoiding injury, burnout, poor nutrition, and more. We hope these tips were helpful and happy running!