Running is an excellent way to get in shape and something almost everyone can do

It’s one of the easiest ways to exercise, and you can do it just about anywhere. However, anyone who has run any distance has made mistakes.

Epic shoe fails. Getting sidelined by injury.

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Below are five common mistakes that most runners make at some point.

Keep these in mind to decrease your rate of injury and increase your chance of running success!

1) Starting out way too fast

Whether it’s a regular run, or a race, most runners don’t take the time to properly warm up or warm into the run. Warming up the body and the muscles you intend to use while running is key in keeping your body healthy, as well as getting your nervous system ready for what you’re about to do.

Spend at least 15-20 minutes in warm up: Foam roll if you can; loosen up the major joints of the body (ankle rolls, knee, hip, head & shoulder circles); do some dynamic stretching; leg swings, fire hydrants, clam shells – warm up those glutes.

When you finally get into the run, don’t begin with your every day running or race pace. Take some time going slow. Take the first mile and really get inside your body.

What are your running “issues”? 

Take some time to address them. Do a mental body scan. Release any tension you may be holding. Relax into it, and then run. This is especially key during a race. Going out too fast will get you later. Aim to run with a negative split (the last half faster than the first).

2) Ignoring rest days and recovery weeks

Running can be high impact and hard on the body. Plus many runners are type A. They go, go, GO and push aside the need for rest or recovery.

Don’t be one of these runners

Again, it increases the chance of injury – and no one likes to be sidelined by pain. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Vary your runs. Slide in an easy run after a hard work out.

Schedule a week of recovery in the midst of building mileage to allow your body to adapt. Take rest days where you don’t do anything. You don’t cross train or go to power yoga. No cycling or swimming. REST, Recover and then Run.

3) Fuel

Fueling your body on the run is tricky, because everyone is different. This is a place to experiment. I can tell you to carb load, eat lean protein, stick with gels in a race or drink water every hour on the hour – but what do I know?

Only you can know what works for you and the day to find out is not race day.

common running mistakes_2

Keep a running log or notebook as you begin to train. Write down mileage, pace, feel, fuel – pre/post and during the run. Note how you felt pre, post and during the run. If a run is particularly hard, notice what you ate and drank in the last 24 hours.

Did you drink enough water? Did you carry fuel with you? Is anything different? Experiment and find what works for you.

4) Run through pain

Running can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re new to the sport. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run a race and listened in on pain conversations.

It’s mile 6 of a marathon and someone’s knee is killing them, but they’re gonna make it to the finish line.

Please don’t.

Listening to your body is key on the run, and pain is an indicator. Mental pain you can push through. Physical pain listen to. If it subsides quickly, you’re likely ok. However, if it persists heed the pain. It is not weakness leaving your body. Ignore it, and risk standing on the sidelines.

5) Shoes

Shoes are not some magic tool that will fix all problems. Inserts aren’t either. If you’re correcting your foot strike or pain with shoes and inserts, you’re treating a symptom and not addressing the problem.

Ideally, you want the most minimal shoe you can get away with. BUT you cannot go from a built out shoe, to a minimal shoe over night. You must take time to strengthen your feet. Walk barefoot. Notice how you stand on your feet all day long. Notice how you move your body.

Pronation isn’t a bad thing, and having a high arch doesn’t mean you can’t run. Find a shoe that feels good for you, no matter what anyone else tells you. Make sure you can wiggle your toes and your feet have room to move.

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