While running is a great way to get in shape and strengthen your cardiovascular health, there are specific techniques, warm-up methods, and diets that beginners should follow to get the most out of their next work out. Because it is such physically demanding exercise, it is also important to know your limitations and not overstress your body, muscles, or joints. The following are a few of the other mistakes that beginning runners make.
1. Lack of Adequate Warm-up
Your muscles need a certain amount of time to stretch and starting off at a sprint can lead to leg cramps or strained ligaments. This is especially important when it is cold outside, as your muscles will be tense to begin with.
2. You Always Complete the Same Warm-up
While you might be a fan of routine, running for the same amount of time on the same terrain can lead to boredom and your health may simply plateau after a certain point. Incorporating varied terrain, sprints, and longer endurance runs are great for any runner— beginner or experienced.
3. Too Many Layers
Even though it might be chilly outside, layering on your clothes is never a good idea when going for a run. While you should be content enough to be comfortable during a run, wearing too many clothes can lead to excess sweat (causing dehydration) and reduced performance.
4. Starting Too Fast
Everyone has made this mistake, don’t worry. You feel pumped and ready to go and are confident that your abundant energy store will never run out, but after a few miles, you will definitely regret your decision. A crazy fast start almost always makes for a painfully slow finish.
5. Ignoring Your Body
If running has become a passion, it is understandable that you might ignore a small pain in your leg or feeling that something is wrong to go hit the trail, but ignoring your body’s warnings could be detrimental. Now, normal aches and pains are common in beginning runners, so this is not an excuse to never get outside! But some injuries can be easily prevented by staying home and stretching out the persistent cramp or pain, so the bottom line is to pay attention.
6. Wrong Shoes
There is no denying that quality running shoes are expensive, but the support and shock-absorption they offer your foot are unmatched. Old sneakers and shoes that lack proper arch support can actually lead to significant injuries, so it is imperative that you have the proper footwear for the job. It is also recommended you replace your shoes every 300-350 miles depending on the brand and terrain you run on, because the cushioning deteriorates over time.
A common injury-causing technique among beginning runners is overstriding— or landing heel first with a long stride. This incorrect method affects your body’s center of gravity and can lead to painful shin splints. Although your intuition might lead you to believe that a longer stride leads to speedier mile times, it actually only wastes energy and can cause your efficiency to decrease. To correct this issue, ensure you’re running mid-sole with your foot balanced directly underneath you!
While running may look easy, there are proper techniques that should be closely adhered to for beginners and experts alike. Your health and safety on the trail depends on it.