6 of the Most Common Running Mistakes

Photo by Marques Jackson/ Filles Garçons Photography .

Photo by Marques Jackson/Filles Garçons Photography.

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Running is a simple enough exercise. However, propelling yourself rapidly on foot is not quite as straightforward as it sounds, at least if you intend to run regularly. We’ve put together a list of the top six most common running mistakes to help seasoned pros and beginners alike to avoid some of the most frequent pitfalls of running.

1. Trying to do too much

You saw this coming, didn’t you? Every runner will have heard this piece of advice at some point or another. It’s easy to think that this is only a beginner’s problem, but the fact is that it affects all runners at multiple points throughout their running journey. Experienced runners are less susceptible to pushing themselves too hard, but every now and again the temptation will appear, and it can be hard to resist. 

Perhaps you are overly ambitious with applying for marathons or pushing yourself to the breaking point to try and beat your best time. When your body starts hurting – listen to it. Set yourself realistic goals and don’t forget to schedule in an appropriate amount of rest days.

2. Not doing warm-ups and cool-downs

Stretching exercises might not be as fun as running, but they are an essential part of keeping yourself in tip-top condition. While most runners do remember to warm up, how many of us are guilty of skipping the cool-down? A light walk followed by some stretching before and after a run will help to reduce the risk of injury, meaning that you will be less achy and sore the next day. Stretching also has additional benefits; studies have shown that stretching promotes flexibility and can even improve concentration.

3. Wearing the wrong shoes

The most expensive running shoes are not necessarily going to be the ‘best’ for running. Neither are the ones that you find most comfortable. Wearing shoes that lack support or are the wrong size, grip or style can lead to injuries which may prevent you from running in the future. Running shoes need to fit not only your shoe size but also your running style, gait, and foot arches. 

Some shoes, such as those from Nike’s FlyKnit range are lightweight enough for those who don’t want something heavy but can still provide the necessary support for running. Find out which shoe models would work best for you by going to a specialist running shop where your running style can be analysed. 

4. Not being consistent

The key to success is consistency, and running is no different. If you only go for a run once in a blue moon, your progress will be minimal. Similarly, if you run 20 miles one week and then only three the next, you will effectively counteract any growth you have had. 

Consistency is about finding something that works for you and then sticking with it. This doesn’t mean running the same route all the time or doing the same mileage each run. However, it does mean planning your training in advance so that instead of running three times one week and five times the next, you are running four times a week. Being consistent will mean that you can progress at an even pace and develop your abilities steadily (and reliably) over time.

5. Not pushing yourself enough

Although pushing yourself too hard can be damaging to your health and your running progress; pushing yourself too little can also stop you from achieving your running-related goals. Getting comfortable in your running routine may sound appealing, but it is a sure-fire way to stagnate. 

Comfort can be a good thing, and if you have no interest in progressing your running ability, then why not enjoy it? But if you want to beat your best time or do another marathon, then setting yourself incrementally harder targets is crucial.

6. Not drinking enough water

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It sounds simple, and everyone already knows that they should do it, but under-hydrating is still a common mistake (especially for beginners). Even experienced runners are guilty of underestimating the amount of fluid lost during a run, so it is important to carefully monitor your fluid intake before, during and after a run to make sure you do not experience dehydration, which can seriously damage your health.

What have been your biggest running mistakes in your training? And how have you adapted from the mistakes? Comment below.

Related Posts: Interval Training for Beginners, Get Faster with Tempo Runs, NYC Marathon Tips

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