5 things every runner gets wrong
Mistakes all runners make
Mistakes, we’ve all made a few in our time. Here we show you five things most runners still get wrong and show you how to become a better runner.
You don’t know what type of runner you are
People run for different reasons and want to get different things out of their sessions. Not knowing what type of runner you are means that you won’t know what you want from your training and therefore you cannot tailor your run to your needs and your goals.
How runners can get it right: To work out what type of runner you are look at the below and try to identify with the runner that best suits you. Once you’ve identified a runner you relate to you will be able to tailor your sessions to suit you.
- The competitor: You constantly strive to beat your last PB and are obsessed with times. If you meet another runner the first thing you ask them is how fast they can run a mile in.
- The health-conscious runner: You run to keep healthy and enter races to keep you motivated. You care about your time, but keeping your body in tip-top shape is your main concern.
- The running lover: You run because you enjoy it and love the sense of freedom it gives you. You don’t tend to time yourself and don’t particularly enjoy competition.
You sprint at the end of a run
Sprinting at the end of a run can leave you feeling like you’ve given your all in the session, yet it’s not very good for our bodies. After a run your muscles are tired and therefore pushing yourself extra hard in the final 100 metres or so means that you’ll lose your running form and it will increase your chances of giving yourself a nasty injury.
How runners can get it right: The best way to avoid finishing on a sprint is to just stop. If you miss going up a gear and giving your legs a big challenge, then try to incorporate some speed sessions into your training.
You’re too big or too small
Many of us start to run in order to shed weight, but once you get to the stage when you refer to yourself as a ‘serious’ runner you might start to think about weight a little differently. If you carry too much weight your heart and lungs have to work harder, which negatively affects your efficiency and makes you slower. Yet remember losing too much weight can mean you lose strength and good health, which again can have a negative effect on your running.
How runners can get it right: Bob and Shelly Glover, the authors of The Competitive Runner’s Handbook, give a formula that can help competitive, serious runners work out their optimum weight:
- Men: To work out how much you should weigh as a serious male runner Bob and Shelly Glover suggest you measure your height in inches and times that figure by two, before adding 10 per cent.
- Women: To work out how much you should weigh as a serious female runner Bob and Shelly Glover suggest you should weight around 120lbs (54kg) if you are five foot six inches. For every inch above this height add 3lbs (1.3kg) and for every inch less than this height subtract 3lbs.
Remember though that these are not exact figures and are only for the very serious runner. The authors of The Competitive Runner’s Handbook also suggest that there is leeway within these weights of 10 to 15lbs (4.5-6.5kg).
You have terrible posture when running
Some of us like to plod, others like to shimmy, but whatever your running style there should be no place for poor posture in your running style. A poor posture can make you slower, can cause injuries and can make you a far less efficient runner than you could be.
How runners can get it right: Your posture is something you have to work at to improve and you should consciously think about it whenever you put on your running shoes and head out. Here are a few tips to help you improve your running posture:
- Release the tension in your shoulders by stretching this area of your body or doing a few shoulder shrugs. When running make sure your shoulders are level and not too tight.
- Keep your arms and legs moving in straight lines and don’t twist or run from side to side. Imagine that you are holding onto two straight, taut ropes when running to help you maintain this running posture.
- Try to be as tall as possible when running and run with your shoulders back and with a straight spine. Your chin should also be level with the floor.
You don’t eat for speed
You may eat healthily, but do you eat for speed? Certain foods can help you run better and faster and if you want to run well these foods should definitely be on your shopping list.
How runners can get it right: Eat some of the following foods regularly and see if you’re running is improved:
- Salmon: Salmon’s high levels of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids means that it’s great for your heart and your lungs, which in turn means salmon is great for your running speed.
- Oatmeal porridge: Oatmeal porridge provides you with the optimum mix of protein, fiber and slow-release energy.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are full of carbs that will power your run, plus their high levels of dietary fiber will help to maintain your blood sugar levels and ensure your energy doesn’t dip during your run.