7 mistakes every runner makes
Running pitfalls and how you can avoid them
Whether you’ve just started in the world of running or your name is Mo Farah, we can guarantee that you are making running mistakes without even realising it. These running mistakes are all easily made, but each one can seriously damage your running performance. Here’s what to look out for, and how to avoid them.
You’re too tense
A relaxed runner is an efficient runner. Tensing up while you run leads to poor running form, which in turn leads to wasted energy. Whenever you’re running do a mental check on any areas of tension, particularly in your upper body, and try to relax them. Are your shoulders feeling tight? Have your arms started to tense up and cross over when you swing them? Are you balling up your fists too tightly? Try to perform these checks every mile and relax any problem areas of your body, and you’ll soon find that your running efficiency increases.
When your training is going great it’s very easy to fall into the trap of doing too much of it. A good rule of thumb to follow is never going above a 10-15 per cent increase in training distance per week. Any more than this and you risk overtraining. Research published in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that even elite athletes can react badly to overtraining, displaying both physical and emotional stress. That means putting those extra few miles in might not be so good for your training after all, and could even have a negative effect on your overall fitness.
You start sessions too quickly
You know the feeling: you’re out for a run, feeling like a million dollars, and you set off like a bullet. Fast forward two miles and you’re slumped over gasping for air wishing you’d started a bit more steadily. Saving your energy at the start of a training session or race will make you a better runner, as you’ll be able to run at a more consistent pace and finish strongly. The stats back this up; of the last five 10,000m world records, two were set with an even split, and three were set with a negative split.
You don’t buy new running shoes often enough
According to research carried out at the University of Colorado, running shoes that have been over-used lead to reduced efficiency and an increased chance of injury. It’s recommended that you replace your running shoes after you’ve run around 400 miles in them, and it’s extremely important that you keep track of this. Many runners who rely on visually assessing their shoes will find themselves suffering from injuries. This is because most shoes will see significant deterioration in the cushioning before they show any visual signs of wear.
You don’t refuel after training sessions
When you’ve finished a training run it’s perfectly normal to not feel like eating, according to research into athletes’ appetites carried out at Brigham University in Utah. However, refuelling your body after a training run is extremely important if you want to become a better runner. The National Council on Strength and Fitness recommends a meal with a protein to carbohydrate ratio of 3:1 for optimum muscle repair and development. The 45 minutes after your training session are when your body is able to absorb the most nutrients, so this is the time you need to target for your protein and carbohydrate filled recovery meal or snack.
You don’t vary your training
Want to get bored of running and reach a plateau? If you’re running the same old training sessions over and over again you’re going about it the right way. Variety is a runner’s best friend, and without it you’ll seriously struggle. Try to incorporate new training sessions like intervals or fartlek into your schedule. Or even try something as simple as running on some new terrain. Anything that mixes up your usual running routine and that challenges your body will make you a better runner.
You wear too many clothes
When you exercise, your body becomes warmer – it’s simple science, and will happen to everyone. That’s why when you wrap up warm to go out for a run, you feel far too hot after a couple of miles. Far from just making you feel uncomfortable, researchers at the University of Wales found that exercising when you’re too hot can lead to stress, reduced performance, and reduced immune system function. If you’re exercising in cold weather, wear clothing that leaves you feeling slightly cool when you step outside. By the time you start running you’ll soon warm up to a more comfortable temperature.