People. Born to make mistake so they say. That's what we are. Err...is that Human?
Since time immemorial all the world's thinking population carefully give great thought on good health, fitness and general well-being. Now where can I find a stat of that? How many engaged in sports? How many just decided to diet? How many did nothing despite the desire for it?
Some "sprinter" friends call me a jogger. Well, we have different reasons for running. Yet, we all want to be fit and healthy. While we all learn from experience, I see no harm in trying to do anything perfectly the first time. One good way to do just that is to start by being forewarned thru reading.
Now let's see our common mistakes:
Wearing old running shoes or wearing the wrong type of running shoes for your foot and running style can lead to running injuries.
Have your gait checked and evaluated. Find out whether you are an overpronator, underpronator, or neutral runner, then BUY the right shoes after hearing out some recommendations.
Replace the shoe you just bought (duh?) after 300-350 miles (suggested retail mileage) because the loss of cushioning can lead to injuries. About halfway through the life of your shoes, you might want to buy another pair to rotate into your runs. Your shoes will last longer when you allow them to decompress and dry out between workouts. Also, having a fresh pair of shoes as a reference will help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced. (Now that's an expensive habit!)
The FUTILE WORK-OUT
Know your heart rate. You'll get the most out of your activities by staying within this range of heartbeats/minute.
Some amongst us run too hard, run too many miles, and just simply don't allow for proper recovery time. Maybe running every day will help them get fitter and faster. Well, good news! Overtraining is the leading cause of injury and burnout for runners. Buy one now!
Increase your mileage gradually. Progress gradually. Don't let your weekly mileage increase by more than 10%. Only a few people I know DO follow this idea.
Give yourself periodic "rest weeks" by dropping your mileage by 50% every fourth week.
After a hard run, take a day off. Rest days are important for your recovery and performance.
Add some cross-training activities to your schedule. Doing activities other than running prevents boredom, works different muscles, and can give your running muscles and joints a break. Join me Paddle, Climb and Hike!
The Terrible 2
That's TOO much of anything. Many runners, especially people who are new to running, get so excited and enthused about their running that they do too much mileage, too fast, too soon. They mistakenly think that "more is better" when it comes to running. As a result, they often start to develop common overuse running injuries, such as shin splints, runner's knee, or ITB syndrome.
Be more conservative than you think you need to be with how often, how long, and how much you run, especially early on in your development. If you're new to running or are coming off a long break, start with walking first, and then progress into a run/walk program.
Pay attention to aches and pains. If a pain gets worse as you continue runs, that's a warning sign that you should stop your run. Listen to your body for injury warning signs and know when you shouldn't run through pain.
Take at least one complete day off from exercise each and every week. Don't ignore rest days -- they're important to your recovery and injury prevention efforts. Your muscles build and repair themselves during your rest days. So if you run every day, you're not going to gain much strength and you're increasing your risk of injury.
"The" TIMING IS ESSENTIAL
DON'T JUMP IMMEDIATELY into any readings you found to be very interesting. Read more and equip yourself with more information. You just might miss a caution on something that could hurt you - INJURIES.
Another thing is the BURN. While you burn a lot of calories running, when you get burned-out and just seem to lack interest about it, time to re-think, baby!
Free yourself. Go...just run...and be able to keep track of your distance, heart rate, average speed, etc. Acquire a GARMIN. (I like!)
The Right FORM
This one is of utmost important. YOU do this before, during and after.
Look Ahead - Focused on the ground about 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. Don't stare at your feet. See what's coming.
Land Midfoot - If you land on your toes, your calves will get tight or fatigue quickly and you may develop shin pain. Landing on your heels could mean you have overstrided and you're braking, which wastes energy and may cause injury. Try to land on the middle of your foot, and then roll through to the front of your toes.
If you cant...Use the stride that is natural to your body and feels good.
Clip your Arms - keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle. Some beginners have a tendency to hold their hands way up by their chest, especially as they get tired. Ironically, you may actually get more tired by holding your arms that way and you'll start to feel tightness and tension in your shoulders and neck.
Relax Your Hands - As you run, keep your arms and hands as relaxed as possible. You can gently cup your hands, as if you are holding an egg and you don't want to break it. Don't clench your fists because it can lead to tightness in the arms, shoulders, and neck.
Straighten Up - Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level. Check your posture once in a while. When you're tired at the end of your run, it's common to slump over a little, which can lead to neck, shoulder, and lower-back pain. When you feel yourself slouching, poke your chest out.
Relax Your Shoulders - Your shoulders should be relaxed and square or facing forward, not hunched over. Rounding the shoulders too far forward tends to tighten the chest and restrict breathing.
Rotate Arms from the Shoulder - Your arms should swing back and forth from your shoulder joint, not your elbow joint.
Don't Bounce - Keep your stride low to the ground and focus on quick stride turnover. Too much up-and-down movement is wasted energy and can be hard on your lower body. The higher you lift yourself off the ground, the greater the shock you have to absorb when landing and the faster your legs will fatigue.
Keep Arms at Your Side - Avoid side-to-side arm swinging. If your arms cross over your chest, you're more likely to slouch, which means you're not breathing efficiently. Imagine a vertical line splitting your body in half -- your hands should not cross it.
For first time or new runners, just run and enjoy. Speed will come later as you get stronger. You'd get stronger by delving deep into the addicting routines of running. Patience, boy...patience.
When it comes to running long distance races, one of the biggest rookie mistakes is going out too fast in the beginning of the race. It felt so great during the first few miles to ran ahead of pace, only to crash and burn during the final miles!
The best way to avoid the temptation of going out too fast is deliberately run your first mile slower than you plan to run the final one. It's tough to do, since you'll most likely feel really strong in the beginning. But keep in mind that for every second you go out too fast in the first half of your race, you'll lose double that amount of time in the second half of your race.
Try to make sure you're in the correct starting position. Don't start yourself with faster runners because you'll most likely try to keep up with them. Did that way too many times before!
Start your race at a comfortable pace and make sure you check your watch at the first mile marker. If you're ahead of your anticipated pace, slow down. It's not too late to make pace corrections after just one mile.
Do NOT underestimate the importance of nutrition, for both their running performance and their overall health. What and when you eat before, during, and after your runs has a huge effect on your performance and recovery.
Try to eat a light snack or meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before a run. Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. To avoid gastrointestinal distress, stay away from rich, high-fiber, and high-fat foods.
If you're running more than 90 minutes, you need to replace some of the calories you're burning. You can get carbs on the run through sports drinks or solid foods they are easily digested, such as as energy gels, bars, and even sports jelly beans designed for long-distance runners. A basic rule of thumb is that you should be taking in about 100 calories after about an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 40-45 minutes after that.
Replenish energy as quickly as possible after a workout. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. You'll want to consume primarily carbs, but don't ignore protein. A good rule of thumb for post-workout food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a fruit and yogurt smoothie, and chocolate milk are examples of good post-run snacks.
Don't follow a low-carb diet when training. You need a certain amount of carbohydrates in your diet because they're a runner's most important source of fuel.
Wearing the wrong type or too much or too little clothing for the weather conditions will leave you uncomfortable and at risk for heat-related or cold weather-related illnesses.
Wearing the right type of fabrics is essential. Runners should stick to technical fabrics such as DryFit, Thinsulate, Thermax, CoolMax, polypropolene, or silk. This will wick the sweat away from your body, keeping you dry. It's very important to make sure you don't wear cotton for this layer because once it gets wet, you'll stay wet, which can be uncomfortable in warmer weather and dangerous in cold weather.
Many runners underestimate how much fluid they lose during runs and don't drink enough because they're worried about side stitches. As a result, they suffer from dehydration, which can be detrimental to your performance and health.
Pay attention to what and how much you're drinking before, during and after exercise.
An hour before you start your run, try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid. Stop drinking at that point, so you can prevent having to stop to go to the bathroom during your run. To make sure you're hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before you start.
You should take in 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade, Powerade, VIT-Water!, 100 plus ) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
Don't forget to rehydrate with water or a sports drink after your run. You should drink 20 to 24 fl oz. of water for every pound lost. If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color.
Stretch before a run or jog to warm muscles and get them ready for exercise.
Stretching offers many benefits
Helps prevents muscular aches, pains, and cramping
Reduces the possibility of muscular soreness/fatigue over the next day(s)
Decreases the possibility of causing a muscular injury
Increases the muscles efficiency/effectiveness of movement (improving your overall speed, stamina, and form) by:
Enhancing the ability of muscles to contract/work more powerfully and economically
Improves your overall form
Great for relaxation
General Stretching Rules for Runners
Stretching Before the Run
One of the greatest misconceptions about exercise and running is that one must stretch before hitting the roads. In fact, the opposite is the case. If you really feel you must stretch, jog or walk for 5 or 10 minutes before stretching to warm those muscles up and to get blood flowing.
CAUTION: Never bounce when stretching (called ballistic stretching). This increases your chances of incurring injury!
Make Stretching After the Run Part of the Run
A workout isn't over until you stretch thoroughly (part of your cool down period) immediately following the run. Your legs will be most receptive to the benefits of stretching immediately after you run. Waiting 30 to 40 minutes later after your fatigued and tight muscles have cooled down (especially after long or fast-paced workouts) increases your chances of causing injury. In short, stretch gently and slowly while your muscles are still warm. Make the after running stretch part of the cool down process.
When running downhill, some people have a tendency to lean way too far forward, overstride, and run out of control.
The best way to run downhill is to lean forward slightly and take short, quick strides. Don't lean back and try to brake yourself. Try to keep your shoulders just slightly in front of you and your hips under you. Although it's tempting to overstride, avoid taking huge leaping steps to reduce the pounding on your legs. As for me, I switch to my reliable heel-strike-short-stride technique. I learn it by practice! Yeah, it works for me.
One of the most common injury-causing running form mistakes is overstriding, or landing heel first with your foot well ahead of your body's center of gravity. Some runners assume that a longer stride will improve their speed or running efficiency, but that's not the case. Overstriding wastes energy since it means you're braking with each foot strike.
Make sure that you don't lunge forward with your feet. This is especially important when running downhill. Focus on landing mid-sole, with your foot directly underneath your body with every step. A short, low arm swing is the key to keeping your stride short and close to the ground.