Although running is an excellent form of physical activity, building your endurance can be hard on the body. To progress without injuring yourself, here is a list of 7 running mistakes to avoid. Make sure to download the Running Coach app for more tips on how to optimize your runs.
1. Too much or not enough running gear
Yes it’s true, you’ll need the right gear for running.
However, there’s no reason to gear up from head to toe. This is not a smart choice because your needs will change as you scale up your training and continue to advance. However, there are a few things that you can’t do without!
It’s best to go for the basics: shorts or leggings, a T-Shirt, a sports bra if necessary and, of course, a pair of running shoes.
When choosing your shoes, make sure to consult with an expert. A beginner will not have the same needs as an intermediate or advanced runner. Your running environment will also be a factor to consider when buying shoes.
As for the rest, you’ll discover what you need as you go along. Don’t waste your money!
2. Not taking time to rest and recover
Running is a total workout that actively involves your muscles, joints, bones, and more generally, your entire body. Therefore, it is extremely important to recover between running sessions.
The basic rule of thumb is to give your body 24 to 48 hours of rest between runs. For this reason, training more than an average of 3 times a week is not recommended, especially for an inexperienced runner.
The desire to lose weight or participate in a running event often leads to overtraining. Listen to your body and don’t ignore the following signals:
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Muscle or joint pain
- A decrease in running performance.
You need to pay particular attention to these warning signs if you lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle, and have only started running recently.
3. Not warming up and cooling down
No matter what the sport activity, warming up is essential. It helps to reduce the risk of injury and improves your performance.
Before running, do a few dynamic stretches to wake up your body. Then, when you feel ready, start off slowly until you find your rhythm.
At the end of your run, avoid a final sprint. Slow down and walk for a little while before performing a few gentle stretches to cool down.
Note: first thing in the morning or when it’s cold outside, spend more time warming up to ensure that your body is in the best condition possible for your running session.
4. Underestimating the importance of a healthy lifestyle
Running does not mean that it’s okay to indulge to excess. Nothing is forbidden, but you won’t lose weight by relying on running alone.
Of course, running improves health, but it can’t undo poor lifestyle choices, which can be counterproductive and also increase the risk of injuries.
Limit your use of alcohol and tobacco and avoid all factors that can adversely affect your health and performance.
5. Not breathing properly
During the day, we breathe without really thinking about it. However, breathing becomes more complicated when running. Should I breathe through my nose? Through my mouth? Should I alternate between the two? It’s not always clear how we should be breathing. The problem is that our tendency to hyperventilate, which often leads to side stitches, can strain the diaphragm (respiratory muscle).
Don’t stress about it and do what works best for you. Find your own breathing rhythm. It should feel natural, automatic, subconscious. Your strides can also help you to synchronize your breathing.
6. Always running along the same route
Running is easily accessible: it’s a sport that costs next to nothing and which simply invites us to get out of the house and go outside and run for a while.
That’s the problem: we end up staying close to home and stick to the same route because it’s convenient or because we like it. However, repeating the same routine will hinder your personal growth in terms of performance or physical fitness.
Change up your running route if you want to see progress!
Also, I encourage you to read How to run to lose weight if you want to learn more about this topic.
7. Running too fast
The classic mistake. I totally understand this desire to run faster, farther, and stronger! It’s human. However, I would like to explain why this is counterintuitive.
The purpose of endurance training is primarily to develop the cardiorespiratory system and increase the strength of muscles and tendons. This requires extensive training. However, overtraining and running too fast will have negative repercussions on your entire body (risk of injury, fatigue) and consequently hinder your performance.
In fact, when you run too fast, the resulting fatigue will prevent you from giving 100% during your next run. As a result, you won’t progress as well as you planned.
The Running coach app will help you to optimize your progress through a personalized running program.