New to running? Welcome to the club! Running burns calories, helps you get fitter, and brings you to far away places! However, many new runners often make silly newbie mistakes and hurt themselves. Do you recognise any of the ones below?
1. Going too fast, too furious
You’re obviously excited to kick-start your running lifestyle, so you go all out. You run too far, too hard, too soon. However, more is not better when it comes to running. If you do too much, you’ll burn out pretty quickly as well. Running puts a lot of stress on your body, so your body needs time to adapt. Start slowly and set realistic goals to save yourself from all the common injuries that arise from over-training. Try this beginner’s run/walk training plan here.
2. Running’s not on your schedule
Trying to fit running into your life without a plan? Good luck on that. As with any other fitness regime, your life WILL get in the way. Instead of running only when you find time (because you won’t), key it into your calendar so there’s a time set aside for it. Start easy and do three times a week first. We find that fitting workout sessions in the morning before anything else happens works best for us. Unless you let the snooze button get the better of you, of course.
3. You run in the wrong shoes
Running doesn’t require a lot of tools, just you and a good pair of shoes. And okay, these don’t come cheap, but running injuries aren’t cheap either. Look for good running shoes which are specifically made to support your foot and absorb the impact from the ground. This can save you from painful injuries down the road. Also take note that everyone’s feet are different, so someone’s holy grail running shoes might not suit you that well.
4. You ignore the warm up and cool down
Every time you hit the tracks, you start running immediately, without any warm ups. And then you just jump straight into the shower after instead of cooling down. This is a recipe for injuries and aching muscles. Warm up by taking a brisk walk before breaking into a run and do some stretches to cool down.
5. Going slightly race-crazy
When you’ve finished your first race, you get some sort of runner’s high. You then ride on this runner’s high by signing up for all the other marathons, half-marathons, and 5Ks that’s happening in the near future, yup, even the ones no one has heard of. That’s all good, except for the fact that running too many races can wreak havoc in your body and possibly cause injury. Spread out the races and commit to only a few. Ensure that your body can manage and try not to go too crazy.
6. Ignoring your body’s SOS signals
Yes, yes. No pain, no gain, right? You just have to pull through the pain and you’ll come out a champion. It depends, actually, on what kind of pain it is. If it’s the typical flash of pain you get when your mind tells you to stop, then go on. However, if it’s a recurring pain that happens in the same spot every time you run, it probably means you’re developing some form of injury. When this happens, you should probably take your feet off the stress and to a doctor’s office before it gets worse.
7. Not having a well-rounded fitness routine
You just run, and that’s it. You ignore strength training, and you neglect your core. We know we’ve said this numerous times, but running stresses out your body, so the stronger your muscles are, the better. Strength training will help strengthen your core as well as your leg muscles, but yoga and Pilates would work too!
8. Not wearing the right attire
If you don’t want any chafing, abrasions, or cuts, it’s best to be kitted out properly. Ladies, invest in some good sports bra so your breasts wouldn’t jiggle about. Nylon or other technical fibre are great material for clothing. Don’t use cotton because it absorbs sweat and becomes heavy.
9. Setting unrealistic goals
You have just started running, but you sign up for a marathon a month away. When your abilities and current fitness levels do not correspond with your unrealistic goals, no matter how hard you train, you’re setting yourself up to crash and burn.
10. Not eating right
Are you coupling a strict diet with your running routine? That’s probably not a good idea. What about bingeing on pizza and greasy burgers? Not a good idea either. Runners (like everyone else) need a balanced diet filled with protein, carbs, fruits and veggies to nourish themselves appropriately. That means no extreme dieting, or at the other end of the spectrum, extreme eating.
What other running mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!