Friday, January 31, 2014

Common Runner's Mistakes To Avoid.

See Running, Contortion & Other Happy Thoughts

 Over Training 

Over training can lead to burn-out and running injuries. Some runners become too eager and run every single day without allowing for proper recovery time. They believe that over training will get them fitter faster but the exact opposite happens. 

To Avoid Over training: 
  • Up Your mileage gradually. Do not increase by more than 10% each week. 
  • Allow a rest by dropping your mileage down to up to 50% every 4th week.
  • Take a day off after a hard run. You need rest days for proper recovery and optimum performance. 
  • Incorporate cross-training into your schedule to keep muscles guessing and give running muscles and joints a break. 

Going Out Too Fast

Many beginner runners are guilty of this mistake. They're pumped up and ready to go at the beginning, even running up ahead of the pack for the first few miles only until the dreaded 'crash and burn' follows later on. 

To Avoid Going Out Too Fast:

  • Deliberately run out your first mile slower than you planned to run your last. Remember that for every second you go out too fast in the first half of the race/run, you could lose double that amount of time in your second half. 
  • Make sure you are in the correct starting position. Don't try to start with faster runners because you will be tempted to keep up with them
  • Check your watch after the first mile to stay in pace. Make adjustments as you go along.

Improper Fueling

Runners often overlook the importance of proper nutrition for health as well as performance reasons. What/when/how you eat before, during and after your run hugely impacts your performance and recovery. 

To Avoid Improper Fueling: 

  • Try having a light snack an hour to an hour and half before your run. Choose something high in carbohydrates, low in fat, fiber and protein. Good examples are a bagel with peanut butter, a banana or an energy bar or a bowl of cereal with a cup of milk. To avoid gastro-intestinal problems, stay away from rich high fiber or high fat foods. 
  • If running for more than 90 minutes, you need to replace some of the calories being burned.You can get carbs on the run from sports drinks or foods that are easily digested like energy gels, energy bars or even jelly beans designed especially for distance runners. You should take in at least 100 calories after an hour of running and 100 every 45 minutes to hour after that. 
  • Replenish energy ASAP after a workout. Studies show that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after a workout. Eating soon after exercise prevents muscle stiffness and soreness. You'll want mainly carbohydrates but don't skip the protein. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram protein : 3 grams carbohydrates. A peanut butter sandwich, fruit/yogurt smoothie, even chocolate milk are all good post-run snacks.
  • Don't follow low carb diets when training. You need a certain amount of carbohydrate in your diet because it's a runner's most important source of fuel. 

Wrong Clothing

Wearing improper clothing can make you either uncomfortable or ill depending on weather conditions. 

To Avoid Improper Clothing

  • Wearing the right fabric is essential. Runners should stick to technical fabrics such as Dryfit, Thinsulate, CoolMax, polypropylene or silk. These 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, it stays wet; making it uncomfortable in warm weather and dangerous in cold weather. Cotton can also lead to chafing. 
  • Gauge weather clothing by adding 15-20 ° F to the current temperature. That's how much warmer you'll be once you start running. Stick to loose, light-colored clothes in warmer weather.

Not Drinking Enough

Often runners don't realize how much fluid they lose during runs or may worry about side-stitches. As a result, they end up suffering from dehydration , which is detrimental to your performance and health. Pay close attention to hydration before, during, after runs. 

To Avoid Not Drinking Enough

  • Drink about 16-24 oz. of water or other non-caffeinated fluid about an hour before you start. Stop drinking at that point to avoid bathroom breaks. Drink another 4-6 oz. just before you start.
  • if running faster than a 8:00/mile pace, take in 6-8 oz. every 20 minutes. During longer runs (90 minutes or more) some fluids should include a sports drink like Gatorade to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
  • Rehydrate after runs. Dark urine means dehydration. Urine should be a lemonade color. 

Bad Upper Body Form

Some runners swing their arms from side to side which leads to bad form (slouching and inefficient breathing).

To Avoid Bad Upper Body Form:

  • Keep arms at waist level, where they might likely brush your hip. your arms should be at a 90 degree angle with elbows at your sides. Rotate arms at the shoulder, not the elbow so they're swinging back and forth. 
  • Keep posture straight and erect. Head up, back straight and shoulders level. If you get tired, instead of slouching, poke out your chest. 

Losing Control On Hills

When running downhill, many runners make the mistake of leaning too far forward and running out of control and over striding which can lead to injuries.

To Avoid Losing Control On Hills:

  • Lean slightly forward. Take short, quick strides. Don't lean back and try to brake yourself. Avoid taking huge strides to reduce pounding to your legs. 


One of the most common mistakes, over-striding or landing heel first with foot well ahead of your body's center of gravity. Some runners assume this will improve speed or efficiency but it  is not so. Over-striding wastes energy since you're braking with each foot strike and it could lead to shin-splints

To Avoid Over-striding: 

  • Make sure you don't lunge forward with your feet. Focus on landing mid-sole, with your foot directly under your body with each step. As if stepping on hot coals, keep strides short and close to the ground. Keep arms with short, low swings to keep in control.

Too Much, Too Soon

New runners can get so enthused and excited that they expect to do too much, too soon. They start thinking more is better and can soon develop overuse injuries such as shin-splints, runner's knee or ITB Syndrome

To Avoid Too Much, Too Soon: 

  • In early development, be more conservative about how long, how much and how often you run. Increase mileage gradually. Don't increase by more than 10% weekly. If you were on a long break or are new to running, start out with walking and then progress to a run/walk program.
  • pay close attention to aches and pains. if pain gets worse during your run, you should stop. Listen to your body and know when and when not to push through the pain. 
  • Take at least one full day off from exercise each and every week. Your muscles build and repair themselves on these rest days. If you run every single day, you're only losing strength and risking injuries. 

Wrong Shoes

Wearing old shoes or improper fitting ones can lead to injuries. 

To Avoid Wrong Shoes: 

  • Visit a running specialty shop or sports store where knowledgeable staff can help you find the right shoe for your running style and foot type. Find out if you are an overpronator, underpronator or neutral runner.  
  • Replace running shoes every 300-350 miles because loss of cushioning could lead to injuries. Alternate running shoes if possible to allow for maximum wear and proper airing/drying in between runs. 

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