All runners made mistakes at some point during their races or practices. We are not here to judge or criticize these mistakes, but rather to avoid duplicating them. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid injuries or other problems.
# 1 Bad shoes
The problem: Wearing old running shoes or the wrong type of shoe for your foot shape and stride style can cause injury.
The solution: Go to a specialized racing store, where salespeople know the material and can evaluate your foot type and running style. When they determine whether you are a pronator, a supinator or neutral, they will be able to make recommendations. Once you have the right running shoe, make sure to change them every 500-600 km as they can lose their cushioning and cause injury. Towards half the life of your shoes, you might want to buy a second pair to rotate between your races. Your shoes will last longer when you give them time to unwind between races. In addition, having a pair of new shoes as a reference can help you know when the older ones are ready to be changed.
# 2 Running too, too fast!
The problem: Many runners, especially beginners, make the mistake of ‘too much’. They are so excited and enthusiastic about their jog that they are too far away, too fast and too early. They mistakenly think ‘more is better’ when it comes to running. As a result, they begin to develop classic overuse injuries, such as shin splints, runner’s knees, or iliotibial band syndrome.
The solution: Be more conservative than you think about how often, how long and how much you run, especially during development. Increase your mileage gradually. Do not let your weekly increase exceed 10%. If you are new to running or restart after a long break, start by walking, and then moderate with jogging.
Pay attention to your aches and pains. It’s normally a body warning to stop if the pain persists while running. Listen to your body for these warnings and you will know when you can run with pain.
Take at least one full day of rest per week. Do not ignore rest days, they are important for your recovery and especially for the prevention of injuries. Your muscles build and repair themselves during the days of rest. So if you run every day, you do not increase your strength effectively and you increase your risk of injury.
# 3 The strides
The problem: One of the most common causes of stroke injuries is the strides, or landing on the heel with your foot in front of the center of gravity of your body. Some runners assume that a longer stride increases their speed and running efficiency, but this is not the case. Over-legs expend energy as you break with each step. It also leads to injuries such as shin splints.
The solution: Make sure you do not jump forward with your feet. This is especially important when you go down a hill. Concentrate on landing in the center of your foot, with your foot directly under your body at every step. A short and low sway of the arms is the key for a short stride and close to the ground. Try to keep your footsteps fast and light, as if running on coal.
# 4 Losing control over the hills
The problem: When you go down a hill, some people tend to lean forward, over-arm, and lose control over their run.
The solution: The best way to run down a hill is to lean forward slightly and take short, quick steps. Do not try to lean back and brake yourself. Keep your shoulders a bit forward and your hips under you. Even if it’s tempting to run fast, avoid long strides to reduce shocks on your legs.
# 5 Bad body posture
The problem: Some runners swing their arms from right to left, causing you to jump and not breathe effectively. Many beginners tend to keep their arms high towards their chest, especially when they feel tired. You will now be more tired holding your arms this way and you will feel the tension in your shoulders and neck.
The solution: Try to keep your arms at your hips, close to where they could touch your hips. Your arms should form a 90-degree angle, with your elbows on your sides. You should swing your arms from the shoulders (not the elbow) so that they can swing back and forth.
Imagine a vertical line separating your body in two, your hands should not exceed it. Keep your posture upright and erect. Your head should be straight, your back erect and your shoulders level. When you are tired towards the end of your run, it is normal to lean a little, which can lead to neck, shoulder and lower back pain. When you feel this tired, lift your chest.
# 6 Not drinking enough
The problem: Many runners underestimate how much fluid they lose during their races and do not drink enough because they fear cramps. As a result, they suffer from dehydration, which is dangerous for your health and performance.
The solution: Runners must pay attention to what and how much they drink before, during and after their exercises. Here are some simple rules for drinking and running:
An hour before running, try to drink 2 to 3 cups of water or other liquid without caffeine. Stop drinking at this point, to prevent a stop at the toilet during your run. In order to be sure of being hydrated before your run, you can drink another cup of water before you leave.
Use your thirst as a guide to know when to drink while you run. This varies depending on the conditions, but in general, a fast runner should drink one cup of water every 20 minutes, and a slower runner can take half a cup every 20 minutes. During the longest runs (90 minutes or more), you can add a sports drink (Gatorade) to your fluid intake to replace lost sodium and minerals (electrolytes).
Remember to hydrate with water or sports drinks after your run. If your urine is dark yellow, you need to drink, it should be pale yellow.
# 7 Bad clothes
The problem: Many runners are wearing the wrong type, too much or too little clothing for the kind of temperature, which can be uncomfortable or at risk of cold or a hot disease.
The solution: Wearing the right type of fabric is essential. Runners should stick to technical fabrics like DryFit, Thinsulate, Thermax, CoolMax, Polypropylene or Silk. These will soak the body sweat, keeping you dry. It is very important not to wear cotton, because when it is soaked, it remains, which is very uncomfortable when it is hot and very dangerous to the cold. Your skin is more likely to scrape with cotton. In winter, be sure not to put too much on it. You should add 10-15 degrees to the temperature to determine how many clothes to wear, which is how much you will warm up when you run. In summer, stick to loose and light clothes.
# 8 Over training
The problem: Some runners who train for specific races or some goals run too much, too many kilometers and do not get enough time to recover. They assume that running every day will help them get fit faster. Overtraining can cause injury and burnout.
The solution :
Here are some ways to avoid over training:
Increase your mileage gradually. Do not increase your weekly distance by more than 10%.
Give yourself a periodic ‘rest week’ by decreasing your weekly distance by 50% every fourth week.
After a long race, take a day off. It’s important for your recovery and performance.
Add cross-fit activities to your schedule. Doing activities other than running can prevent boredom, work different muscles and give rest to your ligaments and joints.
# 9 Starting too quickly
The problem: When it’s time for a long run, one of the biggest mistakes a beginner does is starting his run too fast. Many runners have at least one story about a race where they felt fit and after a few miles of fast-paced, hit the wall and fell before the last few kilometres.
The solution: Here are some ways that you can avoid starting too quickly:
The best way to not start too fast is to deliberately run your first mile slower than you planned to run your last one. It’s difficult to do since you feel very strong at first. But keep in mind that every second you run too fast during the first half, you lose twice that time during the second half of the race.
Make sure you start in the right starting position. Do not start with faster runners because you will try to follow them.
Start your run at a comfortable pace and be sure to check your pace at the first marker. If you are faster than your anticipated pace, slow down. It is not too late to correct a rhythm after a few kilometers …
# 10 Poor nutrition
The problem: Many novice runners underestimate the importance of nutrition, for their performance and overall health. What and when to eat before, during and after your races has a major effect on your performance and recovery.
The solution: Try to eat a snack or light meal 1h30 to 2h before your run. Choose something rich in carbohydrate and low in fat, fiber and protein.
Some examples of good pre-race meals:
- Bagel with peanut butter
- A banana and an energy bar
- A bowl of cereal with a cup of milk.
To avoid intestinal distress, stay away from foods rich in fiber and fat.
If you run more than 90 minutes
You may want to replace the calories burned. You can have carbohydrates in sports drinks and easily digestible foods, like energy gels and bars or even jujubes designed for long runs. A rule of thumb is to consume 100 calories after an hour of running and then 100 calories every 40-45 minutes.
If you can run early in the morning, the best option remains in a carbohydrate-rich meal the day before, such as pasta, potatoes, bread, etc. You will have all the necessary energy stored in your muscles for a long run.
Fill up with energy as soon as possible after a workout. Studies show that muscles are more receptive to rebuilding glycogen storage (stored glucose) in the first 30 minutes after exercise.
If you eat early after your workout, you can minimize muscle aches and pains. You will want to consume carbohydrates, but do not ignore proteins. A basic rule of post-workout food is a ratio of 1g of protein per 3g of carbohydrate. Eg: peanut butter sandwich with jam, fruit smoothie and yogurt or chocolate milk.
Do not follow a low carbohydrate diet during your workout. You need a certain amount of carbohydrate in your diet because it is the most important source of energy for a runner.