Running is truly a mystery. For those of us who love it, we struggle to find words to articulate exactly why. Maybe it's endorphins? Moving fast feels cool? For those who don't love the sport, they grapple with trying to understand why those of us who do run even bother (and do you blame them?). Of course, there aren't many answers to these existential questions, but what we do know is that runners experience so many benefits that you kind of have to believe all the hype. It makes you happier, healthier, strengthens your bones and joints, reduces the risks of many diseases including cancer, and overall helps you live longer. What could be bad about that? Well, kind of a lot, actually.
1. Following A Running Guide That Doesn't Work For You
The Internet is awesome because not only can you Google "fitness motivation" when you need some push to get out the door, but you can also find specific running plans that help you achieve all your running goals. Whether that be transitioning from walking to running a 5k or simply upping your weekly milage, you can find hundreds of week-by-week guides that help you get there.
The only problem is, if you follow it religiously, you might end up ignoring what your body actually needs and is able to do. That is a surefire way to get injured. Be realistic with yourself and your physical abilities when it comes to choosing a guide, and cut back (or add more!) mileage when you feel is necessary. Listen to your body and what feels good, no matter what RunnerGuy4You2005 says is "necessary."
2. Going Too Hard On An "Easy" Run
I know from experience how tough it is to get back into running after taking several months off. You want to jump right back into the milage and times you're use to, but that's just not realistic. When you're starting out, be very conscious of your pace on a so-called "easy" run. These runs are supposed to relatively short and you should be able to hold a conversation the entire time. If you're giving your all on an easy run, your more intense runs will definitely suffer, so make sure you're only giving it 70 to 75 percent effort max.
3. Staying Still While You Stretch
The key to getting warmed up for a run is actually sweating a little bit. In order to to get your body prepared for a hardcore workout, you need to move around a little and do some dynamic stretching (lunges, high-knees, butt kicks) and forget about any stretch that involves you sitting or standing still. You want to get your body warm and loose, not keep it static. If you don't have time for warm-up, treat your first mile or so as such and take it fairly easy on yourself, then amp it up from there!
4. Only Wearing Flats And Flip-Flops In Your Day-To-Day Life
You might think heels would be the footwear to screw with your running game, but it turns out ballerina flats might be even more harmful. Shoes that offer little support and have hard soles often lead to plantar fasciitis, or jogger's heel. The best way to avoid it is to stick with shoes that offer more cushioned support. That way, your feet can take a break when you're not on the trails.
5. Never Mixing Up Your Workout
If you're a major running fanatic, it can be hard to tear yourself away from the track. But the only way to truly get better, and strengthen different parts of your body, is to mix it up by trying out new workouts. Ignoring strength training and other forms of cardio like swimming or biking can lead to injuries, and ultimately hurt your running. So make the effort to get in at least one cross-training session and one strength-training session in per week, and you'll discover muscles you never even knew you had!