Out of breath? Can’t keep up the pace? Sore feet and legs? You’re not alone. Many runners – both beginners and experienced – make simple mistakes that can have a bad effect on their body and training. Here we have listed eight of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them so you can really get the most out of your training.
Running too fast
Very often, beginners find themselves powering through their first kilometer and then slowing all the way down, struggling to keep going and gasping for air. When this happens, progress is not as visible and running becomes too tough and unenjoyable, which means that lots of people lose interest and give up after a while. Intervals are also often run too fast at the beginning, so that the pace drops off by the end. Even experienced runners make these mistakes – perhaps not so often, but they still do it.
Don’t rush. Start slowly. It doesn’t matter if you start off with what feels like a fast walk. It means that you will be able to keep it up until you reach your target distance. Better to go slow than start with a sprint and stop halfway. With time, your pace will increase once your body builds endurance and is used to the training. Then you will soon start beating your PBs.
Running too far and too long
We know you are enthusiastic, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. Be kind to your body and don’t take on too much. Beginners often start off with distances that are just too far for their bodies to cope with at the beginning. This causes people to stop short and have pain in their tendons and ligaments.
Choose your first distances wisely and plan in some parts for walking. This will help you get further overall and will be kinder to your muscles and bones while they get used to running.
Too many people go through their shoes and find an old pair that “will do” for running once they decide to start. But no, they won’t do. Old, worn shoes are not suitable. Running shoes aren’t “any” trainers. And your day-to-day shoes are not the answer. If you start running with bad shoes, you are at high risk of injuring yourself due to inadequate support.
For anyone who runs, the right running shoes are absolutely vital and will be the best investment you make for your training. Take the time to find out what you need to know about running shoes so you won’t have to deal with injuries and breaks from training.
Lacing up wrongly
It may sound exaggerated, but the way you lace your shoes could be affecting your run. And many people make these mistakes. Tying your shoes too tight can cause inflammation of the instep, or can even stop proper blood flow. Having them too loose, on the other hand, can turn even the best orthopedic shoe into a badly-fitting one. In the worst cases, your toes will constantly be holding the shoe in place without you even realizing it, which can end in painful cramping, long-lasting muscle tension and injury.
Make sure to tie your laces tight enough so that your shoes are not loose and the fit is nice and snug. But not so tight that you can feel excessive pressure.
Overlooking the importance of socks
It’s surprising, but socks can be very important for running. Wearing the wrong socks can lead to painful blisters, even under the toenails which can turn them black if they bleed.
Pick socks that don’t have annoying seams, as these cause most blisters, and don’t run in socks that are too small, as they restrict your movement. Buying some special running socks which are often seamless is a good option if you don’t have anything suitable at home.
Eating too much
When you eat a full meal, the blood flow to your stomach is increased and it needs more oxygen. If this happens just before you run, there won’t be enough reserves left for your legs, leaving you tired, sluggish and most likely unable to finish your run.
If you eat a meal a few hours before running, you shouldn’t need to eat anything heavy right before your training. A small snack should do the trick. You can find more tips on what to eat and when here.
Drinking too little
Running longer distances or at higher intensities will quickly cause your body to lose water, which needs to be replaced. Dehydration is dangerous for your body and has a negative effect on your performance.
If you often forget to drink enough, try keeping a couple of bottles that add up to 2.5 liters around you – whether at home, in the office or in the car. Keep drinking them throughout the day and get into your drinking routine.
Running with the wrong kind of gear can make it unpleasant. Rubbing, chafing and overheating are not fun and can quickly kill your motivation. Functional clothing is key here. But this doesn’t mean your clothing has to be made of the most modern, expensive microfibers.
Your clothes must fit well and not have any annoying seams that rub. They also shouldn’t be too heavy or warm if you are running in summer and should keep you (and your ankles) warm in winter. The performance range in the Freeletics Essentials Shop is also ideal for running.
Taking simple steps to avoid these common problems will seriously improve your running experience and will help you enjoy your progress more. Prevention is better than treatment, and this will leave you free to concentrate on your training and reach your biggest goals.