By Darren Croft
There’s plenty of guidance out there for runners, but some of the most important advice to take onboard are the things to avoid! An injury can set you back weeks- if not months- so take heed of these simple but vital pearls of wisdom. You’ll thank me later.
Particularly important when first starting out, take it one run at a time. Plan your weekly workout in advance and write yourself a schedule. Start off with one run a week, then introduce more when it feels like your body can cope with it. Unless you’re an elite athlete, four or five runs per week is the maximum you should aim for to give your body time to recover.
Whilst drinking gallons of H2O prior to a run isn’t recommended, it’s important to keep hydrated. An hour before you start your run, try to drink a cup of water. If you overload, you’ll need a toilet break. During the day, keeping hydrated will help to ensure that you’re not having to overload before your run. This applies to your nutritional intake too. A good balance of protein and carbs will keep you fueled effectively for your next session.
Injuries are likely to occur when you don’t maintain good running form. Keep your hands at waist-level and swing from the shoulders. Ensure your upper body remains straight, and even if you are tired, try to maintain this posture to help aid your breathing. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a longer stride will make you run faster. You should always try to land mid-sole with your feet underneath you. Overstriding will cause additional pressure on your lower legs.
4- IGNORING YOUR BODY
You can expect to experience light aches and pains a day or two after you run and even sometimes during one. This is usually due to new muscle groups being worked and it’s a positive sign! More persistent pain however, especially one which gets progressively worse during a run, should not be ignored. The best thing to do in this situation is to stop. Don’t try and jog it off. Don’t believe me? The stress-fracture I incurred, which kept me on the side-lines for four months forced me to learn the hard way.
5- NOT PACING YOURSELF
Remember, it’s better to start off slowly. Unless you’re incorporating speed work into your routine, a steady effort throughout is what you’re aiming for. Effort is the fundamental objective here, an even pace which incorporates hills will knock the stuffing out of you.
6- NEGLECTING YOUR RUNNING GEAR
A decent pair of running shoes, suited to your stride and physiology alongside appropriate clothing are essential. If you are too cold or too hot during a run, you won’t perform as well. Check the weather beforehand to make doubly sure.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help ensure your running regimen is injury-free, allows you to progress your fitness levels, and most importantly is enjoyable.
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