Common Running Mistakes
You might have noticed, at Hussle we are big fans of running…
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a five minute jog down the road to catch the bus to the office, or a 10km mud-fest through wet winter woodland.
We simply love it!
We’ve already looked at the best ways to build your running distances and reach new goals you thought were beyond you.
Our Hussle runners have shared help and support with how to prepare your body for running safely with some essential stretching tips to avoid some of the most common running mistakes.
And we took a look at avoiding injuries and common problems such as tight calves after running.
When it comes to running we’ve got you covered, but there is still one thing missing.
Your warm up is working well. Your distances are destroying your wildest dreams and your post-run stretches are safe and effective.
But what about the running itself, how do we know we’re getting it right?
Common Running Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Anyone who runs knows how amazing it feels, but for some, especially those just discovering it for themselves, there’s quite a bit to learn.
Taking the time to do that will make sure you stay injury-free, comfortable and most of all motivated to keep up that amazing work!
Here are a few common pitfalls and how we manage to steer clear of them:
Doing too much, too soon
You’re running and feeling great, of course that is an exciting feeling. You are probably already seeing (and feeling) a big difference.
Enthusiasm though, must always be balanced by a measured approach. More is not always better when it comes to running. Too much, too soon can lead to burn outs, loss of interest and even injury.
Increase your distances carefully and gradually. Those Sunday morning park runs and morning/evening runs all add up.
Rest days are just as important as running days.
Long strides improve speed and increase running efficiency don’t they..?
Not really, it’s a very common running mistake for novices to make. What overstriding actually achieves is to waste energy. This is because landing heel first, with feet way ahead of the body’s centre of gravity means each foot strike is acting like a brake.
A firm focus on your running form can soon solve the problem of overstriding. Try to keep your steps quick and light and resist the urge to lunge forwards with your feet (especially tempting if you’re running downhill).
Don’t aim to hit the floor heel first, mid-sole is much better, with the striking foot underneath your body with every stride.
Keep those strides close to the ground and short, with short, low arm swings and you’ll soon solve the problem of overstriding.
Wearing the Wrong Footwear
Make no mistake, the right footwear is vital for running. Traction, support and cushioning are all important in a running shoe. They are also features you might not get in old running shoes or your garden variety sports trainer.
So, how can you tell which is the right pair for you?
The easy solution is to visit your local specialist sports shop. They won’t sell you the most expensive pair and they probably won’t leave you to choose your own.
What they will do is evaluate your running style and make recommendations for you within your budget. That is exactly what you need…
It is also worth replacing your running shoes about every 6 months or around every 300-350 miles because they will slowly start to lose their cushioning qualities and soles.
Poor Upper Body Form
Watch a range of different runners and something might quickly become apparent:
Their lower bodies are of course; busy with the job in hand (running) but the upper bodies? Well there’s much more individuality going on there.
You might see some swinging happily side to side, but that can impact breathing efficiency and lead to running slouched. For others, especially those feeling the strain, you might see arms held up to the chest, this doesn’t solve the problem.
In-fact it can make tiredness worse as well as cause tension around the neck and shoulders.
Keeping your hands at waist level is always great upper body form.
Elbows should be at your sides, if the hands brush your hips at a 90-degree angle that’s fine. Rotations should always be at the shoulder, not the elbow, swinging back and forth as you run.
Try to imagine your body as two equal halves, with a vertical line down the middle. Your hands should never stray on to the opposite side and posture should be straight and erect.
Near the end of a run it is easy to slump. If you feel tired poke your chest out, to avoid the risk of slumping and the neck, shoulder and lower back pain it can cause.
Not Resting Enough Between Runs
Running impacts the body and muscles need time for recovery and healing.
It might be tempting to lace up those running shoes every day but doing so risks injury, burn out and making it feel like an obligation instead of an enjoyable challenge.
We are all different of course, for some people a daily gentle run might be an important part of their day and that is fine. For others however, particularly those who run longer distances or those training for an event, periods of rest are vital.
If you feel like a rest day, always take it. Listen to your body; if you are feeling tired and sore then resting is advised.
Not Warming Up
The warm-up is important for several reasons:
· Warming up increases the range of movement for your joints, allowing your form to be on-point
· Warm-ups prepare your muscles for what’s to come, reducing the risk of injury
· Preparation raises your breathing, heart rate and core temperature to meet the demands of your run
· It prepares you mentally to get in your zone
If you want to sustain a longer run, with good form and minimise the risk of injury, warming up is essential to avoid common running mistakes.
Different warm up techniques work for different people and they should be an important part of the run routine. Some people cycle, some jog slowly. Others prefer a stretching regime, including side lunges, arm swings and bent knee forward/straight leg lateral swings.
Try them, see which works best for you!
Not Breathing Properly
How should you breathe when you run? Everyone is different of course but good running demands good breathing.
Shallow breathing can lead to side stitches so it is important to run at a pace where breathing is comfortable. As a general rule, if you are struggling to speak a full sentence while running (conversational pace) then your pace isn’t appropriate.
Breathing in through the mouth as well as the nose is useful to deliver the oxygen your body needs to keep moving. Use your diaphragm too, not your chest to maximise that oxygen intake and keep stitches at bay.
Breathing out really means breathing out when you run. Do it through your mouth and exhale fully to dispel as much carbon dioxide as possible, ready for the next deep breath in.
If you feel you’re running out of breath, stay calm and don’t continue. Simply slow right down or walk for a while. Breathing problems often pass by themselves if you recognise the signs and act on them.
Now there’s nothing to stop you. You know the common running mistakes and all the right solutions.
Why not keep fit before you hit your route, or hop onto a treadmill at one of our Hussle gyms if the weather looks bad?
The Hussle Monthly+ pass lets you do just that with One Network, Any Location & Thousands of Gyms and zero contract.