Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 5 Mistakes New Runners Make!

Running is an empowering, exciting and liberating form of exercise! However, running can also end up being a long journey of misunderstood injury. As much as I think everyone can be a runner I believe its best to take every precautionary measure possible to ensure that both novas and experienced runners alike do not get injured. Here are my tips for those interested in starting to run!

1. Don't just grab your old running shoes or gym shoes and start running - Depending on how old your shoes are and how many miles you've already put on them its really best to start with fresh shoes. Gym shoes and running shoes are not the same! Go to a running store (not a general sports store) and get your feet fitted for the best shoe for you. It's best to save your running shoes exclusively for running. A mile in your shoes is still a mile in your shoes no matter if you ran or walked it.

2. Do not ignore the importance of form! To make this as simple as possible, make every effort to follow these simple guidelines: 1. "Lead with your knees" to prevent heel striking. 2. Do not overstride; it leaves your knee and hips vulnerable for injury! 3. Swing your arms forward and back, not side to side.

3. Don't do too much, too soon - Many new runners are so excited and inspired to get out there that they put their body through too much too soon. Start by just getting out there for 20 minutes three times a week. This will not only get your body prepared for running consistently, it will help you be consistent about running. A 20 minute run sounds much more doable than a 5 mile run.

4. Don't forget to ice and stretch - A dynamic warm up is best before running followed by stretching and icing post run if necessary. Really focus on proper warm up and cool down to lessen the likelihood of injury.

5. Don't forget to listen to your body - Just because a certain training program says you should be able to run a certain amount of distance it doesn't necessarily mean YOUR body is ready for it. If something doesn't feel right, take a break. Try your best to isolate the issue, ice, stretch and rest as necessary. Common culprits for running issues are: shoes, terrain, not resting enough, muscle imbalances, tight muscles, not stretching enough, heel striking and improper form. Running an extra mile is not worth setting yourself up for a long term injury!

What was the best advice you ever got as a runner?
Mine has to be that it gets easier over time. The more your put into it, the more you get out of it. I never imagined I'd actually enjoy hauling my body 13.1 miles and would look forward to a momentous 26.2 miles someday! 

2 comments:

  1. This is great advice; thanks for sharing! I still need to remember a few of those things.

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  2. I can't remember who gave me this advice, but my favorite form bit to work on while running is relaxing my shoulders. I'm always really sore in my upper back and shoulders after a race because I'm so tight there. I sometimes even roll my shoulders back a couple times while running to remind myself how to relax them.

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