Running is usually good for your mind and body, but if you make some common running mistakes, you could experience injuries that sideline you. But don’t worry, with foresight and planning, it’s possible to run injury-free!
Using The Wrong Shoes
If you wear running shoes that aren’t suited for your running type, you increase the chances of injury. It’s always best to go to a running specialty shop and be fitted by someone who understands the different running styles and which shoes are best.
Once you are fitted in the right shoe, make sure to replace them no more than every 300 to 400 miles. Some of us are tempted to make running shoes last longer. But even the best running shoes lose their cushioning effect after several hundred miles.
If you delay buying new shoes too long, you can cause serious foot and ankle injuries that could put you out of commission for weeks or months.
Runners love to run and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you only run, many muscles aren’t getting as much of a workout, which can lead to injury.
That’s why cross-training should be incorporated into every runner’s schedule. To improve your running workouts and avoid injury, engage in other exercises on your days off to build core and hip strength.
For example, do weightlifting, strength training, stretching, and core work such as planks and leg lifts.
Cross-training strengthens other muscles and increases flexibility, which reduces the chances of running injuries.
Running Hills Too Soon
If you started running recently, running up and down hills can be rough on the joints. Running uphill stresses the calves and Achilles tendon, while downhill puts stress on the knees and thigh muscles.
Doctors recommend acclimating your body to running on flat roads and trails first. For example, run a mile in a local park with flat terrain, or run laps on a high school track.
Also, run on a treadmill with no incline selected. As you gain strength, you can slowly add hills to your running routine.
Many new runners tend to overstride, which means landing with the heel ahead of the body’s center of gravity. Some think taking a longer stride will make them run faster or more efficiently, but it’s not true.
Overstriding takes more energy because you are breaking your momentum with each stride. And overstriding also can lead to shin splints and other painful running injuries.
Avoid this problem by not lunging forward when taking each running stride. This is even more critical when you run downhill. The focus should be on your foot hitting the ground midsole with the foot under the body with each stride.
Also, each step should be quick and light, like you just stepped on something hot.
Obviously, most runners really like to run. So, it’s tempting to ignore that nagging pain in your ankle or knee so you can keep putting those miles behind you. Remember, pain is your body’s way of letting you know something isn’t right.
The best thing you can do when you feel a nagging, regular pain when you run is to take a few days off to let it heal. If you keep running through that pain, you could make the injury worse.
If the pain persists even after taking a break, it’s time to go to the doctor and have it checked.
Repeating A Bad Workout
Let’s say you do a workout with hill repeats and don’t get the times that you want. You might be tempted to repeat the bad workout the next day. It’s the old ‘get back on the horse after you fall off’ tendency that many runners have.
However, many running authorities say if you already ran more than 50% of that workout, even if it didn’t go well, you shouldn’t repeat it. All you will do is fatigue yourself, which can lead to overtraining and even injury.
Instead, review the workout and think about why it may not have gone right. Did you forget to do a complete stretch after your run the day before? Did you not get enough to eat or drink before the run?
Poor Running Form
Running with improper form puts too much stress on the joints and can reduce your running efficiency.
We already noted the problems with overstriding; it causes too much force to hit the heel, which can cause serious injuries.
Another problem with new runners is landing on their toes. Doing that mile after mile can damage the delicate ligaments and tendons in the toes. If that happens, running is extremely painful.
Next, avoid a low cadence, which is taking too few steps per minute. About 180 steps per minute is perfect for the ideal running form.
Running Too Fast
We all love to do well in a running workout. It feels fantastic to meet or exceed expectations and know you ran ahead of pace. But running too fast is one of the quickest ways to get hurt.
You may be within your abilities to run faster than your scheduled workout pace. But it’s well understood that our body’s structural system – tendons, muscles, joints, and ligaments) is behind your cardiovascular fitness. This means running too fast may be fine for your heart and lungs, but it may damage a muscle or joint and cause a serious injury.
Keep in mind that no one workout is vital to your success as a runner. Keep the focus on sticking to regular workouts that meet your assigned pace, but try not to go over it.
Contact Nathan Demetz To Improve Your Running Form
Avoiding the running mistakes we mention here will help avoid injuries. If you want to take the next step with your running routine, talk to personal trainer Nathan DeMetz today. He will customize a running routine for your needs to improve your speed and endurance and teach you how to improve your form to avoid running injuries.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!