Many runners make some of these very common mistakes. When it’s just a leisure activity, you might be able to ignore or get away with these. However, being an athlete, every subtle change makes a difference. You have to pay attention to all of these details to make sure that you’re performing at your best.
Pay Attention to Footwear
Most people take 1000 to 2000 steps per mile when they are running. That means that a 10-kilometer run would include 12,420 steps in total. That involves a lot of pounding with your trainers on a surface.
The cushioning and grip that your trainers offer to your feet throughout the course of your run is therefore very important. Your trainers might feel great at first, but that won’t last forever. Most trainers become less supportive and their cushioning reduces after the first 450 to 550 miles of running.
They might last you a summer, but they won’t be able to go on for much further than that if you want to maintain your running performance. After that time span, you will be more and more prone to injury and niggles. Such injuries and issues might even cost you more than a new pair of trainers.
Increase your Running Volume Conservatively
Many beginners make this mistake of overstressing their muscles all of a sudden. This tip doesn’t apply only on running but also on almost any kind of exercise – whether it is swimming, cycling, or even regular gym workout.
When you want to increase the volume of any exercise that you’re doing, you need to be a bit conservative to avoid injuries and the resulting discomfort. It will help your body adapt to the stress as your muscles hypertrophy to provide the extra support needed for the extra mileage.
There is a 10% rule to help you do this while making sure that you are gaining strength and stamina. It is recommended to increase the volume of your running exercise only 10% per week at the maximum.
Choose Diverse Routes
Maybe you have grown comfortable doing the same 5-kilometer run to and from your house. It is very easy to adjust to one route and start using every day. Maybe you are using the same kind of surface throughout your running.
That is inadvisable because it will not only limit your experience and skill, it will also rack the same joints again and again and increase the chances of injury.
You should try to diversify your routes and run on different kinds of surfaces – ranging from a hard pavement to an off-road terrain if possible. That will be safer and much more beneficial for you in terms of practice.
Avoid Landing Heel-first
A big mistake that many people make when they get tired from running is landing on their heels. When you land on your heels with your legs out in front of your body’s center of gravity, it can cause various issues.
The most important one is that it sends a lot of force up your legs resulting in injuries like shin splints, joint pain, and even fractures. To prevent this, you should ty to land on your entire foot under your body. You should try to avoid taking big steps and resort to short, quick steps.
A great tip to help you do that is that you can try imagining that you are walking on hot coals. It might be a bit hard to do this when you’re getting impatient to overtake fellow contestants in a race, but if you stick to your own pace and focus on your own strategy, you will soon be able to have the satisfaction of overtaking them later on in the race.
Hydrate your body properly
Have you ever felt dehydrated after running to a very long distance away from your home? That’s not a very pleasant feeling when you realize halfway down the road that you’re out of fuel. That is why it is important that you hydrate yourself properly before starting a race.
Perhaps start getting hydrated around one or two hours before you plan to run. It would give your body some time to process that. Consider taking some fluids along to cover for the possibility of any loose stop along the course of the race as well. Also, don’t forget to hydrate yourself properly at the end of the race as well.
Relax your Shoulders
Many people hold their shoulders all hunched up around their ears while running because they’re really tense. That can be very harmful because it can restrict your movement, restrict your breathing, and waste a lot of energy.
You should try to relax your arms and carry your forearm at the angle of 90 approximately, bending your elbow. Also focus on relaxing your jaw, your fists, your shoulders, and steady your pace carefully. You can consider making a mental checklist of everything about your upper body that you need to keep in check throughout your run.
Don’t Drag your Feet
A very common mistake is dragging your feet. Try to lift up your knees as up high as you comfortably can, even if you can’t go as far up as those elite runners and legends like Usain Bolt. A knee lift involves the hamstrings so consider doing some exercises to strengthen the glutes and the hamstrings.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up
This is also a very common mistake. Most of us would remember an occasion when we just shot out the door without warming up. That doesn’t give our muscles time to warm up and get active to give optimal performance, and it increases the risk for injury.
In order to put in quality work, it is better that you try to let your muscles adapt and warm up before you start going full sprint. It is better to do some dynamic and static stretches before you start, but you can also start with a slow and steady jog to warm up.
Don’t Stop Suddenly
Just the way you started with a slow and steady jog; you should try to slow down gradually as you finish the run. Again, let your body flush out the toxins, and let your heart rate slow down and adapt gradually. Don’t crumble down into a heap all of a sudden at the end of the run.
All of the tips above will help you train safely and efficiently – steering clear of hazards, distractions, and routine errors that could let you down in the final marathon.