Running can be difficult to pick up again after a long absence or for the first time. Even veteran runners have doubts: Which pair of running shoes should I get? Why do I squirm? Why can’t I run longer at a faster pace?
The journey of running can be full of lessons learned through trial and error. Some errors result in injuries, while others provide opportunities for growth. We asked runners’ coaches and medical professionals about common running mistakes and how to avoid them.
The Dreadful Toos: Too much, too quickly, and too soon, according to coaches, novice runners frequently run too quickly and struggle with pacing. Scott Peacock, the head of coaching for the San Antonio Road Runners, initially believed that every training run had to be approached as a competition. Peacock discovered that slowing down allowed his body to recover.
He stated, “I finally slowed down and understood there are certain days in the week you train for speed and other days you run easy.”
Tucson-based running coach Tia Accetta advises her clients to “come in at exactly where they are.” Before moving on to the subsequent level, start small and make running feel effortless.
Mentors suggest running a larger part of runs at a conversational speed. According to running coach Brenda Hodge, who is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you ought to be able to converse with other runners or even sing along to music.
Hodge added that the weather, elevation, level of hydration, and even hormones can alter the pace.
Hodge stated that the ten percent rule can be a useful ramp-up guide when increasing weekly mileage. She said, for instance, that if you run 10 total miles the first week, you can safely add 10% or 1 mile the following week.
According to Stanford University’s director of physical medicine and rehabilitation Michael Fredericson, pushing your body beyond its ability to adapt can result in injuries.
He suggests gradually increasing your weekly mileage and strengthening your core, hips, and quadriceps muscles to prevent injuries. Squats are probably the best exercise you can do, if I had to choose one,” stated Fredericson, who is also the head physician for the Stanford cross-country and track and field teams.
He stated that excessive running is a leading cause of shin splints. He stated that people with shin splints will experience pain along the inner border of their lower legs. When “the pain becomes more focal,” this pain can lead to a stress fracture.
Icing the legs, taking an anti-inflammatory drug, and stretching the muscles in the rear of the leg are all beneficial, according to Fredericson. Cross-train using an elliptical, swimming, or deep water running if running on the road hurts.
Choosing the wrong running shoes and clothes Choosing the right running clothes and shoes can make a big difference.
Travisha Gunter started running about a decade ago in the same sneakers she used for running errands and working out at the gym. After runs, her feet would hurt.
According to Gunter, a running coach for the Montgomery County Road Runners Club in Maryland, “They could have had 1,000 miles in them, but because they were clean and smelled they were still tasty to me when they were fresh. “They could have had 1,000 miles left in them.” You can’t wear the same shoe everywhere.
Gunter, who coaches slower-paced or back-of-the-pack runners, suggests going to a running shoe store to get fitted. She said that running can cause feet to swell, so it’s best to get shoes that are half a size bigger.
Drew Wartenburg, a Flagstaff, Arizona-based running coach, advised, “If it feels comfortable on your foot and comfortable when you run, that’s a good shoe for you.” “You don’t want something too tight.”
Running can also be uncomfortable if the wrong clothes are worn. Skin chafing, which occurs when skin rubs together or against clothing, may result.
According to Alexandra Bender, a dermatology resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center who also enjoys running, chafing can result in itching and open sores that can cause infections. The nipples, under the bra band, and along the lining of the shorts are all common locations.
According to Bender, chafing can be made worse by friction, moisture, and heat, especially in the summer. She suggests selecting clothing that is lightweight, wicks away moisture, and is absorbent rather than plain cotton. According to Bender, cotton “doesn’t dry as quickly, so that contributes to the moisture issue.”
She advised applying Body Glide or Vaseline to areas where you are likely to chafe before your runs.
A fluctuating running schedule Consistency is essential to progress. According to Wartenburg, the number of runs a person does each week and the goals they have for themselves vary, but they should do enough to become a habit.
He stated, “That probably means every other day for running or run-walk for someone starting out or starting back after a long time.” In the second week, most can safely progress to two days on, one day off if everything is going well.
Additionally, weekly running is essential. Hodge stated that some less experienced runners will run once a week and take a week off, gaining no momentum. She explained that running consistently does not entail running the same distance every day or doing the same workout, but rather putting together weeks of solid training.
Being patient is essential for all runners, novices and experienced alike, as many race training programs require months of running.
Hodge stated, “I try to remind runners, don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.” Prioritize progress over perfection.
Be aware that it is acceptable to make errors. Wartenburg likes to remind novice runners of their progress.
He stated, “It can be a really good reminder of progress.” Follow the path you choose. You can see how far you’ve come and compare yourself to yourself by keeping a running log.