Running is one of the most rewarding sports that can improve personal performance through self-discipline and gives you the option to have an intimate relationship with a specific terrain.
It’s hardly surprising that theindependent.co.uk reports that two million people in the UK and 10 million in the US have actively taken up running and that it is fast becoming the most popular form of exercise worldwide.
While this trend may be on an agreeable rise, there are, however, a few bad omissions, actions and routines most runners are culpable of, at some point or another. Make sure you don’t follow veer off course by taking heed of the bad examples and staying in the straight narrow.
Wearing the wrong shoes
You don’t have to invest in much when you take up running, except for a good pair of running shoes. Your feet need your shoes to act as shock absorbers so the full impact of every step isn’t felt in your joints and ligaments.
It is worth consulting a podiatrist, physiotherapist, trainer or another expert if you can, to map the specifics of your feet and advise on the best shoe technically fit for your feet.
Wearing your normal walking-the-dog trainers could lead to discomfort, pain, injury or a permanent change in gait. Also invest in quality, moisture-absorbing shoes.
Not eating and hydrating correctly
Nutrition may not be the very first thing you think of seriously as you may be just fine with your food and eating routine, especially, if you naturally feel sated. If you’re on a low-carb eating plan though, you’ll need to adjust as ideally, your runner’s plate should consist of 60% fiber-rich carbs and 40% lean protein.
Devising nutrient-high breakfasts that are both tasty and convenient to grab or prepare are vital, as you need these to kick-start your day and as snacks throughout the day. It’s equally as important to take water or have ready access to it when you run so you don’t dehydrate.
Refusing to rest
Your body needs to recover and this means not only taking off a full day but slotting in two or three easy routine runs in your week. Your muscles need to rebuild. Not factoring this in can lead to injury, slower times, the dreaded never-ending plateau and loss of motivation as a result.
Lack of commitment once started
Consistency is key. Whether it’s working out how to adequately nourish your body, settling on a good warm-up and cool-down stretching routine or tackling too-difficult runs too soon, stay with the changes you’ve made. The brain needs repetitive actions and signals before it rewires neural pathways so new habits become instinctive.
Ignoring discomfort or pain
Worse than ignoring discomfort or pain, is self-diagnosing and being your own doctor. Don’t push through the pain – your body has sent you a distress call, and you need to respond with help, not more trauma. If resting up for two or three days does not lead to significant improvement, consult your medical practitioner. It could be a stress fracture or full-blown ligament damage and failing to treat it will lead to stress factors of a mental kind, too.
In the end, it all boils down to applying sensibility, body intuition and a burning desire to indulge the urge to challenge the open road.