Beginning a running routine is exciting, and it’s common for people to jump into their new sport with a little too much enthusiasm. Sports injuries early on can dampen a healthy new habit. Check out the list below of the most common, but avoidable, mistakes beginners make.
4 Common Running Mistakes
1. Wrong Shoes
Shoes make a huge difference when it comes to preventing sports injuries. As a beginner, you may be tempted to buy either the cheapest or the flashiest model without researching the best shoe for your personal training conditions, mileage, and gait. A runner’s clinic will have gait analysis available to help you identify issues so that you can select the right shoes. Running shoes also need to be replaced every 500 miles as the cushioning will wear out before the shoe itself does.
2. Too Much Training Too Soon
Running too much, too fast, and too far can be the cause of sports injuries like shin splints, runner’s knee, or ITB syndrome. If you are just starting as a runner, or coming back after a long break, begin with a walk or walk/run program and increase mileage gradually—no more than 10% per week. Pay attention to pain that occurs during or after the runs. A little soreness is to be expected, but sharp, shooting, or intensely achy pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong.
3. Incorrect Form
Over-striding is a common early mistake. Your foot should strike mid-sole underneath your body. Aim to make your strides quick and short, even when running downhill. Meanwhile, poor upper body form can contribute to neck and back stress/pain. Your arms should swing low, at a 90-degree angle at waist level, and should not cross the body.
4. Poor Hydration
Beginning runners often underestimate how much hydration they need to keep their muscles functioning optimally. Drink 24 ounces an hour prior to a run and 8 ounces right before. Be sure to hydrate afterward. Let thirst be your guide and use common sense during hot weather and as your distances increase.
The runner’s clinic at Snyder Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation includes gait and form analysis for the beginning to expert runner. Serving Lincoln, NE and Lancaster County, they treat sports injuries with state-of-the-art care, while also offering comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation services. Call (402) 489-1999 to make an appointment or visit their website for a full list of services, patient forms, and reviews.