By: JESSICA WESSON
Edited by: CHRISTINA COLAVECCHIA
Running has always been my go-to cardio workout because I never have to think twice about what I am doing. I turn on my iPod shuffle and from then on, it is a mindless activity that is invigorating. As easy as running may seem, there are mistakes to avoid that many of us are guilty of.
Number one, you are probably wearing the wrong shoes. I have so many friends that will only buy shoes that “look cool.” Unfortunately most of the shoes that are stylish are not always the best fit for your feet (although some may be). It is important to go to a specialty running store to find out what type of runner you are: neutral, under pronator, or over pronator. I’ve seen many stores that have a treadmill with cameras that will show how you run so you can determine what shoe would be the best fit. You can’t go wrong there! Also keep in mind that after 300-350 miles you should swap your shoes.
Another running mistake to avoid is running too much, way to soon. Sometimes when I am running I feel like I can go forever! Because I run often I know how to listen to my body and when it is smart to stop. However, people that are just starting sometimes may think that they can go further, which can actually lead to shin splints, runner’s knee, and/or ITB syndrome (Iliotibial Band Syndrome). It is frustrating to be injured to the point that you have to stop running, so be careful to not do too much, too fast.
Mistake number three is running too fast downhill. Sometimes when going for a hilly run all I want to do is sprint down because it finally feels easy. If it is a steep hill you probably feel your strides becoming wider, which is another mistake (it’s called over striding). “Try to only lean enough to bring your shoulders slightly ahead of your hips, focusing on taking short, quick strides instead,” explains allwomenstalk.com.
Some may wonder what to do with their arms when running. I have seen many people hunch their shoulders up and have their hands up high, which only causes uncomfortable tension in your shoulders and neck. Doing this will also slow you down, which none of us want. So what are you supposed to do? Keep your hands low by your waist and shoulders down. Whenever I feel my form getting off while running, I always tell myself “shoulders back, arms down, and abs tight.” This combination always gets my body into the proper running form so I avoid unwanted kinks in my neck.
We all know how important water is for us yet many still neglect to load up on the good stuff. Unfortunately, if you have a love for running you should start to develop a love for water because it is essential for your endurance, health, and energy. I bring a water bottle with me everywhere I go to do so. When you feel thirsty during the day you are already dehydrated, which is not a good thing! Stay hydrated throughout the day and your running time and energy will definitely increase.
The last tip I am going to share with you is very important. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” I have found this to be incredibly true, especially for running. I find that when I eat a lot of unhealthy food the night before my morning run, I usually don’t go as fast or as far. Healthy carbs, fats, and protein are very important for the body and keep your health on par. It is important to fuel yourself not only before you exercise, but also after. Your body needs to replenish itself from all it has lost. One of my favorite post-workout snacks is a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder. They are incredibly refreshing in the summer and you can personalize them with the types of fruits you enjoy.
We all have room for improvement in our runs and I hope this helps everybody reach their potential!