If you've recently decided to take up a new running routine, congratulations! With the Cleveland Clinic recommending 30 minutes of moderate activity per day--or about 2.5 hours per week--running is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness, help mental health, and maintain an overall healthy, active lifestyle. However, new runners who are overeager to see results often find themselves making the same common mistakes, each of which can cause injuries or other setbacks to this new healthy lifestyle. Today, we'll be talking about the most common mistakes new runners make, and how you can avoid them to ensure a healthy, productive running routine.
Too Hard Too Soon
Because running is one of the easiest sports to start, many new runners make the mistake of jumping into a routine without researching what a healthy start looks like. Rather than trying to find your peak mileage right away, try to build your mileage slowly, all while increasing your muscular and cardiovascular stamina without overexerting yourself. This will not only help you avoid injury but will also help you establish a routine that's more sustainable long-term.
Neglecting Rest Days
If one of your goals for running is weight loss, then you may be tempted to try to run every day in order to see results faster. This is one of the ways you can quickly suffer from fatigue injuries. One thing that's important to keep in mind is that you're training your muscles, your lungs, and your heart to perform an activity that they're unaccustomed to, and rest is an important part of building strength. You may also find that your muscular stamina is building faster than your respiratory stamina, in which case you should work at a pace that accommodates the slower growth in order to keep from injuring yourself.
Having Improper Equipment
One of the biggest fallacies that happens when people take up any fitness routine is the false belief that people can buy their way into good habits, that if you buy that expensive treadmill or high-end shoes, the investment you've made will be enough to help you develop a habit that will stick. While it's not true that you should immediately go out and spend thousands on top of the line gear, you do still need to be sure that you're working with equipment that's right for your body. Do your research before you go to the sports store to see what kind of shoe might be best for you. Once you arrive, have a fitness store associate fit you properly for a shoe, keeping in mind the right balance of support and shock absorption. When you go, make sure to tell the associate where you plan to run and any issues you might have, such as flat arches, pronation (feet turning as you walk), or anything else that might guide them toward the correct shoe or insole for you. Another piece of equipment that it's important not to skim on, for those who need it, is a supportive, comfortable sports bra, which can also be found at most sports stores.
Obviously, the only way to get better at running is to run, but many novice runners believe that the fast track to fitness can only be achieved through running and running alone. In any fitness routine, it's important to work different muscle groups in order to keep any one group from getting fatigued or growing stronger at a disproportionate rate to the others. Also, too much high impact activity can be stressful on bones and joints, especially those that haven't been conditioned to that type of activity. Instead, alternate your running days with lower impact activity like swimming, yoga, or your favorite fitness classes. Not only will it give your muscles a break to recover, it will help with the problem of your legs developing strength and stamina faster than your heart and lungs.
Developing a running routine can have monumental effects for a person's fitness journey. Whether your ultimate goal is to run distances, be a better companion for your dog, lose weight, or develop a healthier lifestyle, running can have positive effects for you. Avoid these common mistakes and you'll be on track for success.