Running is a sport that comes naturally to most people. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you might be doing that are inadvertently keeping you from excelling when you hit the pavement. To enhance your performance, make sure to avoid these ten things that you might be doing wrong and not even know it!
The debate has ragged on as long as competitive running has been a thing, is it critical to stretch before running? The answer is a definitive "Yes!". Before you head out on your run, make sure to do about a 5 minute warm up and then stretch slightly. And upon returning, take the time to stretch tired and worn out hamstrings and calves so that they don’t tighten up and lead to injury.
Runners typically get comfortable with a type of shoe that they think is right for them, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so. Not only is it critical to change your shoes every 200 miles to reduce wear and tear, over time, your gait will change, and the shoes that used to work might not be best for you anymore. Before you assume that you’ve picked the perfect pair for happy feet, it might behoove you to have your heel strike and stride length evaluated by a professional to find the right shoes.
If you notice that you start to get tired too quickly and aren’t increasing your endurance over time, then it might be that you aren’t pacing yourself correctly. As hard as it is to slow down sometimes, don’t go all out right out the gate and end up wearing yourself out. If you pace yourself, you can go farther and build endurance to extend your running and reduce the risk of injury from exhaustion.
If you want to get the most out of your run, don’t be a mouth-only breather. The more you can use your nose to inhale, the more oxygen you will be getting to your muscles, and the less tired you will become. Running involves mastering and controlling your breathing, so be cognizant about how you are taking air in and exhaling to improve your running performance.
Wearing restrictive clothing can be a hazard to your running. When choosing a running bra, find one that fits well, but isn’t too tight around your diaphragm. Having restrictive clothes can impede your best breathing efforts. Also, don’t choose outfits that are too big and get in the way or will end up overheating you. Dress for outdoor conditions so that you aren’t putting too much strain on your body.
If you aren’t keeping your entire body strong, you are risking an injury. It isn’t a good idea to run every day. Give yourself a rest and run every other day. On your days off, switch to other exercise routines like weight training or yoga. When you train in other ways, you will even keep your Achilles heel from limiting your mileage and slowing you down.
Runners are continually chasing that “runners high,” but sometimes it is at the expense of health and well being. If you don’t allow your body to have the restorative time it needs for your muscles to repair from running, you are going to increase your risk of injury and limit your immune system. If you overtrain, you are working against even your best goals. And you are also increasing the risk that you will be sitting on the bench injured.
The best training efforts are lost on those athletes who don’t get the proper amount of sleep. Your body goes through a restorative process when you are sleeping that is necessary for it to rejuvenate and heal from the day before. Even if you want to get that workout in before work, don’t skimp on sleep to do so. Seven hours is ideal to keep you running strong.
When you increase your distance or start training more seriously, it is critical that you increase your nutritional intake. It isn’t enough to increase your calories; you have to eat the “right” foods to stay strong and healthy. Lean protein is key to building and repairing muscles. And since you are putting additional wear and tear on your body, you will want to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to replenish what's being lost for your body to work optimally.
It isn’t enough to hydrate after you run, it is an excellent idea to do so before you even head out! Studies indicate that you lose as much as five percent of your body water when you perform at about 30% of your maximum. So don’t leave your body working without the electrolytes it needs to keep you moving. And not just any water will do. Stay away from sports drinks that are loaded with sugar and choose hydration that contains essential electrolytes and the proper mineral balance.
Although running comes naturally, there are things that nearly all runners do that work against their best efforts to excel. Be mindful about the way that you treat your body when you are running, and it will treat you well too. Limit your risk for injury and enhance your performance by avoiding these ten common mistakes. For more runners resource articles, check out World'sMarathons today!