Common mistakes new runners make

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Everyone new to a sport addresses the challenge with excitement about the opportunity. Having bought all the new gear, each new athlete is ready to jump full speed into the activity. As with all events, skill is required in order to avoid injury and improve efficiency. This is true for sports as simple as running too. We may walk every day, but running, especially long-distances, is a difficult athletic endeavor that requires practice and technique. The most common mistakes that new runners make are often still committed after years of training, so new or old to the sport, take a look at these issues and correct where needed.

Form

Heading into a full sprint out of the gate often leads to many problems, one being improper form. Your running form should support your center of gravity, allowing you to keep your body centered above your feet at all times. This means that if you happen to be lunging your feet forward and landing on your heels, you need to dial it back a notch. Take small steps that allow you to land on the pads of your feet. This will protect you from future injury. Learning good form is essential for having a long and healthy running career.

This goes doubly for running down hill. After a tough jog, seeing the down grade can send a runner’s heart aflutter. Be cautious, injuries often happen when running downhill. Keep your weight centered, and don’t move any faster than you would on a flat surface. Your steps should be even smaller here.

Don’t forget about your upper body. Even though it is your legs pushing you through the miles, your upper body can hold you back or get you there faster with proper form. Make sure your arms form a 90-degree angle at the elbow, and that they hinge at your shoulders. Swing them back and forth, not side to side. Help yourself by standing up straight and breathing deeply.

Distance

Those new to running may not know that distance can be just as detrimental to your body as improper form. The constant jostling of foot to pavement is stressful to both muscles and joints. Build up your distance slowly, only increasing mileage 10 percent each week to avoid any injuries from overuse. If you happen to notice you are intensely sore after your runs, shorten the distance and increase the amount of rest days between this run and the next. To give your muscles an extra help, use a portable massager at night and immediately after runs. This should help release the lactic acid that has built up in your muscles.

Hydration and nutrition

Adding a running session in to your daily workout routines will cause your body to dehydrate. Be sure to recover after each run with a bottle of water, and to stay hydrated. Continue drinking water throughout each day.

When it comes to eating, you are going to need to up your carb intake. Be sure to have at least 25 grams of carbs an hour before each run and a fueling carb and electrolyte drink to follow. Without proper nutrition you will not be able to increase your distances, or see a healthy change in your athleticism.

Gear

Do not just take whatever gym shoes you have lying around and strap them to your running feet. Running requires proper support, so go to see a specialist so that you can be assured of comfort and joint support. Before deciding what to wear, take a look at the weather. Suit up warm for windy days, and keep it light for the summer.

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