Running is one of the most popular exercises around. And it is no wonder since running can be done anywhere by just about anyone. With the addition of several fun marathons and races, such as a zombie run, paint run, or mud run, many more people are lacing up their running shoes. However, running can also bring about a lot of injuries and back pain if not done correctly. Here are some of the top mistakes that runners make, and how you can watch out for them to prevent pain and injury.
Mistake Number One: You Just Go Out and Run a Few Times a Week: For those that like to run just for fun or to blow some steam, then this does not really apply to you. However, if you are hoping to run in a marathon or to use running for weight loss, it is better to approach running as training. Doing the same pace and the same runs over and over again will most likely have you hitting a plateau in your weight loss and running progress. Also, because you are doing the same movement over and over again, you are more likely to develop injuries or muscle pain. Try creating a running plan that incorporates both faster runs and slower paced runs.
Mistake Number Two: You Do Not Do Strength Training Exercises: Many runners both new and seasoned will make the mistake of not adding some strength or weight training to their workouts. This is a very bad mistake because it will increase your chances of injury, as well as lead to back pain. Not only will strengthening your legs and core muscles help prevent injuries, but they will also help make you a better and more efficient runner.
Mistake Number Three: You Do Not Plan Rests: While it may seem that taking a break from running will only make you slower, the opposite is true. Allowing your body to fully recover from a hard workout or marathon will be better for your muscles and your run time. For a 5K or 10K, about a half a week to a week of recovery is needed. For half marathons and full marathons, a week to two weeks is needed to recover. When you start back up after a planned break, take it slow the first day, and then ease back to your regular running groove. You should find that you are able to go longer distances or run a little faster.
Mistake Number Four: You Have Too Many Marathons Planned: It can be easy to get excited about running and plan several races and marathons. However, if you are new to running, be sure you do not over train. That is another sure way to bring on the pain and injuries. The best thing to do is to allow ample training and rest time in between each race. If you are new to running, give yourself two to three months of training before you jump into marathons.
Running is a great exercise and stress reliever for many people. However, if you want to avoid injuries and chronic back pain, be sure you are not making one of these common running mistakes.
Remember to always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician before taking any medical or diet advice.
Image Credit: Running alone by Stuart Grout. Used under a Creative Commons license.
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