- Running too Much
This one is common in beginners. In their excitement and eagerness to see results, whether it’s weight loss/body toning/getting ready for a race, they cover too much mileage and run too fast. Those bent on competing register for every available race. Turns out the strategy is all wrong, and only causes the muscles to wear rapidly leading to fatigue and pain. Start with walking, jogging then progress weekly. Take one day each week to rest, so the muscles can get time to build and repair. Listen to your body and avoid running through pain. Let the body acclimatize slowly so you can build sustained endurance.
- Incorrect/worn Shoes
Running shoes are specially designed for the anticipated impact. You can’t just convert your favourite casual rubber shoes into running shoes. Go for customized running shoes for your foot type, which are adequately padded to absorb the pressure. How do you tell when your running shoes need replacement? A common mistake is to look solely on the outside, especially the tread. Running shoes can look pretty good externally and still be worn where it matters most; the cushioning. Such shoes transfer the pressure to the ankles and knees causing excess fatigue and pain.
- Upper Body Posture
As fatigue sets in, it is common to stoop forward and let the hands move haphazardly. This will not only worsen the fatigue, but also result in shoulder and neck pain. Keep your back straight and look ahead, not down. The arms should be at a 90 degree angle at the elbow, so that they’re at waist level swinging back and forth while rotating at the shoulder.
Some runners avoid water before and during running to avoid a stitch, that sudden stinging pain on the side of the abdomen just below the ribs. Turns out this theory is hardly accurate. Opinion is divided regarding the causes of a stitch, but it is yet to be proven that water is one of them. In fact, you have more to lose by avoiding water, as dehydration will slow you down and could lead to a heat stroke. Drink before and during the race as your thirst leads. Sip the water as opposed to gulping. Consider a sports drink when running for long distances.
- Long Strides
Longer strides equals longer distance covered, and faster; right? Apparently not. Over-striding is not only inefficient but also increases your chances of an injury. Once you have your foot significantly ahead of your body, you land heel first, essentially breaking with every step. Focus on landing midsole, which helps you align with your center of gravity. If you’re aiming at increasing your speed, focus on increasing your steps per minute by taking short, quick strides. If you’re running downhill, lean forward slightly instead of holding your shoulders back and trying to break. Downhill inclines often cause injuries as you can easily run out of control. Short, quick strides keeps you in check and prevents you from lunging forward and landing on the heels.