The worst running mistakes
Running can be a great, low-cost way to stay active and possibly add years to your life. But it can also be problematic if you’re guilty of these running mistakes. Here’s how to hit the pavement safely and avoid the common pitfalls of running novices.
Setting unrealistic goals
It’s exciting to start a running routine, but you don’t want to set your sights too high. “Be smart and set the right goals,” says Meghan Kennihan, a certified personal trainer and running coach. Sign up for a fun run or a 5K first, before even thinking about a marathon. “Your goal should simply be to finish,” Kennihan says. “If you push yourself too much, you are dramatically increasing the likelihood of injury and not even seeing the starting line.”
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Stretching the wrong way
Most runners believe they need to “stretch out” before their runs, so they put their legs up on a ledge to stretch their hamstrings, or they stretch their calves on a curb. “Static stretching is a bad idea before running because it actually hinders your running performance and can lead to injury,” says Kennihan. “It can actually cause a decrease in muscle function.” Instead of telling your body to relax before it performs, switch to dynamic stretching, which trains the muscles to warm-up and fire the way you want them to through a series of dynamic movements.