10 Bad Habits (And How to Break Them)

Don't make one of these beginner's blunders, try these quick fixes for common running problems.


RW Editors |

Don’t make one of these beginner’s blunders, try these quick fixes for common running problems. – By The Runner’s World Editors.

Bad habits

1. Running too much too soon. Coming back from an injury? Now’s the time to take things slowly to stay healthy. Follow the standard rule of upping your distance by only 10 percent each week.

2. Refuelling badly. After hard runs, grab a high-carb snack, then a meal with carbs and protein to rebuild muscle.

3. Foregoing SPF. Up to 20 minutes of sun exposure a day can be good for you – but you need sunscreen on runs longer than that (even when it’s overcast).

4. Ignoring your core. Studies have shown that people who did core exercises four times a week for six weeks, ran a 5K 30 seconds faster than those who didn’t.

5. Starting a race too fast. Hold your horses! Not holding back early in a race can ruin your PR hopes. Walking isn’t a bad thing to do either. Consider using a GPS watch so you’ll know your pace and be able to adjust it before the one kilometre mark.

6. Being your own doctor. Runners tend to be hyper-aware of their bodies, self-medicating with ice or an anti-inflammatory to treat aches and pains. But minor injuries could turn into serious ones. Instead, see a doctor sooner rather than later. If the pain has lingered for three days, schedule an appointment.

7. Skipping stretching. It’s okay to skip stretching before a run – in fact, static stretching when your muscles are cold is a no-no—but loosening your muscles post-run can help prevent injury.

8. Not getting enough zzzz’s. Studies show logging too few hours of sleep can impair your running while compromising recovery, immunity, and mental sharpness. Because everyone requires different amounts of sleep, log your sleep time in your training journal and look for patterns specific to you. Once you figure out what works for you, shoot for that number – and try these tips to get even better sleep – as often as possible.

9. You never rest. Over-training can lead to a host of problems, from injury and slower times to illness and a loss of motivation. Every training program should have a rest day plus two to three easy-effort days per week to balance tougher workout days. It’s okay to cross train, but reward yourself with a day of total rest to give your muscles much-needed rebuilding and recovery time.

10. Fixing it all. There’s plenty of advice on how to become a better runner, but try to focus on what’s manageable. Remember: You likely started running to feel better, not to become stressed.

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