Too Much Too Soon – Newbie Runner Mistakes to Avoid
Running is a popular pastime in today’s fitness-obsessed society. Every weekend, millions of people pull on their expensive trainers and head out to do a Fun Run, often in aid of charity, sometimes just because it’s, well, fun! There is no doubt that running is great cardiovascular exercise, but if you are not used to such intensive exercise, it is very easy to end up with an injury. So how can you prevent this from happening to you?
We all get ill, but most of the time, our illnesses are pretty minor like a viral infection that clears up in a few days. Occasionally, you might get very sick and require testing and urgent care. In all cases, rest and recuperation is required. Sadly, most new runners fail to take this on board when something starts to bother them.
Running is Taxing on the Joints
Running is very taxing on the joints. It takes time for the body to become accustomed to running, especially if you run on hard surfaces. Every time you run, you are jarring your joints and tendons. They do get used to it, but this process of acclimation doesn’t happen overnight, which is why new runners are more prone to injury.
To combat the stress of running, it is essential that you invest in some good quality footwear. Have your feet properly measured at a specialist sports shop so they can assess your gait. If you are serious about running, this is a smart investment because it will minimize the chances of injury cutting your training schedule short.
Overuse injuries are very common in new runners. Aside from the excess stress on joints and tendons we have already discussed, newbie runners have a tendency to try to do too much, too soon.
New runners are full of enthusiasm. Once they get bitten by the running bug, they want to go out as often as possible, to reach personal bests and improve their record on the fitness apps they use. The problem with this approach is that you are likely to end up injured very quickly.
It is important that you stick to a sensible training schedule, even if you feel amazing. Trying to run too many miles too quickly will massively increase your chances of muscle strain, ITB problems and Achilles tendon issues. Seasoned runners understand this and never try to up their mileage too fast. The golden rule is 10% – in other words, only ever increase your mileage by 10% a week.
Rest and Recover
Rest is very important for new runners as well as experienced ones. Every third week of the month, cut back on your mileage and take it easy. You also need to factor in rest days into your schedule. To start, only run two or three days a week, but for best results, follow a prescribed training schedule based on your current fitness levels.
Running is fun, but not if you are injured, so take it easy!