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It’s no secret that running is good for your physical and mental health. Running requires almost no equipment and you can run virtually anywhere; however, it is not as simple as it sounds. Whether you’re just getting into the sport or you’re a seasoned marathon runner, ensure you aren’t making these four common running mistakes.

The Wrong Shoes for the Right Job

Wearing improper footwear can cause your feet blisters and irritation, but it can also hinder your form. It is best to visit a specialty store. The excerpt can measure your gait (every one’s is different) to help you determine the best fit for your foot. Runners’ shoes should facilitate strengthening of the feet and muscles, and not just absorb every impact – this means you will want to look for flexible, and maybe even roomy, running shoes. Although they aren’t necessary for every runner, barefoot running shoes are a good alternative to traditional sneakers. You’ll want to replace your running shoes annually.

Bad Form! Bad Form!

This is a trickier running mistake. Form is more important than time or distance. With improper form comes injury. Pay attention to every stride and determine whether you are landing on the heel or the sole of your foot. Landing on the heel of your foot can cause injury to your muscles and joints because your heel is not designed to absorb such an impact. Instead, practice landing on the sole of your foot with every stride – doing so will help to prevent knee or ankle pain. With this in mind, you can also prevent injury by taking smaller strides.

Improper Fueling Up

Carb-loading, although enticing, is not always necessary. To avoid stomach cramps, it is best to allow your body two hours to digest food before you start running. For short runs, eating a light snack fifteen minutes beforehand is acceptable. Less than 30 minutes after any run, you should eat a snack rich in proteins and carbohydrates to help with recovery. Always make sure your body is hydrated, and as a general rule of thumb, you can optimize your performance by eating a diet which consists of at least 80% healthy food. Because everybody is different, it is a good idea for runners to keep a record of which types of foods work best for them.

Sidestepping Warm-Ups and Recovery

Before every run, you should warm-up, which can include anything from walking to jumping jacks. You should be able to speak easily throughout your warm-up. You should also be stretching before and after your run. Not only does stretching help prevent injury to the joints and muscles, but it can actually help to improve a runner’s speed and endurance. You’ll also want to ensure that your body has properly recovered between runs. Taking rest days is vital to allow muscles to repair themselves. Recovery can also mean foam-rolling the muscles, which can aide in minimizing the dreaded next-day muscle pain.

As you can see, most running mistakes are easy to fix. Turn these don’ts into do’s, and you’ll hit the ground running!

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