Humans are creatures of habit, and not all habits are good ones. If you’re a runner and you feel like you’ve been hitting a wall in terms of training and performance, you might have incorporated some bad habits into your training regime. But don’t fret: bad habits can be corrected.
Here are 5 bad runner habits that you can start fixing today.
1. Getting back into your running routine too soon after an injury
Sure, you might feel agitated from skipping or altering your normal training routine after an injury, but recovery is simply too important to forgo. Give yourself enough time to rest and recover after an injury, and try to ease back into training, rather than just getting back to business as usual immediately. An injury that hasn’t healed properly can lead to even worse injuries that can put you out of the game for longer than it would take to recover properly. Listen to your body (and your doctor) and act accordingly.
2. Refraining from refuelling enough
An important part of your post-run schedule should be refuelling, and doing it well. A high-carb snack, followed by a meal that contains carbs and protein, together with adequate hydration will help your body to recover from hard runs, and will ensure that you’re ready for the next time you hit the road or trail. Don’t forget to also stay hydrated before, during and after runs, especially when it’s hot.
3. Starting a run too quickly
When running a race, it’s important to conserve your energy and avoid burning all of it as soon as the starting pistol goes off. Many a runner has failed to complete a race that they have trained for properly because they didn’t pace themselves. Use a GPS watch to track the kilometres you’ve run and adjust your pace according to the distance you have left, and make pacing a part of your training schedule.
4. Avoiding the doctor
Even small injuries have the potential to wreck a running career if they aren’t taken care of like they should be. Self-medicating with painkillers and ice is okay initially, but if the pain lingers for more than three days, that should be your cue to go and see a doctor and get it checked out by a professional.
5. Forgetting to stretch before and after a run
Stretching is an important part of your pre and post-race routine, and it should not be skipped. While most runners remember to stretch before a run, many forget to stretch afterwards. Stretching after a run can help to prevent injuries and warm down muscles, and it’s important to not underestimate this part of your routine.
Like most things, the basics are important when it comes to running. Correcting bad habits won’t just extend your running career and ensure peak performance, it will also make every run a pleasant experience that has you craving more.