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10 Bad Habits Every Runner Will Recognise

BY: The Running Channel
20 May 2023

Running is a fantastic activity with numerous health benefits. Still, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Even the most passionate runners can fall into bad habits that hinder their progress, performance, or overall enjoyment. This article unveils the top 10 bad habits that every runner will recognise and perhaps inspire a healthier running routine.

1. Ignoring Easy Days

We all have those days when we step out for an ‘easy run’ only to find ourselves pushing harder than planned. You’re feeling great, so why not go for a new personal best, right? However, easy runs serve a purpose in your training schedule, allowing your body some active recovery time. Pushing hard two days in a row won’t do you any favours.

2. Skipping Rest Days

It’s a sunny day, perfect for a run, but it’s a rest day. Tempting, isn’t it? Rest days are as crucial as training days. They allow our bodies and muscles to recover, promoting consistency in training and reducing injury risk. If you’re itching to get out, consider a gentle walk instead of skipping the rest day altogether.

3. Sticking to One Surface

Some of us have a preferred surface, maybe you’re 100% a road runner. However, mixing up your running surfaces can add variety to your routine and prepare you for races on unfamiliar terrain. Plus, softer surfaces like trails or grass can help minimise impact compared to pounding the pavements.

4. Skipping Warm-ups

We’ve all contemplated skipping a warm-up. But disregarding it is a bad habit we should avoid. Activation exercises help your body prepare for the run and can reduce the risk of injury by warming up the muscles that you’ll use.

5. Neglecting Cool Downs

After a long run, you might feel tempted to skip the cooldown and hop straight in the shower. Don’t. The cool-down helps your body adjust after the session, reduces heart rate, and stretching your muscles could aid recovery over the next few days.

6. Ignoring Small Injuries

Every runner has felt a twinge or niggle during a run but decided to push through. Downplaying a potential injury can lead to a more serious problem that takes longer to recover from. If you feel discomfort, get it checked out by a professional.

7. Avoiding Strength Training and Cross Training

Strength training and cross-training may not be as exciting as running, but they play a significant role in a balanced exercise routine. Incorporating bodyweight exercises and activities like cycling or swimming can greatly impact your training and prevent injuries.

8. Poor Fuelling and Refuelling

A common mistake runners make is neglecting nutrition both before and after runs. Fuelling and refuelling are integral parts of your training plan and contribute to your performance. Make sure you have the necessary snacks and hydration to support your run.

9. Forgetting Sunscreen

If we could offer you one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. It’s easy to forget sunscreen in the rush to hit the trails or roads. But applying it should be high on your priority list to prevent painful burns and the risk of dehydration.

10. Trying to Fix Everything at Once

This might sound like a proactive approach rather than a bad habit. However, trying to correct every aspect of your running, and experimenting with new diets, shoes or workouts all at once could be overwhelming. Instead, make gradual changes so you can fully understand their impact.

Every runner is likely to recognise at least one of these habits. If you spotted something familiar or think we’ve missed a habit, let us know in the comments below!

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