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10 Bad Habits Every Runner Will Recognise

BY: The Running Channel
24 March 2022

Does getting out the door sound much better than doing activation exercises first? Have you ever felt a little niggle at the start of a run, but you’re sure it’s nothing, so carry on and finish the 10k at max effort anyway? Welcome to running bad habits.

Our presenters have been gone through some of the bad habits we can all be guilty of sometimes as runners. See if you can spot any that you do in this list.

BAD HABIT #1: RUNNING TOO HARD ON AN EASY RUN

Ever had a training session that was ‘30 minutes easy’ or ‘easy pace 5k’, but you felt amazing when you started running and so it turned into a ‘sprint as fast as you can and aim for a new PB’ kind of run?

We are all guilty of doing it, but those easy runs are there for a reason. Especially if you have a hard session planned for the following day, then you are going to feel a lot worse by running hard 2 days in a row, rather than running easy and allowing your body to have a rest.

BAD HABIT #2: SKIPPING REST DAYS

Skipping your rest days? Tempting some weeks isn’t it? But also not tempting at all other weeks! The reason we have rest days is to allow our bodies and especially our muscles to recover from the workouts they have done.

Being consistent with rest days and giving your body time to recover will really benefit your training – plus it can help reduce the risk of injury.

No matter how badly you want to skip, take that rest and perhaps go on a walk instead if it’s a really nice day.

BAD HABIT #3: RUNNING ON THE SAME SURFACE FOR EVERY RUN

Now this one you might not have thought of, but you could be doing it. Where do you run? Road every time, or a mixture of pavements, grass and trails?

Mixing up which surfaces you run on is a great way of adding variety into your workout routine. If you have a race coming up that is going to be on a type of surface that you’ve never run on before, it’s good to practice beforehand.

Surfaces, like grass or trails, are also softer to run on, so it may help to reduce the risk of injury if you build in some running on grass and trails, rather than running the same pavements every time.

BAD HABIT #4: SKIPPING THE WARM-UP

We’ve all thought about not warming up, or perhaps decided that the first mile is the warm-up? Either way, skipping the warm-up is a bad habit we should try and avoid.

You might find warming up boring, but activation exercises will make your run feel much better, allowing you to dive straight into the pace you want to go at, as well as helping to prevent injuries that can occur if your muscles are not warmed up before starting a run.

BAD HABIT #5: SKIPPING THE COOL DOWN

Ever skipped a cooldown? Then got really bad DOMS after? That’s why.

The cooldown is there to help your body after the session you’ve just completed. It helps to get your heart rate back to resting and stretching out your muscles after a run helps them to not ache as much the day after. So be kind to your body and don’t skip the cooldown.

BAD HABIT #6: DOWNPLAYING INJURIES

Ever felt something that didn’t feel right on a run but carried on anyway? Downplaying an injury could lead to a more serious one that will take longer to recover from.

Don’t worry if you do feel a niggle, it happens to us all – the best thing to do is get it checked out by a medical professional who can diagnose what the problem is and give you an effective treatment plan if you have picked up an injury.

BAD HABIT #7: SKIPPING CROSS TRAINING AND STRENGTH TRAINING

Cross-training and strength training – both things that we have heard runners like to avoid…a lot. Either your cross-training isn’t exciting enough so you run again instead or you find strength training boring so it never makes its way into your schedule.

Strength training and cross-training don’t have to take over your life. You don’t always need a gym membership or your own squat rack. Simple bodyweight exercises will still have a good effect on your training and going for a cycle or swim once a week could be great for your recovery too!

BAD HABIT #8: NOT REFUELLING AFTER A RUN

Fuelling and refuelling are so important to think about. You should be planning your nutrition alongside your workouts as fuelling correctly will enable you to perform at your best. So make the effort to fuel correctly, your training results will reward you if you do.

BAD HABIT #9: NOT WEARING SUNSCREEN

Who’s guilty of forgetting sunscreen? There is so much to remember sometimes when you leave the house for a run, especially if it’s a long one. Put sunscreen at the top of your priority list.

There is nothing worse than getting back from a long run and being burnt. It can be really painful and heat stroke due to dehydration is a serious problem that you don’t want to encounter. So keep the sunscreen by the door and apply it, even when you think you don’t need to.

BAD HABIT #10: FIXING IT ALL AT ONCE

Fixing it all at once. Might sound like a good habit rather than a bad one, but there is a case of too much of a good thing here. Trying to correct everything about your running plus ramping up your training, trying a new session AND wearing a new kit is too much all at once.

Spread out the changes that you make to your running to ensure that you take them on board and fully understand them. Otherwise, you could end up with worse problems than the ones you were trying to fix.

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