5 Mistakes to Avoid After Running

Before you hit the sofa after a run, read through these common post-run mistakes.

When you hit the pavement (or trail) to run, your muscles are challenged while your joints are forced to work harder. Your brain goes into overdrive while you are forced to focus on each step. Once your workout ends, the recovery phase begins, which is yet another important phase in the running process. Your body needs to compensate for all stress it was subjected to so you can move to the next level of performance. Some runners take the recovery process for granted or simply make mistakes after running that can be a detriment to your healing.

Mistakes to Avoid After Running

Skipping Cool Down

You run straight to your front door and head right in to plop down on the sofa. You are done running, so why not just be done? Ending your training so abruptly is a big mistake. Your body needs a chance to cool down gradually after each workout. Intentionally wrap your training sessions up with a cool down.

When you are finished with a run, take five minutes to reduce your speed, which will slow your heart rate. Allow times for stretching at the end, which will help to prevent soreness while keeping your muscles flexible.

Failing to Rehydrate

Metabolic waste, also known as lactic acid, is produced after intense workouts. Your body needs to eliminate this waste after each workout and can only do so effectively if you rehydrate after an intense workout. Drinking plenty of water and/or electrolyte replacement drinks within two hours after a run is advised to supply your muscles with nutrients and oxygen.

For every hour you work out, increase your fluid intake by:

  • .5 liters for moderate levels of activity
  • 1-1.5 liters for intense levels of activity

Failing to Take a Break

When you work out hard, you need to take a break. Ensure you get enough sleep so your muscles, tendons and bones have plenty of chance to recover. If you deprive your body of sleep for too long, you can increase your risk of injury and strain as well as a significant drop in performance.

Failing to Replenish Glycogen Stores

You put your body through a lot each run, using up a lot of energy and burned calories. Your stores need to be replenished as soon as possible so you do not prevent muscle growth or slow your recovery, which can be a great way to increase your injury risk.

3 Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes You May be Making

Can you have too much of a good thing? The sources say yes.

If you are like many other runners, you probably spend the months prior to a big race focusing on training. Along with paying close attention to how you work out and how often, you likely take extra measures to eat and drink well. Perhaps you are drinking tons of water, loading up on carbs and getting extra servings of fruits and beans – but is this the best way to fuel your body before a race?

Many runners lean toward extremes, which is not always the best thing to do before a race. Skimping on certain foods or overdoing drinks or other foods can have a huge impact on your performance. Here are some tips on how to avoid common pre-race nutrition mistakes to heighten your chances of securing the PR you are striving for.

Fueling Up with Tons of Pasta

You eat an extra serving or two of pasta the night before a race. You need to fuel up on carbs after all, right? And won’t you just burn through them the next day? Not so fast. Flooding your body with excessive carbs can lead to digestive issues that may send you to the portable toilet at every mile marker. Large amounts of any type of food will throw your system off.

Instead, eat moderate quantities of carbs for several days leading up to race day. Eat healthy carbs like oatmeal for one meal and pasta for another – and only eat to fullness.

Chugging Gallons of Water Before a Race

Drinking lots of water is good for you – but drinking too much can leave you not only feeling bloated but can dilute your electrolyte stores. If your electrolyte levels are off, it can lead to muscle cramping and weakness. In rare cases, a condition called hyponatremia may develop, which is a life-threatening condition that is brought on by abnormally low levels of sodium.

To prevent this, drink fluids as you normally would on the days leading up to race day. On race day, drink 16 ounces of water two to three hours before starting time to give your body ample amounts of time to process extra fluid. Then grab another cup or two of right before you hit the starting point.

Eating Too Much Fiber

Fiber is also good for you. Lots of beans, whole grains, and cruciferous vegetables should be included in everyone’s diets – especially the diet of a runner. If you eat a lot of these foods on a regular basis, your body may have no trouble eating it right before a race. But if you don’t regularly eat high-fiber foods, pre-race time is not the time to become a vegetarian. Loading up on foods high in fiber can lead to uncomfortable gas.

If you are concerned that fiber may be an issue for you, eliminate those foods three days prior to race day, including bran cereals and beans. You can still eat fruits and vegetables in modest portions. If you race weekly, simply reduce your fiber intake on race day only.

3 Keys to Efficient Downhill Running

Tips to avoid injury while keeping speed up.

Sometimes gravity is your friend. It may not be when it comes to stepping out of your car and your phone smacks down on the pavement or when you are twenty feet up a tree, but it is when it comes to running efficiently downhill. If your body is unable to handle the momentum, it will naturally put on the brakes to maintain control as you propel downward.

Efficient downhill running is comprised of a few factors that apply both on and off road. Maintaining proper mechanics and ensuring that you keep your legs under you at the highest speed you can maintain are important.

When it comes to extreme trail running, it is important to have leg speed and coordination as well as quick reaction time to avoid or use obstacles that come up along the way. To accomplish this, you should have your key muscles activated, proper running mechanics and joint stability.

Activating Key Muscles

The abdominal and glute muscles are important when it comes to forcing production and control with the body. By activating and utilizing these muscles adequately while running, you will have greater control over your legs as well, which can minimize the impact of the quads and knees that are typically beaten during downhill runs. By maintaining this control, you are taking control of gravity and keeping control over your momentum, which can make it easier to avoid obstacles while on the trail. One way to ensure you keep your abs and glutes strong and trail ready is to integrate core and strength stability work while training.

Proper Mechanics

Focusing on your running form will help you immensely. Maintaining a strong circular motion of your legs underneath your body as well as a tall posture are the foundations of efficient downhill running, as in all forms of running. This means you should lift your knees when out in front of you, allowing your foot to strike directly beneath your body then pulling your heel back around to repeat the cycle. A lot of people run wrong, with lower-leg dominance rather than running from their hips while minimally raising knees. Running this way greatly reduces your ability to keep your momentum up while running downward and can make it necessary for you to slow down much earlier than you would have to otherwise, which would adversely affect your time.

Joint Stability

When it comes to controlling your body’s forward speed and direction, your ability to maintain spinal stability is crucial. You can maintain this through your spine, hips, knees, and ankles. Aim to keep your muscles strong surrounding your joints to create this stability. You can strengthen your joints with single- and double-leg strength and balance exercises. You should strive to be able to stay stable during quick shifts in direction, not only in terms of injury prevention but also when it comes to agility and quickness.

How to Improve Your Running Form


Avoid injury and run faster with these tips

Injuries while running will undoubtedly slow you down. If you are serious about running, you probably already take steps to prevent injury. After all, you do not want to become one of the 37 to 56 percent of runners who incur sport-related injuries annually. But did you know that concentrating on technicalities such as running form can help to not only avoid injury but good form can also make the difference between being a winner and a runner-up in a race! By practicing technique, you can be faster and more efficient. So in the spirit of helping you propel forward, here are some ways you can improve your form while avoiding common running mistakes.

Your Foot Strike

Numerous coaches suggest that heel-striking is the primary cause of running injuries, but landing on your heel is not the end of the world. The bigger issue is landing on a straight leg in front of your body, which means you are pushing into the force of the road which can slow impact on your forward motion.

Many amateurs tend to over-stride in order to take a longer stride, which can lead to serious injuries. This is the form of heel-smashing, aggressive foot strike that should be avoided because it sends impact shock through the leg.

In all actuality, it does not make so much of a difference where you land on your foot with each step – many professional runners are heel-strikers. Instead, it is more important where your foot lands in connection to the rest of your body rather than which part of your foot hits the ground first. So rather than focusing on whether you land on your forefoot or heel, allow your body to dictate which part of your foot is best to land on, based on your speed and genetics.

Keep Your Feet Underneath Your Body

Keep your feet directly under your center of mass rather than taking massive strides. Taking larger strides not only burns unnecessary energy but it also can lead to the aforementioned hard heel-striking, which can add extra pressure on your knees and hips.

Cadence

The number of steps you take in a minute, also called cadence, impacts your form. If you are doing too many, your stride may be short or if you run too few, you may be bounding. The rule of thumb was around 180 steps per minute for proper body economics, but this does not always apply. Rather adjust your cadence based on your level of running. If you are a slower runner, strive for 165 steps per minute and if you are faster, aim for 170 steps per minute.

Keep Your Back Tall

Many runners tend to lean forward from your waist. Although a slight forward lean is part of good running form, it should not come from the waist but instead the ankles. A subtle forward lean will happen naturally from the lower legs so do not deliberately try to lean forward. Instead concentrate on keeping your back tall with a straight posture.

Reduce Arm Sway

Arms move naturally with your legs in most cases.. Your arms should not be swinging back and forth at your midline, nor far out in front of your body.