Running is a solitary sport and, while that is one thing that many runners like most about it, it also means that there may be nobody around to point out if you have the proper running form. Some of the most common bad running habits are the result of poor planning or the wrong equipment but, fortunately, these are easy to fix if you take the time necessary to re-train yourself before it’s too late.
Stretching Before and After Running
One of the biggest bad habits for runners is not stretching enough. In our busy lifestyles, even dedicated runners sometimes cut this corner in order to shave a little time off their daily run. Taking the time to stretch before and after running may seem unnecessary but it is very important because it not only prepares your body for exercise, it allows it to recover afterward. Running cold without properly warming up your muscles can lead to serious injury. Similarly, running without cooling your muscles down afterwards can cause your muscles to tighten up which can result in shin splints or muscle pulls. Contrary to popular belief, even the most advanced running shoes cannot protect your body against injury if you do not take the time to stretch before and after every run.
Bad Running Form
Another common bad running habit is improper running form. With an individual sport like running, one can sometimes have bad form and never even realize it until it is too late. One way to avoid this is to run on a treadmill with a professional trainer so that your form can be observed and bad habits can be corrected. For example, some runners pump their arms across their chest when they run but this can actually decrease your momentum because the ener
gy generated by the movement of your arms is focused in the wrong direction. If you pump your arms straight, they will help to propel your body forward; however, if you run with your arms pumping across your chest, this same energy is wasted as no forward momentum is generated. By running on a treadmill, someone else can observe your running form and correct this type of mistake that you would never notice on a solitary run.
Many people think that all they need is a pair of running shoes and they are good to go, but running is not really that simple. Sure, a good pair of running shoes is important but taking the time to learn good form and incorporate a good stretching routine before and after your run will make all the difference. Good running habits not only insure that your run gets you the maximum health benefits, they also insure that you will not suffer from unnecessary injuries.