Going the extra mile: running do’s and don’ts

If you want to start getting the most out of your runs or are thinking about taking up running as a regular form or exercise, it pays to know the do’s and don’ts. Knowing what you are doing when running can help you get the best possible workout while also avoiding injuries.

As well as being safe and letting people know when and where you’re going running, you should follow these do’s and don’ts to have the best possible runs:

Do stretch 

It is important to lightly stretch your muscles before and after your run, as this will improve your range of motion and reduce tightness in your muscles. Not stretching can result in pulls and strains, which can be painful and stop your being able to run for a while.

Don’t wear old shoes

Your running shoes should be tip-top condition in order to provide you with the right level of support and grip. You should also avoid wearing shoes that are meant for other sports as they may not be suitable for running and could increase your risk of injury.

Do land midsole

You should ensure you are landing on midsole of your foot when running, instead of your heel. This will help to reduce the impact of each step on your joints and bones, as your muscles are able to better catch the weight of your body. This is especially important if you run on hard surfaces like concrete.

Don’t use long strides

Using long strides when running can use more energy while being less effective. It also means you are less stable, which can increase your risk of falling and mean that you are not able to catch yourself before you do. Instead, you should stand tall and lean forward slightly, which allows you to step forward slightly more if you do feel like you’re going to fall.

Do run at your own pace

Running for leisure isn’t a race and so you don’t need to push yourself too hard. While a challenge is good, overdoing it can cause injury. Pay attention to your body, as it will tell you if you are pushing yourself too hard and need to alter your pace.

Don’t wear hats in warm weather

You lose most of your body’s heat through the top of your head, so if the weather is warm and you put on a hat, you risk overheating on your run. Instead, keep your head bare and if you still overheat, try putting cold water over your head to cool off.

Do wear loose-fitting clothing

Another way to avoid overheating is to wear loose-fitting clothing, as they will allow heat to escape. You should also opt for fabrics that will remove perspiration from your skin, as this will help your body cool down faster and reduce chafing. This means steering clear of cotton.

Don’t take painkillers

You shouldn’t take pain killers to try and mask an injury that is caused by running or hurts when running just so you can carry on. This can make your injury worse and mean that you can’t exercise at all until it heals. If you are too injured to run, try a low impact exercise instead, such as swimming.

Do be aware of your surroundings

While it is easy to get in the zone when running and block everything else out, this can mean you’re more vulnerable to hazards, such as cars, bikes and pedestrians. You should always be alert enough to see hazards and should ensure you’re watching out for cars when running on a road rather than expecting them to watch out for you.

Don’t wear headphones

The beat of your music may help to drive you on, but the music will also reduce how alert you are as you can’t hear hazards. If you want to run with music playing, opt for a treadmill rather than running outside.

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