Starting a new sport and getting into something you are not very familiar with can be equally exciting and daunting. A sport like running seems simple from the outside, just get out there and run -right? However a lot of beginner runners get too eager too soon and end up heading down the wrong path. Today we are going to discuss two common mistakes that beginner runners make and what you can do to avoid them.
A key factor that needs to be addressed before you start running is footwear. Running shoes can significantly influence how comfortably and efficiently you are running and may be the difference between developing an injury or not. We take more than 6000 steps when we run just 5 kilometres (assuming an average height, stride length and cadence). This means that if you are not in the right shoes for your foot type, gait pattern and running type, you are putting your feet and lower limbs under a huge amount of unnecessary load. Therefore it is very important that you have the right equipment for the task. You would not use a squash racquet to play tennis, so why treat running shoes any different. Get the right shoe for you!
Choosing the right shoe is something that we see many beginner runners get confused about as there are several different factors that need to be addressed. This is a topic that I could talk about all day but, the easiest way to avoid mistakes and being confused is to go to a reputable running shoe store. They will measure BOTH your feet, watch you walk/run and ensure that you find a shoe that is right for you both in comfort and function. Some stores even allow you to test the shoes on a treadmill in store to check that it is the under the foot feel that you are after.
2. Too much too soon
Another common mistake that we see beginner runners make is doing too much running too soon. People start training for an upcoming event, or they are excited to try out their new shoes they go from 0km running per week to 15km or more! This is a huge spike in training load that the body is not used to and is why overuse injuries are a common occurrence for beginner runners. Running puts high amounts of force through our soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments) and for people who are new to running, this is force that the body is not yet conditioned to.
That is why it is extremely important that you take a gradual approach to running training. Start with 1 – 2 shorter runs a week, mixed in with a few walks and rest days in between. Then, as the body starts to adapt and get used to the increased force, your training load can increase. This is very individualised as every athlete is different, so it is important that you listen to your body during this process. Keep an eye on our website in the coming weeks, as I will be releasing a ‘Couch to 5km’ program, which is perfect for people who are new to running or that are getting back into running.
To ensure that you get the most out of your running and reduce the risk of injury, it is important that the correct steps be taken along the way. If you have any questions about what I have discussed today or running in general, do not hesitate to call the clinic and book in with me for a detailed running assessment and further discussion into all things running.
By Patrick Morrison