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Break these Bad Runner Habits

If you've followed me for some time, you know that running is my passion, my outlet and my moving meditation. However, research suggests that almost half of runners end up with an injury each year, whether small or large. If you’re a runner, this statistic probably doesn’t surprise you because you’ve probably been "hurt" before. But, running and injury do not have to go hand in hand.

Many sport specific ailments are avoidable with a careful and calculated training routine, as well as post training routine. The first rule of thumb is that the plan you follow should be tailored to YOU. What works for your running friend, may not work for you. But beyond picking the right race prep plan, you can increase your risk for injury if you neglect certain preventative measures. Here are a few of the worst habits the majority of runners are guilty of!!

1. YOU DO MORE THAN YOUR BODY CAN HANDLE. Overuse injuries are simply a casualty of running more miles than your body can and should actually be doing. For many runners, this means ramping up mileage too quickly. Generally the rule of thumb is upping your mileage no more than 10-15% each week.

2. YOU DON’T COMPLETE HIP STRENGTHENING EXERCISES. Doing a bit of supplementary strength work in addition to your run training can make a world of difference when it comes to injury prevention. Hip strength is of the utmost importance, it’s where most of our power comes from. When certain muscles are weak, others have to pick up the slack—this can overwork the stronger muscles, leading to increased inflammation and often injury. Weakness in the hip-stabilizing muscles caused atypical lower-extremity mechanics and injuries in turn, which I can relate to

3. YOU WEAR THE TRENDIEST, AND NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST, RUNNING SHOES. Some of the most prominent research regarding running footwear suggests that comfort and size is the most important factor we should consider when choosing shoes and insoles. While one shoe may look great on paper, if it isn’t comfortable and doesn’t fit your running style, forget about it. Be sure to try on several pairs of running shoes and choose the ones that feel most natural on your feet when you’re running. Also remember to replace those kicks every 300–500 miles, since the cushioning and stability break down over time.

4. YOU SKIP REST DAYS. Rest is part of the training, not the absence of it. These days allow the body to bounce back and absorb all of your hard training. It allows your muscle to recovery and become stronger. Conversely, if you relentlessly stress your body day in and day out, you’ll end up running yourself right to the ground for the rest of the season.

5. NUTRITION. Running as a form of sport and exercise has very particular nutritional requirements. To get the best performance out of your body, you will need to be concentrating on what you eat and when you eat. Nutrient dense foods that fuel your body will be 100% best. How you feed your body directly impacts its performance. Complex carbohydrates provide slow and steady fuel and are necessary. Ones such as whole grains, vegetables and potatoes. Protein is also essential. It is essential for tendon and muscle repair, as well as essential for regulating hormones. The more often you run and the further distance you cover, the more repair work there will be for your muscles. Water consumption is essential for everyone, but even more so for the runner who is going to sweat more than average. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least two-three liters per day. Listen to your body, drink more when necessary and when running longer distance adding electrolytes in is a good idea as well. Vitamins and minerals will play an important factor in your running performance and endurance. Your extra energy requirements will also mean that you will need extra vitamins and minerals. Ideally, these should be provided from a healthy and well balanced diet of fresh and whole foods. But be sure to be in tune with your diet, and when necessary, fill in the gaps with proper vitamins and supplements to make sure your body is running and feeling optimal.

I hope these tips have shed some light. Happy runnings!

Xoxo, MK

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