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Common Running Mistakes and Fixes

Common Running Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Of course you know how to run — you've been doing it ever since you learned to walk. It seems pretty straightforward, but you could unknowingly be making some mistakes that not only hinder your performance, but worse, may be putting you at risk for an injury. Check out these five common running mistakes and how to fix them for your future runs.

The Wrong Footwear
The issue: Wearing shoes that don't fit properly, are not meant for the surface you're running on, or are too old won't support your feet effectively, which can lead to issues with foot or knee pain as well as impede proper running form. They also won't protect your joints from impact, which might be one reason you suffer from knee, hip, or lower-back pain.

The fix: Don't just pick out the cutest pair! Go to a running store and have an expert watch how you run so they can help you find the most supportive sneaker. And be honest about the surface you usually run on — don't buy a trail runner if you'll mostly be on the treadmill. Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles or more often if you notice pain or that they are no longer offering the cushion or support.

Not Hydrating
The issue: Not drinking enough water before, during, and after your run can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, or cramps, which may cause you to cut a workout short.

The fix: Drink 15 to 20 ounces of water one to two hours before working out; sip another eight ounces 15 minutes before. While running, sip six ounces of water every 15 minutes, or if you're working out for longer than an hour or in excessive heat, drink an electrolyte-replacement drink. Make sure to drink another 15 ounces of water after your run — you'll know it's enough when you visit the ladies' room and see light-colored urine.

Keep reading to learn about three more common running mistakes.

The Wrong Surface
The issue: Only running on a hard surface such as concrete will eventually cause issues with your joints.

The fix: Switch things up and run on softer surfaces such as dirt, grass, and even sand.

Improper Stretching
The issue: Stretching cold muscles before your run is a surefire way to pull a muscle. Equally damaging is forgetting to stretch afterward since regular stretching makes your muscles more supple, reducing your risk of injury.

The fix: Before your run, skip the stretching in favor of a five-minute dynamic warmup. Afterward, do this postrun stretching sequence that targets the hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, and lower back.

Not Cross-Training
The issue: Running is simple, easy, and effective at burning calories and strengthening your muscles, but strictly running and doing nothing else — even if you're training for a race — can put you at risk for an overuse injury.

The fix: Include cross-training sessions in your weekly routine to not only keep your muscles guessing but to also keep your spark for running alive. Try yoga, CrossFit, biking, Zumba, Pilates, Bar Method — anything other than running. Strengthening all your muscles will prevent muscular imbalance issues that can lead to common running injuries, and it will also make you a stronger, faster runner.

Image Source: Thinkstock
lady-T lady-T 9 years
i'll have to stop to pee if i drink 20-30 minutes before a workout and that will just throw me of course
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
I keep my iPod low enough to hear most conversations around me. I used to put it really loud to drown the noise, but when I took them off, I felt really def, like I just came out of a concert almost. (not THAT intense, but something like that).
DaPryncess DaPryncess 9 years
goody gum drops!
juju4 juju4 9 years
thinks = things I haven't had my caffeine yet!
juju4 juju4 9 years
Cubadog - I also think that people should remember the basic rules of being a pedestrian on the road...people need to be on the opposite side of the road FACING oncoming traffic. And they should keep their heads up and be aware of their surroundings! When people have their ipods turned up and their backs to traffic, looking at the ground, I think they are more likely to do stupid thinks like cross the road without looking. I can only imagine how scary that was to almost hit someone!
ffemt- you'll learn to love it. look at it as time with yourself to either organize your thought or lose yourself in music. i love my runs. i agree with cubadog- wear reflective gear!!! i run with my pup who is all black and even she has a little blue coat with reflectors on it. even though i keep my ipod low, i still am super aware when i have it on... GREAT tips fit!
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I think the reflective gear needs to have the entire paragraph in bold. I drive to work early I am shocked at the number of people dressed in all black with their IPODS on that decide that it would be smart to run out in front of a car. I had a guy do that to me and I almost hit him. Normally, I just sit and swear in my car but that time I rolled down my window and yelled at him to wear clothing that people could see.
ffemt1201 ffemt1201 9 years
i'm a beginner runner and while i always hated it (brings back memories of running in elementary school gym class), i'm growing to...tolerate it! and, hopefully, i'll learn to love running soon enough ;-) great tips though, especially for a rookie
smellen smellen 9 years
i really need new shoes as well. i think i'm going to try one of those places that actually watches you run & suggests the proper shoe. i know i will spend a bit more that my usual cheap sales at kohl's, but these knees aren't getting any younger ;)
ElissaM ElissaM 9 years
Thanks for the tips...I know I need new shoes
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Great tips! I make sure to follow them all!
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
Good timing for the tips because I am starting up my running again since it's nice out!
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
elle, i would just drink a lot throughout the day instead of before you run
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips!!
elle86 elle86 9 years
The dehydration part is something I was curious about. (As in how much to drink/when). The only problem is, I get stomach cramps if I drink a lot before I run, even 30 minutes before. Suggestions?
thanks for this. I'm an avid runner and used to balk at the thought of other types of exercise. I've incorporated weights and spinning over the past 2 months and my running distance has improved lots!
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