Jogging and running has been, for decades now, one of the most popular exercises for most people who actually exercise. It’s the exercise that basically built up the whole Nike brand. Today, up to 60 million people jog, run, or go with trail running as a regular fitness routine.
Running regularly, for the most part, is a good thing for your health. On the other hand, you may have developed other bad habits to go with your running routine. These bad habits reduce the effectiveness of your running, and they may even do some harm to your health.
Here are some bad habits that you should really break if you’re running regularly:
Forgetting Your Sunscreen
It’s true that some sunshine on your skin can be good for you. After all, it’s one easy way for your body to get vitamin D. But you should limit your sun exposure to just 20 minutes at the most.
You’re probably running outdoors for a longer time, and that means you should really use sunscreen to protect your skin from overexposure to the UV rays. You need to do this even if it’s overcast.
These UV rays can reach your inner skin layers, and this can damage and kill your skin cells. At the very least, the damage to your skin can lead to sunburn, while you also look much older. But there’s also the risk of skin cancer to consider.
This is the reason why running in treadmills in your local Max Fitness gym. At least you’re indoors.
Not Stretching Afterwards
It’s true that static stretching with cold muscles isn’t a good idea. But you should still loosen up with some bit of warmup routine beforehand.
And you really must loosen up your muscles after your run, as this can help prevent injuries.
Running Too Hard or Too Much
If you’re a newbie or recovering from an injury, you’re supposed to take it easy when you start (or restart) running. You can go running for maybe 20 to 30 minutes, every other day. After each week, you can go just a bit longer or just a bit faster. Try to improve your performance by 10% or so.
Make sure you rest at least 2 days a week, and monitor the condition of your knees. Make sure you wear good running shoes as well.
You’re Starting a Race Too Fast
If the point is winning a long race, then you shouldn’t be among the frontrunners when the race starts. Hold back in the early stages and conserve your energy. Know your pace (maybe you can use a GPS watch) so you can adjust your pace to what you know you can do for the long term.
You’re Not Refueling Properly
After a good run, you probably don’t need to be told to drink some water to replenish all that lost fluids. But you should also get a snack that’s high with carbs, along with some protein with your meal to help your muscles rebuild.
You Forget Your Core
Working your core offers lots of benefits to your running. At the very least, you’ll improve your stability and balance. Some studies even show that doing core exercises about 4 times a week for about 6 weeks can improve your 5K running time by about 30 seconds.
You can always do your core exercises on the days you’re not running.
As a runner, you’re probably very much aware of how your body feels. When you have pains and aches, you’re probably self-medicating with some over-the-counter medication (like ibuprofen) or applying ice to the aching areas. It’s not a big deal, you think.
But some of these injuries may not be as negligible as you might think. If the pain doesn’t go away after 3 days, you really should consult your doctor. More running may exacerbate your injuries.
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can really hurt your running performance. It compromises your immunity, reduces your mental sharpness, and slows down your recovery.
Of course, not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, although it’s common for people to need about 7 to 9 hours a night. But you can log your sleep time in your training journal to see how much sleep is best for you. Then you can try to maintain that much sleep each night.