There are generally 5 common running mistakes most runners make, or have made, at some point in their running lifetime.  They often happen because we don’t know any better, we just want to run and don’t think there’s much else to it.  Until we start doing it and we realize that it’s not as simple as it seems and that the runners that run like gazelles with perfect form have probably been working on perfecting this whole running thing for a long time.

When I first started running over 10 years ago I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t know anything about foot strike, run form, pace, cadence, intervals or what the heck a tempo run was.  I just decided it was something I wanted to do and I laced up my (old) sneakers and headed out.  I started with a couch to 5k app called Get Running which was great for helping me with walk/run intervals..but it still didn’t help me out at all with form or any kind of cross training aka strength work.  

Fast forward to 2014 when I started running Obstacle Course Races and I thought I didn’t really need to train my running because I would be stopping and starting.  Well little did I know that there is often LOTS of running at an OCR and when you can run well you do better and tend to not feel like you’re holding people back.  And yes, the “breaks” at obstacles are often welcome by most of us.

After falling in love with OCR I also fell back in love with running, especially trail running.  But I still didn’t know if I was running “right” and I had issues with shin splints, sore feet and my achilles.  That’s when I decided to get help – I took an online running program that focused on form and helping your run better and it was a game changer!  I learned how to run and what I was doing that was causing me pain.  I wanted to take it further and decided to get my run coach certification – that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Coupled with my Personal Training & Nutrition background I feel that I am now in a place that I can help more people become better runners and better OCR athletes.

I have found that most runners (myself included) make similar mistakes that can be easily corrected with consistency and patience.  I want to share with you the five most common running mistakes that I see from friends, clients and other runners:

  1. Not doing a proper warm up – I did this for years – walked to warm up or just ran. Joints need to warm up and so do muscles like a car that needs to warm up in -20.
  2. Not paying attention to run form or knowing that something is off.  Most runners don’t know what proper run form is and they can’t see themselves running. They just assume that running hurts their back or knees because they are unconditioned…not because they are running incorrectly.
  3. Running more and running faster with no logic or planning – a good training program should include runs that work on endurance, strength and speed – and will lay them out for you in a way that will help you reach your goals.
  4. Skipping strength training or just going to the gym and lift weights and squat more with no plan. As a runner you need to do specific exercises that will strengthen the muscles you use when running and help prevent imbalances. This is one of the number one ways to prevent injuries.
  5. Not stretching or doing any mobility work which can result in tight muscles and injuries.

Do you or have you done any of these things?

So how do you correct these mistakes and become a better runner? You know that you need to warm up and strength train but how do you know what to do and when to do it and for how long/often?

I put together a free 5 day training series that goes through each common mistake and what you can do to correct it and become a better runner.  You can get access to it here – Improve your running in 5 days training series.

Comment below or head over to my FaceBook page – Smart Fit Personal Training –  and let me know if you have made or are still making any of these common mistakes,

Happy racing,