How to Break Bad Running Habits
Bad running habits can keep you from progressing and may cost you quite a bit of energy in the long run. The thing is, most runners don’t even know they have them and If you constantly ignore them, it’s like driving down the main road with a loose tarp on top of your car. The resistance the tarp causes will decrease your fuel economy and your trip enthusiasm will also go with it. If you look around on the road, you may notice that many runners are do the same things incorrectly. They often move and posture themselves in ways that are not very efficient, which compromises their ability to stay fresh and run faster.
Below you can see some of the most common running problems and bad runner habits, and how to correct them as well.
Looking at your feet while running
You are cutting off a certain amount of oxygen when you look down at your feet while running. That’s a common bad habit in beginners. By the way, it can slightly slow you down and affect your concentration. In fact, there is nothing important to see at your feet. Instead, you should look at least several feet ahead of you.
It is very important to take a snack rich in carbohydrates, then a meal with proteins and carbs in order to strengthen your muscle after the hard, exhausting runs. Proper nutrition is an essential thing of any professional runner, or casual runner just the same. Understanding proper nutrition after, before and during the runs is of great importance. Do not let your body run out of fuel, especially during the longer more endurance demanding runs!
Hard running after an injury
When coming back from a serious injury you must not run too much too soon if you are still not ready for it. Instead, you need to stay healthy and take things slowly for a while. It’s recommended to up your mileage by 10 percent every week.
Swinging the arms across the body
Every movement must be back or forward when you run, otherwise, you will additionally lose your energy with other motions. The same goes when you cross your hands in the middle of your upper body. This way your upper body is forced to work harder, which significantly saps your energy. To avoid this, you should be aware of the position of your hands when running, as well as to move your elbows front to back all the time. That will make your hands follow the same movement. You need to keep your elbows at an angle of about 90 degrees, since it is harder for the arms to cross when you keep them a little lower.
Bouncing up and down
If you go up in the air when running, it doesn’t mean you will faster move forward. Just on the contrary. Your body should go horizontally across the certain terrain. When you toe out from the ground in the back of your step, you mustn’t bounce up. Try to “propel” yourself forward instead. This action in your bouncing feet will help you create a better running habit and speed you up.
Get faster and stronger on every single run
Many athletes expect for themselves to get faster, stronger and better in a short period of time, which has negative consequences for them. If you continually expect better running results from yourself, it can be a tiresome and demotivating habit. Your body does not need a hard everyday workout in order to get faster and/or stronger. It requires a rest from time to time. When resting, your muscle tissue gets repaired, and thus you become stronger over time. Besides, you need to run easy during your “easy days,” which will help you get faster. The question is how much slower you should go on these days. For instance, some of the top world’s runners go about 150 seconds slower per mile compared to their normal race pace for the marathon. Let it be your benchmark, and calculate your own pace during easy days in accordance with this value.
Keeping the same pace in hotter weather
This is another thing that refers to the changing of your race pace in extraordinary conditions. It is very important to lower your running pace whenever summer hits because it is much more difficult to run in the heat. Do not underestimate this fact! Furthermore, you should drink a lot of water in hotter weather.
Some people ignore stretching before running. Okay, you can skip it sometimes before a run when your muscles are still cold, but make sure to relax your muscles after a run because the post-run muscle loosening will help you prevent injury.
Start a race too fast
Due to the great excitement, some runners start a race too fast. That’s wrong. You have to control yourself during the whole race and “hold your horses” early in a race. If you hold back at the start of the race, it will likely screw up your PR hopes. In order to know your pace all the time, you can consider wearing a special GPS watch.
In addition to aforementioned tips, there are also many other tips on how to increase speed and become a better runner, but you should focus on what is truly manageable for you. Try to identify your bad habits and curb them immediately.