Top 10 Common Running Mistakes

Running is one of the few aerobic workout activities that improve every area of your body instead of a select few muscle groups. It is most beneficial for your cardiovascular health. There are many people who want to adopt this exercise but don’t end up getting the results they want because they make some of the common running mistakes that prevent them from defining their body. Read on for the top 10 common running mistakes.

It’s important to clarify that there are different types of runners: long distance, short distance sprint runners, trail enthusiasts and gym trainers. All of these routines can be improved upon when you learn how to avoid some of the common running mistakes. Here are the top 10 common running mistakes:

Top 10 Common Running Mistakes

1. Diversify Your Routine
The most common mistake is focusing solely on running for your cardio health instead of incorporating other exercises or strength training into your regime. Jogging is great if you want to lose weight but in order to manage your health you will have to gain muscle – this helps your body burn more calories throughout the day and while your body is at rest. By integrating hills, slopes or stairs into your run it becomes more versatile and helps you shape your body.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

2. Running Too Long
Another common mistake is running for too long in order to lose weight. Losing weight doesn’t only come in the form of cardio. By making the workout longer than 45 minutes you can waste a lot of energy that could go into strengthening your muscles which would then burn calories even while your body is at rest.

3. Incorrect Posture
Always ensure that your posture is correct while running. Don’t keep your shoulders too far back because it can prevent you from getting the momentum you need to keep going – especially, if you are covering a long distance. Allow your arms to push you forward as you run. Make impact on your toes instead of your heels to prevent shin splints and try not to exercise on concrete or asphalt since it will increase the impact and put more pressure on your back.

4. Not Warming Up and Down
Don’t ever forget to stretch or warm up. You are far more likely to suffer from an injury or pull a leg muscle if you don’t increase the blood flow to your muscles. Blood delivers nutrients to your body, which it needs when you are exercising hard. Stretching also helps your body warm up to a current temperature. If you go running outside and weather conditions are cold your muscles are far more tense than if the temperature were warm. If you fail to stretch tense muscles you can increase your chances of dealing with an injury.

5. Treadmill
Running on a treadmill without an incline is not going to give you the best workout. By increasing the incline you can focus on all areas of your legs instead of one or two. It’s recommended that if the incline is high you workout at a slow pace instead of at a fast pace. If you are working out on hills outside you will also want to jog at a much slower pace to avoid pulling a muscle.

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6. Speed
Adjust your speed regularly. By going from fast to slow quickly your heart rate will fluctuate and make your body work harder. You can alternate between sprinting and jogging, do so for shorter periods at a time and you’ll get a better workout than if you were to jog slowly for an hour. Continuously slowing down and speeding up your heart rate burns an excessive amount of calories and adds strength training to your routine.

7. Pushing Too Soon
Don’t push yourself too quickly if you are a beginner. You’ll want to go at a speed you’re comfortable with and stop if you are feeling tired. Create goals for yourself and if you haven’t had any cardio workouts in awhile, it may take you some time to adjust. Don’t push your lungs too hard, especially if your body is used to a sedentary lifestyle. Over time you will gain strength and stamina, which will help you, run harder for longer. It’s also a good idea to start out on a treadmill instead of running outside while training. The treadmill can measure your heart rate and allows you to adjust the incline.

8. Running Every Day
It’s better to focus on running and cardio exercises a select few times out of the week instead of doing it every day. Your muscles need time to recuperate and strengthen. Over-working them will not make you lose weight faster than if you were to switch off with weight lifting days. By focusing on weights a few days out of the week it will provide you with more strength when you are running so that you can go farther distances or work out for a longer period of time.

9. Over Eating or Drinking Before a Workout
Don’t eat or drink too much before physical activity. It can cause cramps while you are running and keep you from getting the best cardio workout. Eating too much can also keep you from running harder or longer. Try to have a small snack beforehand if you are hungry or result to a protein shake.

10. No Rest Days
Ensure that you get enough rest while you are improving your stamina and performance. By resting and sleeping enough it will help your muscles recover and keep you from taking days off because you feel sore. Having protein shakes will also keep you from missing a workout and help your muscles heal faster.

By avoiding some of the above common running mistakes, you can improve your running performance and avoid any preventable problems. By taking your time and caring for your muscle health before focusing on your physique, it will give you the foundation you need to improve your body shape. When you feel that your body is becoming stronger you can diversify your running furthermore and combine it with added strength training. Remember that everyone has their own fitness goals. Identify yours and base your workout off of the results you want in a fitness regime.

Share your own common running mistakes with us below.