Have you tried this new fad, jogging. I believe it’s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j. I’m not sure, but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild.

Oh yes Ron Burgandy, running is all the rage. 

And, believe it or not, there is a right way to run.  But, of course you knew that.  So, for the sake of your runner friends, take a moment to brush up on the 5 mistakes every other runner makes so you can give’em some pointers. 

Just Do It

In most every situation yes, but when it comes to running, Nike has this one all wrong.  Do me a favor; go to the park, a trail, or the track and watch people run.  Do you see what I see?  The majority of people look like they are in an immense amount of pain performing some sort of repetitive action that in no way resembles what I would call running.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs a little cardio in their life, but if you are going to run spend some time working on your form.  Worst case, follow the 80/20 rule; 80 % of the time lace up your kicks and put one foot in front of the other.  Then, spend the other 20% of the time doing running drills to improve your stride, foot strike, and arm swing.  Remember, becoming more efficient means running longer, while using less energy and recovering faster. 

Ass and Elbows

In this scenario, I am referring to what you see as a runner darts into the distance, in a all out sprint, seconds after executing a picturesque loop, swoop, and pull.  Let’s pump the brakes real quick.  After you secure your shoes, but before you set out in pursuit of a sub-four minute mile, I want you to try a little something we call a dynamic warm up.  Think of it as stretching while moving, not static stretching.  Set aside eight to 10 minutes for jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and leg swings.  Break a sweat, get your heart rate going, and prepare your body for the work it is about to put in.  If you do you can expect to perform better, running faster and further. 

I’ve Got This

Ah, the last words of the over confident runner.  Yes, at some point in the months leading up to a marathon, you are going to have to run 20 miles.  But, week two of your training program is not the right time to set out on the longest run of your life.  As a matter of fact, it is a terrible idea.  Chances are you are not going to finish the run and if you do the chances are even better that you will be a. injured, b. sore for days, c. intimated by the thought of running long, or d. all of the above.  A better plan of attack would be to create a workout program that increases the distance and intensity gradually over time. 

Skinny Fat; aka the Buddha Belly. 

Like the bumblebee, this one is a physical anomaly.  If you run, why do you have a bird chest, scrawny arms, and a beer belly?  I don’t know; how do those little wings carry a bumblebee into flight?  Fortunately, for our sake, the Buddha belly is not a feat of divine engineering.  Quite the opposite in fact, it is a consequence of your own misguided training and nutrition. 

The problem is twofold.  First, it has to do with what you’re eating.  Runner is not a synonym for garbage disposal.  Yes, running burns a lot of calories and the more you run the more you need to eat.  However, think of eating as fueling-up not a free-for-all.  No, that does not mean carbing up with a pasta party or breakfast pastry.  Eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies.  Then, prepare for and recover from workouts by including carbohydrates as part of your meal, snack, or shake. 

Part two.  Tell me if any of this sounds familiar; you run a lot, really far, and think that’s all there is to it?  Sorry to have to be that guy, but you’re gonna have to re-evaluate a few things.  The long run is great for endurance, but will not alter body composition on its own.  So, the missing links?  Speed and strength.  Mixing in some kettlebell swings and hill sprints a few days a week will have you looking like you actually workout in no time. 

I Need _______ Before I Can Start Running

Insert any costly and non-essential running gear here.  I will spot you a pair of new, properly fitted running shoes.  After that you do not NEED a fuel belt, compression socks, heart rate monitor, GPS, skort, or “those energy gel things.”  If, subconsciously they make you feel better, go for it.  But, what you really NEED to do is take a moment, re-read this article, and stop sabotaging yourself. 

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