We list down the common bad habits of many runners when they run as well as the ways on how to break them.
- Not applying sun protection
Runners have different reasons why they don’t use sun protection whenever they run. They say that they are running under the shade. They also reason out that the weather is not too hot or they tell you that the sunscreen will disappear once they begin sweating. No matter what the weather it may be, it is essential to protect your skin from the sun damage because regular exposure will increase your risk for skin cancer. Runners should put on sunscreen even on cloudy days as the UV rays still exist during that weather.
Break the habit by: using a water-resistant sunscreen that has sun protection factor of at least 30 or have broad spectrum protection that protects you against UVA and UVB rays. You may opt to use stick formulations so the sunscreen won’t run into your eyes. If you are running for more than a couple of hours and you know that you will be sweating more, carry extra sunscreen so you can reapply. Sweat makes sun protection products less effective; thus, reapplication is necessary.
- Insufficient hydration
Some runners don’t drink water while running because they think they’ll get a side stitch. There are some who avoid water stops during races because they want to finish the race ahead or on time. Running causes loss of fluids; hence, replenishment of the loss fluid is needed so as not to put yourself at risk for dehydration and other heat-related problems. Dehydration has detrimental effects on your health.
Break the habit by: hydrating during the run to avoid the ill-effects of dehydration, most especially when you are running beyond 30 minutes. Runners should obey their thirst and drink water especially when they feel their mouth is dry and they feel the need to drink.
- Swinging your arms across your chest
The most efficient way to run is by using back and forth movement. Swinging your arms across the midline of your body forces your upper body to work a lot harder, wasting too much energy. Doing this movement tends your body to hunch over. When you do this move, your chest is compressed, making it hard to breathe with ease. Swinging your arms across your chest also makes your legs cross over each other, too, so, break the bad habit.
Break the habit by: trying to pay more attention to where your arms are. Aim to relax your shoulders and try to keep your arms low and at a 90-degree angle. When you positioned your arms low, it is harder for them to cross. Focus on moving your elbow front to back, rotating at the shoulder. When you get tired, your shoulders and arms begin to creep up. If this happens, drop your arms to your side and shake them out. Then, re-position them at your sides, at a 90 degree angle.
- Ignoring body pains
Pain sends signal to your body that there is something wrong and needs attention. There are runners who push through pain while running or don’t address chronic issue that keeps arising frequently. Ignoring these signs may make your condition worse or it can lead to other serious problems like injuries.
Break the habit by: being attentive to the needs of your body. If you start experiencing pain such as muscle cramps during the run, stop and walk or stretch to see if you can relieve the pain. If the same pain persists when you run again or worse while you walk around, take a break from training and rest. If you notice that there is no improvement after that, see your doctor to better diagnose and treat your condition.
- Too much focused on running
If you want to become a better runner, you think that the key to it is to run more. That’s not the case. Runners need balance so they need other activities to strengthen their training. This will help reduce risk of injury as well as improve performance. Running on a daily basis without giving yourself a break can lead to injuries.
Break the habit by: including some cross-training activities into your weekly training. Swimming and biking are excellent choices for runners since these sports will provide your joints a break from pounding.
Yoga is also a better option because this will help you work on body’s strength and flexibility. Runners should do some strength training once or twice a week. This activity is beneficial as it builds strength and endurance and improves injury resistance.