7 Common training errors for runners

Running has never been more popular. People of all ages and abilities are lacing up the runners and getting out on the pavements, trails and fields across the country. Everyone has their own personal goals – lose a few pounds, run a marathon, run a personal best, have a chat with a friend or simply just to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Whatever your goals, here are a few common mistakes that we see coming into our physiotherapy clinic here in Dunboyne.

1. Starting too hard and fast.

Definitely the most common mistake we see is people who start running with great gusto. They increase their mileage week on week, start doing fast runs too early and then, usually between 4-8 weeks in, they start to get a niggle, which becomes a pain, which becomes a problem. When starting into running, even if you have previously run a lot, start slow, build volume slowly over 6-8 weeks before you even consider any pace work. For the true beginners there are plenty of really good programmes out there which will bring you along slowly and steadily, such as the couch to 5km programme.

2. Ill-fitting runners.

Your runners are the tools of the trade. They are important. They need to fit well. Don’t buy runners online. Go to a good running shop and get fitted for a pair of runners that suit your needs and fit snugly. It might just save you a few Physiotherapy bills!

3. Keeping up with the latest fad.

Should I be heel striking or toe striking? Should I be wearing a minimalist shoe? Should I be barefoot running? All of these things can be important to a runner; however, this is individual to every runner. Your needs should be assessed by a qualified individual. However, as a rule of thumb, if it’s not causing pain and you can continue to run as much as you want to, don’t change it.

4. Lone Ranger.

For some people, running is all about headspace and solitude. But for most, running can be a great social interaction. You are far more likely to keep training if you have a training partner or buddy to go out with.

5. Under Fuelling.

Running, like all exercise, requires fuelling. Make sure you have enough of the right calories in your system before heading out on a run, especially a long run. Having a meal within 30 minutes of your run will help recovery and mend any muscle damage which happens during the run.

6. Include some strength work.

After starting too quickly, this is the next most common mistake people make. They run, and run, and only run. This can feel great for a while but including some strength training in your week will help prevent injury. The main muscles to target are those of the lower limb, especially the gluteals, quads, hamstrings and calves.

7. Stretching.

Yes, it can be boring, yes it can take time, but stretching the large working muscle groups directly after a run can help aid recovery, maintain joint range of motion and reduce post run muscle stiffness. Hold the stretches for 30-40 seconds. You’ll feel much better for it.

PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne recommendation.

Running is a great form of exercise to get active and enjoy the great outdoors. However, to avoid injury and get the most from your training, start slowly and build volume up over 6-8 weeks. Get a good pair of fitted running shoes and take care of yourself by eating well and stretching regularly. If you notice any pain or a niggle in any muscles, contact one of our physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne and get it checked out.


PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath

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