No matter how hard I try to shave minutes — okay, seconds — off my per-mile time, I hover between running (less than 10 minutes a mile) and jogging (more than 10 minutes a mile). It used to kill me, working so hard to try for a new PR, then failing by just a few seconds. But you know what? I just found out that running slower is better for you than pushing to run faster... and there are loads of other ways I've been running "wrong," too. Have you fallen into any of these running pitfalls, too? Let's find out.
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1 Running Fast
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology earlier this year, slower runners (like me) live longer than fast runner, and (obvs) people who don't run at all. The lesson here, I think, is that slow is good. Hooray! I'm good at slow.
When it comes to running, it's important to understand that it's not just about speed. Sure, running fast can be fun and it can be a great way to get a good workout, but it's not the only way to get the benefits of running. In fact, research suggests that running at a slower pace can be just as beneficial, if not more so, than running at a faster pace.
For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that slower runners live longer than faster runners—and even longer than people who don't run at all. This suggests that running at a slower pace can be just as beneficial as running at a faster pace.
In addition to the health benefits of running, it can also be a great way to relieve stress and improve your mood. Studies have shown that running can help to reduce anxiety and depression, and it can also help to improve your overall sense of well-being.
Finally, running can also help to improve your overall fitness level. Studies have shown that regular running can help to increase your aerobic capacity, improve your muscle strength, and even help to reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
2 Running Far
That same study also showed that we runners may be running too far, or more miles than we need to. Aim for 20 minutes of running, which should be about one to two and a half miles.
The benefits of running are numerous and include improved cardiovascular health, increased strength, and improved mental health. Studies have shown that running can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and even reduce the risk of some diseases. Additionally, running can help you lose weight and build muscle.
However, the amount of running you should do is important. Too much running can lead to overtraining and injuries. According to a recent study, running for 20 minutes can provide the same health benefits as running for longer distances. This means that running for one to two and a half miles is enough to reap the benefits of running.
In order to get the most out of your running, it is important to focus on your form and technique. Proper form can help you run more efficiently and reduce the risk of injury. Make sure to keep your body upright, your feet light on the ground, and your arms relaxed. Additionally, focus on your breathing and try to keep it steady.
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3 No Rest for the Runner
One more thing the Copenhagen City Heart Study revealed is that rest days are important. We only need to run those 20 minutes two or three times a week. That's the opposite of what I've been doing, taking two rest days!
4 Fancy Gear
Fancy gear isn't always the right gear. Make sure you're choosing your shoes and other running gear based on what you need, rather than what's cool or new.
5 Too Much!
This is a lesson I learned the hard way: don't try to ramp up your distance too much at once. A good rule of thumb? You can safely add an extra mile for every day per week you run, but stay at the new distance for at least two weeks before you up the distance again.
6 Happy & Hydrated
Again, this is another lesson I learned by doing it all wrong at first. There's a reason someone invented those hand-held or waist-belt water bottles, and it's to prevent the cramps, fatigue, and other misery you'll face if you don't hydrate during and after a run.
7 Switch the Surface
You risk injury (and boredom) if you run on the same surface all the time. Switch it up! Run on the track for speed day, on the trail when you're going for distance, and on pavement for tempo runs... or whatever works best for you, as long as you're changing surfaces once in a while.
Which of these running mistakes have you made? Me? I've made them all. Are there any other no-nos I ought to avoid?
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