If you are reading this article then chances are you are someone who enjoys running that much and it’s somehow part of your regular routine but let me tell you something – as much as it can be the best part of your day, it can also turn out to be the worst if you practice bad pre-run habits.
So, to correctly prepare yourself for a run, here are 5 of the worst things to do before you run!
1. Eat Too Much or Eat Too Close To Your Run
Of course we know we need fuel to run but that doesn’t mean we run on full stomach. The digestive process slows down while we run and is unable to operate as usual so being too full won’t help you and your stomach will thank you if you hold off from feasting.
Meanwhile, ideally, you should not also eat anything for two hours before you run. If you do eat this close to your run, you may end up giving yourself cramp or nausea. If you’re short on time and need some quick fuel, then opt for easily digesting carbs, like a liquid snack or some light smoothie, about 30 minutes before you run.
2. Over or Under hydrating
The same way as overeating before a run is bad for you, overhydrating will also make you feel uncomfortable and less efficient as you run. On the other hand, don’t skip water completely before a run — nothing is worse than starting a run and realizing how dry your throat is.
To make sure you stay hydrated, drink small amounts regularly throughout the day. When at home or at work, make sure you always have a glass of water in front of you, or if you are out and about, carry a bottle of water.
3. Forget To Go To The Toilet
Many good runs have been ruined due to a sudden call of nature and to avoid this, make sure that you go the toilet before you go out on your run. To avoid the need for constantly having to go for a pee, don’t overhydrate.
As for the other call of nature, just don’t eat anything that may cause any stomach upsets and be particularly careful if you are using energy gels on your run, especially if you are not used to them.
4. Static Stretching/Incorrect Warm-up
It is a common belief that all kinds of stretch are a good preparation for a run – well, not all. Prior to running, you should avoid static warm-up as though it lengthens the muscle, it also appears to affect the signals between the muscle and the brain, triggering a protective reflex that prevents the muscle from being overstretched. Instead, before your run, you want to do a dynamic warm up. Lunges, arm swings, leg swings, high knees are all great exercises.
Dynamic exercises are the ideal warm-up as they help reduce muscle friction and elevate your heart rate. Save the static stretching, such as touching your toes, until after you finish running.
Related Video: 6 Dynamic Warm-ups to Start Every Workout
5. Doubt Yourself
Lastly but most importantly, never have a second thought if you can do it! Running isn’t just physical – it’s also a mental game. Your greatest enemy is your own mind. You’re a runner, no matter how fast or slow you go – whether you run a slow half marathon or finish SUB1 10K. Stop talking yourself out of your goal and always think that a journey of a thousand mile begin with a single step!
Related Article: Mental Toughness: Does it Matter in Running?