You’re feeling amazing — the wind is at your back; you’ve hit your stride; it’s a perfect weather day. And then, something goes wrong. You feel a twinge in your knee; your stomach feels less than stellar or you get a mind-blowing headache from out of the blue. Any of these symptoms can be part of a larger problem that perhaps has been there all along without even the most expert runner realizing it. We’ve compiled our top 5 biggest running mistakes, along with some probable fixes, in hopes that you’ll be running again worry-free.

  • Starting off too strong/overtraining. There’s such a thing as too strong? In the world of running, yes. Ready for a couch to 10K? Ambitious for sure, but make sure you’re sticking to a training schedule that experts approve. Dr. Jason Karp, a running coach and author of Running a Marathon for Dummies, says, “When you embark on a training program that has you running more than ever before, do the same amount of work for two to three weeks before increasing the stress. That’ll give your muscles, bones and tendons time to adapt.” Also, being excited and gung ho at the beginning of any new training regimen can be a recipe for disaster. It’s literally a marathon — not a sprint.
  • Ignoring strength training. Runners run, right? Yes, but a great strength training regimen will only aid in helping any running novice or expert become faster, stronger and less prone to injury. Jon Lyons, founder of Run215 and WE/FIT Program Director at City Fitness, says that the biggest training mistake runners do is — believe it or not — run too much. “Without comprehensive strength and resistance training, you’re opening yourself up to a world of postural distortion patterns, improper gait mechanics or worse. All runners should be strength training two to three times a week if they want to run faster, longer and injury-free.”
  • Running while injured, at the threat of injury or exhibiting bad form. Sitting on the sidelines is a tough thing to muster, especially when you’re dedicated to a strict training plan with a race date deadline. However, running through injuries adds to the threat of making a short-term problem even worse in the long run (no pun intended). Dr. Matt Moran, founder of RUNtrix training programs, says that runners should learn to love running, even if they’re not improving. “It’s not just about getting to the finish line. It’s smarter to get to the line health, excited and confident than it is to show up fast.” Studies show that 50 to 80 percent of runners may get an injury year over year. Injury prevention, allowing for proper time to heal and making sure you adhere to rest days are key.
  • Lack of refueling knowledge. Are you running for weight loss? Your “car” still needs “gas” to go, or energy levels will be depleted. Outside Online reports that studies have shown that muscles absorb nutrients “best within 45 minutes of a workout.” So, even though you may not immediately be ready to eat after a hard run, don’t skip the recovery meal. The National Council on Strength and Fitness recommends a meal of protein and carbs in a 3:1 ratio “is optimal for post-workout muscle repair.” For example, within one to three hours of running, eat approximately one gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight and 20 to 25 grams of protein.
  • Forgetting to smell the roses. Ah — the beautiful blue skies, the endorphin release and the excitement of race day. Running is one of the most difficult, rewarding exercise programs there is, and forgetting to enjoy the moment and opting to be bogged down in the regimen of it all can take away from the ultimate experience. Purchase that cute running outfit, prep for the weather and feel the wind in your face — believe us, it’s worth it.


Want to learn more about how our Chiropractic Physical Medicine team can assist you in your running progress, training plan and more? We empower endurance athletes to get to the root cause of their pain, prevent further injury and to get back out on Chicago’s elite running trails doing the thing they love best. Click the button below to schedule an appointment!

Schedule an Appointment