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6 Running Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Body

Written by: Megan Watts



Time to read 5 min

Running is a great cardio exercise, but it can do more harm than good if you’re not careful. You should know a few rules and tips before you lace up your sneakers and hit the road. Stay healthy and safe and make every run more satisfying by avoiding these six running mistakes that can hurt your body.

Skipping the Warm-Up

We all lead busy lives. Finding time to run regularly is difficult enough, and when you do get a chance to get out there, the last thing you want to do is wait around. However, a pre-run warm-up is one of the most important parts of running. If you don’t take the time to warm up your muscles, you put yourself at a higher risk of injury when you start your run.

The type of stretches you do matter. Before you begin your run, focus on dynamic stretches that warm up your muscles and get your blood flowing. Dynamic stretches include high knees, lunge walks, and other active movements that you don’t hold for very long. Save long, held stretches such as toe touches and yoga poses for your post-run cooldown.

Using Poor Form

As with any sport or exercise, your form determines how successful you are when you run. More importantly, poor form increases your chances of hurting yourself. Keep an eye on your form and focus on avoiding these common running mistakes that can hurt your body.


Many common running injuries come from overstriding. Taking longer strides doesn’t improve your speed or efficiency. Instead, longer strides mean putting your front foot too far ahead of your center of gravity. You also land heel first, which can lead to discomfort or injuries such as shin splints.

To correct overstriding, focus on landing midsole with each step. Don’t lunge with your steps; instead, keep your feet beneath your body. Avoid overstriding everywhere you run, but especially on downhills, where it can make you lose control.

Upper Body Form

Slumping, moving your arms too much, and other mistakes can exhaust you faster and strain your muscles unnecessarily. As you run, pay attention to your posture and how you hold your arms. Keeping your hands too high can exhaust your arms and cause tension in the shoulders and neck. Additionally, swinging your arms from side to side encourages slouching, which strains your back and makes breathing less efficient.

To follow proper running form, hold your arms at waist height. When you swing your arms, rotate them back and forth instead of side to side. Keep your back straight and your head up, even—and especially—when you’re tired at the end of your run. Good running posture will prevent pain in the shoulders, neck, and lower back.

Tackling Too Much Too Soon

Whether you’re starting to run for the first time or getting back into the habit, it’s important to progress slowly and give your body plenty of time to adjust. Increasing your mileage too quickly, participating in too many events, or even running too often can lead to injuries, burnout, and plain, simple exhaustion.

Don’t wear yourself out just as you’re beginning. You have plenty of time to achieve all the running goals you set for yourself, so slow down and increase your running gradually. Try increasing your mileage little by little each week. Alternatively, try the three-week plan, in which you increase the length of your run by a few miles and hold that mileage for three weeks. These processes give your body time to adjust to the increased challenge in a healthy manner.

Wearing the Wrong Equipment

Your comfort should be a priority when you run. That’s why runners must have the right gear to stay safe and successful while on runs.

The Right Clothes

Material is key when you’re choosing running clothes, especially if you’re running in different weather conditions. In colder weather, you want layers that will keep you warm without causing you to overheat. In hot weather, clothes that are too tight or too dark can also cause you to overheat. No matter when you run, choose moisture-wicking materials that will keep sweat away from your body and help you stay comfortable.

The Right Shoes

The wrong shoes can increase your risk of injury and lead to seriously uncomfortable runs. Don’t settle for worn-out shoes or a style that offers no support for your feet and ankles. Choose reliable brands that make shoes specifically for running. If you’re wondering where to start, explore the collection of high-performance men's running shoes at Mountain High Outfitters. These products offer better support, tread, and cushioning as you run.

When buying shoes, remember to always measure your feet so that you get the most accurate size possible. Finally, try to replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. This will prevent you from running on worn-down shoes.

Not Fueling Your Body Right

Running takes a lot of energy, which means your body needs the right fuel to stay energized and to prevent crashing halfway through. Pay attention to what you eat and drink before, during, and after your run. Drink water until about an hour before your run so that you can hydrate your body while preventing side stitches. Remember to stay hydrated during your run by drinking water or sports drinks as you get thirsty. Finally, rehydrate afterward by drinking sports drinks, which will boost sodium and electrolyte levels.

As for food, try to eat something high in carbohydrates around two hours before you run. On long runs, replace lost calories with sports drinks or easily digestible foods such as energy bars. You also want to end your runs by refueling. Eating within half an hour of ending your workout helps your body rebuild glucose stores, and it can even prevent muscle stiffness.

Being Impatient

Everyone takes their workout journeys differently. The way you practice, learn, and build up skills will be completely unique, so there’s no point in comparing yourself to others. Focus on your progress, and don’t worry about others. Listen to your body, put your best foot forward, and celebrate the wins no matter how small they are. When you’re patient and gentle with yourself, every run is a little more successful and a lot more satisfying.

Running can be an incredibly rewarding activity, but it’s important to approach it with the right knowledge and mindset to avoid common pitfalls that can lead to injury. By avoiding these six running mistakes, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable running experience.
Start by prioritizing a proper warm-up to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Focus on maintaining good form, particularly avoiding overstriding and keeping your upper body posture correct. Gradually increase your mileage to prevent overexertion, and ensure you have the right equipment, including appropriate clothing and shoes that provide proper support. Additionally, fuel your body correctly with adequate hydration and nutrition before, during, and after your runs.

Finally, remember to be patient with yourself and your progress. Running is a journey, and each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory worth celebrating. At Mountain High Outfitters, we’re here to support your running endeavors with high-quality gear and expert advice. Visit us to explore our range of running products and find everything you need to enhance your running experience. Stay safe, stay motivated, and keep running towards your goals!