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Tips for jogging: The 12 most important rules for running

Ten million people in Germany alone regularly lace up their running shoes. For good reason: jogging is healthy, strengthens the heart and circulation, prevents obesity and is also fun. So, shoes on and go?

Unfortunately, it's not that simple! Beginners in particular exaggerate the first few training units. In the idea of ​​improving health and fitness quickly, they neglect what constitutes endurance training: namely endurance.

Too much, too often, too fast - these are the most common jogging mistakes that often lead to injuries. In contrast to the muscles, our bones, joints, tendons and ligaments need several weeks before they can tolerate the running load.

“How the optimal running for beginners looks exactly like, depends on the load and also individually very different. So take the time to find out how your body reacts to running, ”advises Prof. Dr. Thomas Wessinghage, former world-class runner and medical director, medical director and managing director of three Medical Park clinics at Tegernsee.

For FIT FOR FUN, expert Prof. Dr. Wessinghage the twelve biggest jogging mistakes and gives tips on how to do it optimally.

Mistake 1: you're running too fast

The typical beginner's mistake is running too fast. A study by the Sport University Cologne has shown that 80 percent of German runners are too fast.

If you want to improve your well-being and fitness by jogging, you should definitely take it slow. Because the right pace is an essential prerequisite for effective endurance training.

Many important health effects of running, such as lowering blood pressure, normalizing blood lipid levels (cholesterol), strengthening the immune system, etc., are linked to a relaxed running pace.

"Running too fast, in which the carbohydrates are used as an energy source instead of the fat metabolism, negates these effects," warns Thomas Wessinghage.

His rule of thumb for the pace: "Run without panting". Anyone who can still talk while training is about right. Safety is provided by a heart rate monitor that gives a signal when the load limit is reached.

Error 2: You start without a previous medical check

Anyone who is overweight, sick or older than 35 years and rarely does sport should have a doctor checked out before the first run.

Even runners who want to compete in their first long competition, such as a marathon, are not allowed to start without a prior medical examination.

"Otherwise the risk is simply too high that undetected health disorders endanger the runner," warns Wessinghage. This also applies to regular or intensive training.

Because most deaths in sports are due to inadequate medical care of the participants.


Mistake 3: You're jogging in the wrong shoes

The right footwear is essential when jogging. "Bad shoes - which change your own running style too much - can cause problems and even injuries," emphasizes Wessinghage.

When buying shoes, you should seek advice, take enough time and listen to your body image. Fit and well-being are decisive criteria when buying running shoes.

Runners who have already found the perfect model for their needs should take their running shoes out of service after 600 kilometers at the latest.

This was the result of a study by FIT FOR FUN and the German Sport University in Cologne. In general, it is advisable for frequent runners to have several pairs to switch to. Then the cushioning material can recover between runs.

Mistake 4: You run as a beginner in a group

Running in a group is motivated, on the other hand it can tempt beginners to run too fast. When you first try jogging, you should pay close attention to your body so that you don't overload yourself. Therefore: no false ambition!

“Talk to your training partners, main and subordinate clauses should be possible. If fluent speaking is no longer possible and the sentences only come out in fragments, you should walk more slowly, ”says Wessinghage's rule of thumb for a healthy pace in the group. Of course, this also applies to advanced users.

Training plan

Mistake 5: You're not warming up properly

“Running is warming up. A separate warm-up before jogging is neither useful nor necessary, ”emphasizes Wessinghage.

However, it is very important to start the run at a slow pace so that the warm-up effect really comes into play. After 10 to 15 minutes, runners usually notice that jogging suddenly becomes easier for them.

"Now you are warmed up," says the running expert. Mobility training or stretching are ideal after a run - or during a short break in between.

Mistake 6: You feel too much on your joints

Exercise is the best solution to problems for overweight people. However, some would do well to start with walking or walking in order to avoid overloading the musculoskeletal system.

Because the maximum shock load that acts on the foot and thus on the joints above it is twice to three times as high when running as when walking. Gradually you can then switch to running.

Small steps are the right thing in every respect: “Don't be too demanding! At first, only jog very short distances and walk quietly in between, ”recommends Wessinghage.

Training plan

Mistake 7: You're jogging too late

Those who suffer from insomnia can potentially exacerbate their problems with exercise in the evening. There should be a break of at least two hours between exercise and sleep.

So it is better to run earlier - or, if your schedule does not allow it - at least deliberately slowly at a later hour. The ideal solution for many joggers: run in the morning or exercise during the lunch break.

"This disrupts the office and you are fresh into the second half of the day," advises Wessinghage. Advantage: Once the training is over, the evening is free for other activities.

Mistake 8: You're training too hard

If there is a disproportion between effort and recovery, one speaks of overtraining. This leads to a falling or stagnating level of performance because the body cannot keep up with the adjustment. Sore muscles are the most common form of being overwhelmed.

But there are also those that are considerably heavier. After running a marathon, for example, the immune system is often impaired for days to weeks.

In general, training that is too intense can lead to injuries, sleep disorders, infections and mood swings. Wessinghage therefore advises beginners and professionals alike: "Make sure you have sufficient regeneration and also take your professional stresses into account!"

Mistake 9: You drink too much or too little

Thirst can become a problem when it comes to runs that last significantly longer than an hour. “As a rule, the fluid reserves of a healthy organism are completely sufficient for shorter distances. And we don't want to become a neurotic who doesn't even want to jog to the newspaper kiosk around the corner without a drinking belt, ”says Dr. Thomas Wessinghage.

In the marathon, however, the rule applies: drink at every beverage station - little at a time, but regularly! The body can ultimately ingest up to 800 milliliters of fluid per hour.

Sodium and magnesium-containing mineral waters or thin juice spritzers without added sugar are suitable for runners. Alarm signals for a fluid deficit in the body: muscle cramps, dizziness or even nausea.

In the picture gallery: The best food for runners

Mistake 10: You finish your run with a sprint

If you want to get health benefits from jogging, you can end up messing things up with a violent sprint. Because every run at the limit is an explosion of strength.

At the end of the training, the muscles are tired, the interplay of the fibers no longer works perfectly, and there is a risk of injury.

The relaxing effect of running training can also fall victim to a final sprint, as adrenaline is poured out during intense work. "Quiet runs should always be ended quietly," advises Wessinghage.

Error 11: You jog irregularly

Many runners work hard one week, lazy the next, only to get going again. And they are surprised that they are not achieving the desired results when it comes to stamina and weight.

“You can only improve performance if you invest enough,” explains Wessinghage. If you do too little and expect too much, you are unrealistic and have to correct your own goals or your training schedule. Exactly how the optimal training frequency looks depends on the load and also varies greatly from person to person.

So take the time to find out how your body reacts to training! And always remember that exercise should be fun and promote health and relaxation - so don't put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

Error 12: You compare yourself to other runners

People are different - so are runners. Some run better early in the morning, others later in the day. Some need something in their stomachs, others love to run on an empty stomach. Some jog in nature, others prefer the treadmill. Professionals post their best times on Instagram that you can't even dream of.

The most important point in running in every way is personal wellbeing. That is why Dr. Thomas Wessinghage to all runners: “Find your own preferences and act accordingly.” Incidentally, this also applies to the right pulse during training and your personal training plan.

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