As runners, we put in a lot of effort into our training, our focus is that we want to make every hard-earned training session count.
To get all of the rewards of each running session, we want to be going into them with the right mindset, and avoiding these 6 worst things to do before a run is a good plan.
Many of the following mistakes are all too common amongst runners, luckily they are actually very easy to avoid.
6 Worst Things to Do Before a Run
1. Static Stretching
This is one of the worst things to do before a run if our goal is not getting injured. And for sure that’s everyone’s goal.
It is not uncommon for many runners to put on their running shoes and go for some deep toe touching stretches or one legged quad stretches.
However, static stretching actually does more to block rather than activate our muscles and help us warm up for our run. Especially when we’re heading out for that morning run, when our muscles haven’t had the chance to warm up at all. In this case, one of the worst things to do before a run is to go straight into static stretches.
Instead, the best recommendation is to start off our running session with some good dynamic stretching routine that targets our running muscles, followed by some easy walking or jogging warm up.
The routine should include leg swings, lunges, squats, hip circles, calf raises.
That way, we give our muscles the chance to warm up gradually and reduce the risk of injury. Static stretches are essential for our post-run.
2. Drinking Alcohol
Drinking alcohol truly is one of the worst things to do before a run.
A glass of wine or a beer the night before a morning run may seem safe, but even if you don’t feel hungover, even a small amount of alcohol the night before has the capacity to make your run feel a lot harder with less energy.
Drinking alcohol affects our sleep. Waking up groggy and unsatisfied is one thing, but not getting enough sleep actually means that our body doesn’t recover as well from all our running training.
Some studies have suggested that drinking as little as 355ml of beer can disrupt the most beneficial kind of sleep.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning that too much of it could cause some dehydration before the run.
Save that ice cold beer for after your run, it will probably taste a lot better as well.
3. Eating Too Much Too Close To Our Run
Eating too much too close to our run is one of the worst things to do before a run.
This is an easy mistake to make if we have a long run planned for the morning. We might feel like we need to get some food before tackling the distance, but overdoing it can be all too easy.
But eating too much before our run can end up leaving us more uncomfortable during our run. We might be left with a nasty stitch or some stomach cramps.
While running our digestive system gets put on the back burner when it comes to what our body prioritises. During our run, our blood won’t be pumping to our digestive system as much as it usually would be, and the food will take longer to digest.
This means that if we eat too much too close to our run, it is going to sit heavy in our stomach and leave us feeling not so good.
The recommendation is fuelling properly before our run with a small, light, and simple snack 30 minutes before we start. It could be something simple like a piece of toast with some nut butter, an energy bar, a banana or even a Medjool date or other dried fruits .
To eat a normal meal before our run, we should eat 2 hours before our run to support a proper digestion.
4. Not Going To The Toilet
There is nothing more frustrating than being out on a run and realising too late that we should have spent an extra couple of minutes sitting on the toilet before heading out.
But according to a last minute schedule if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.
This can either be really inconvenient and disrupt the flow of our run, or just be a nightmare if there’s no toilet available. Otherwise jump in the bush.
So we need to try and train our body to get into the routine of a pre-run toilet trip and soon we’ll be doing it on autopilot.
We should also want to factor in this time spent on the toilet into our pre-run schedule, especially if we’ve got a tight morning run schedule. That way, we will have a proper pre-run toilet schedule.
Pro tip: If we’re heading out for a trail run, especially if it’s a long one, bring toilet paper, we will have access to bushes in nature.
5. Not Listening To Our Body
This is probably top of the list of worst things to do before a run.
It’s all too easy to grab ourself a training plan and to stick to it, but we should focus on our fitness level and how we feel.
Although this can be a great approach for some, sticking to a plan too strongly can often mean that we turn a blind eye to how our body is feeling.
Plans are awesome, we love plans, but they don’t know when we personally are recovering from illness, injury, or when life adds too much stress, or we are too tired.
It is important to have a plan, but being able to be flexible with it is a much healthier approach than forcing ourself through it and not listening to our body.
Often pushing through when we’re tired and achy is part of developing ourself as a runner, being flexible with a plan might actually mean that we’re more likely to reach our long term running goals without burning out during training.
So before a run, we need to focus on how our body is feeling. If we’re completely exhausted from all our training we need to remember that rest should be a key part of our running training.
If we have an ache or pain that won’t stop affecting us and keeps getting worse, we need to listen to our body. Maybe it’s time to take a rest from running, and focus on weight training sessions, and maybe see a physio.
6. Drinking Too Much Too Close To Your Run
We all know hydration is important for running, but drinking too much water before heading out the door is one of the worst things to do before a run.
Doing so will likely leave our stomach feeling incredibly uncomfortable.
If we drank lots of water before a run, we may be familiar with that nasty sensation in our gut.
Hydration is key to a good and efficient run, but drinking too much water pre-run will cause big stomach issues.
We should focus on just being generally well-hydrated in our day to day life, 2.5L is the standard recommendation, but if we are running in a hot location, or we exercise more than most, we should be drinking more.
For pre-run hydration, we should take small sips of water at regular intervals.
Taking small sips is important so that we don’t end up with that cramping and stomach issues. Proper pre-run hydration should follow our training plan and distance and local weather. Taking small sips a few times will be easier to digest than drinking a whole cup at once. And we need to hydrate properly during our run.
Pre-Run Organized Plans, Ready And Feeling Good Pre-Run, Enjoy A Good Strong Run!