No, this does not have anything to do with boozing before you run. That is probably also a poor choice, but your choice to make if so inclined. What I am talking about is mileage, footwear, and form. These are 3 common areas where runners go wrong and subsequently hurt themselves.
Mileage: Increase your mileage gradually - a very basic rule is no more than 10% a week. That means if you run 3 times a week (MWF) - 3, 3, and 4 miles respectively, that equals 10 miles total. The following week you could add 1 mile - so MWF - 4, 3, and 4 miles. There are situations where this rule doesn't apply, but for the sake of this blog, it is usually a safe way to go. Another important rule: It’s not ALWAYS about the mileage, its sometimes about the TIME. For example, a beginning runner should be more concerned with building stamina to run for 30 minutes continuously or 60 minutes continuously, before worrying about running 9, 8, 7, or 6 minute pace for X number of miles.
Footwear: The medical evidence is inconclusive on whether the new "minimalist" shoes are better than the old fashioned "cushioned heel" shoes. So don’t let advertising or enthusiasts tell you otherwise. My personal, BUT professional opinion is to invest in a good sneaker with good cushion, stability, and arch support - any combination of the three depending on your individual needs. Most good running stores can do a gait evaluation and provide advice. Also, examine your footwear! After a few months of the same shoe you can look at your wear pattern and determine if you have an imbalance or asymmetry in your form. Normal wear will reveal more wear on the outside of your heel and the inside of your forefoot. However, a significant difference on one side versus the other is cause for concern.
Form: Form could be a blog post in itself. Form could be a book by itself. Form is practiced everyday by elite runners all over the world and for good reason! Running with proper form increases your efficiency and decreases your chance of injury. Some simple things to think about:
1) Run relaxed: run forward, NOT up. If you are getting too much hang time you are pushing off too hard with your calves and likely to injure your Achilles tendon.
2) Shoulders down, elbows at 90 degrees, and hands in loose fists.
3) Drive your knees in a forward plane during running. Feet should not land on a midline, nor should they land wider than your hips. Any motion that is not straight forward is WASTED. In addition, any lateral motion could increase torque on your muscles and increase risk of injury.
Good luck pounding the pavement on days when you're not at Rise! See you in class!