5 Running Red Flags That Can Be Hard To Spot When You're Pounding The Pavement
The feeling of going out for a nice long run when the weather is just right can be a truly blissful experience. That endorphin-infused, feel-good runner's high is no joke, my friends, and it feels freaking incredible. However, if you do pound the pavement on the reg, there are definitely a few running red flags that you should be on the lookout for, to keep your body safe and happy while you're out there on the roads.
If you're a runner, it can be all too easy to get lost in the magic of your stride (not to mention the kickass playlist you made to keep you motivated), and to forget about the precautions you should always be taking to prevent injuries and keep yourself safe. But there are a few subtle signals you can tuck into the back of your mind to pay attention to, which will notify you that something's up before the issue turns into a more serious injury, or a recurring source of pain. After all, if you're someone who looks forward to your daily jog, you know there's nothing worse than getting sidelined because of a pesky, but totally preventable injury.
Make sure you're mindful of these five running red flags so you can pound the pavement in peace.
1. Your Shins Are Killing You
If your shins are constantly aching or persistently sore during or after your runs, instead of just slapping an ice bag on them and calling it a day, you might want to look more into the issue.
According to Verywell Fit, shin pain can be prevented by making sure that you're not "over-striding" during your jogs. This simply means being mindful that you're not landing heel first on the pavement with each stride, since that would cause your foot to be way ahead of your body's natural center of gravity.
Focus on landing your foot lightly, directly beneath your body during your cardio sessions, to help prevent aches, pains, and even shin splints.
2. Your Neck And Shoulders Are Painfully Stiff
If you're just starting out with a new running routine, you might assume that you only need to focus on what your lower body is doing during your jogs because, well, you're mainly using your legs to run, right?
This may be true, but ignoring your upper body during your run can lead to shoulder and neck tension caused by poor upper-body form. According to Competitor.com, relaxing your upper body is key, especially during longer sweat sessions. Practice keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed during your runs to ward off that uninvited tension.
Another tip: When you're not working out, every now and then, try raising your shoulders to your ears, then dropping them back down in a slow, relaxed motion, to remind yourself to stay calm, cool, and collected all the time, but especially while you're pounding the pavement.
3. You Have A "Side Stitch" When You Run
Even if you have no idea what the heck a side stitch is, I'm willing to bet you've experienced it before during a run. A side stitch is basically a feeling that resembles a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage, according to Verywell Fit. Though it may feel scary at first, it's simply your body telling you that you're most likely not breathing correctly while you're exercising.
Make sure you're practicing deep belly breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing), rather than short, shallow breaths while you're out on your jogs. This will ward of any rude side stitches that attempt to cross your path.
4. You Can't Get Through A Run Without Major Foot Pain
Experiencing pain in your feet, and even your knees while pounding the pavement is no joke, my friends, so don't ignore the early signs of something that could turn out to be more serious.
Lifehack reports a whole list of terrifying-sounding running injuries, all of which can be caused by the simple mistake of wearing the wrong pair of running shoes. Iliotibial band syndrome? Achilles tendinitis? Sounds just lovely, doesn't it?
Make sure you do your research to find the right running shoe for you, so that a flimsy, tattered old pair of Nikes isn't the one thing that's throwing off your whole running game.
5. You Constantly Get Headaches After You Run
Some people might say that their cardio sessions cause headaches because they're just boring AF, but for people who actually enjoy running, post-run headaches can seriously throw you off.
According to Runner's World, your post-run brain pain can be caused by a number of different things, including changes in blood flow to the brain during your sweat sesh, an imbalance of electrolytes if you're not drinking enough water, or even a low blood sugar situation.
If you stay on the lookout for these red flags, you'll be able to pound the pavement with ease, girl. Happy running!