Avoid these five running mistakes during 5K season

The season for weekend fun runs, charity 5Ks and multi-stage team relays is here! In the early season it’s especially important to avoid common training mistakes to keep runners healthy and competitive all summer (or all year) long. As recreational and competitive runners hit the roads and trails to prepare for upcoming events avoiding training errors will go a long way to running safer and more successfully.

This is an especially important message considering about 60 to 65 percent of all runners experience an injury during the average year.

Because of the repetitive nature of running, injuries are common. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles problems, knee pain, IT band friction syndrome … these are all frequent complaints I hear as a Physical Therapist.  Often at the core of these injuries are training errors, poor strength, flexibility or form.

To help keep runners on schedule throughout the spring and summer outdoor season, I suggest avoiding the following five running mistakes:

1. Skipping Warmup and Cooldown

While workout windows can be tight and difficult to secure during a given week, don’t use time constraints as an excuse to avoid properly warming up and cooling down before and after a run. Some walking, light jogging, skipping, high knees and butt kicks prior to running increases heart rate and circulation, loosens up the joints and increases blood flow to the muscles. For your cooldown, do some light walking and stretching to help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to stiffness and muscle cramps.

2. Wearing the Wrong Shoes

How your feet strike the ground will affect muscles and joints throughout your body’s entire kinetic chain, from the feet and ankles, through the knees and hips, and up into your spine and torso. If your shoes don’t fit properly, support your feet correctly or sufficiently absorb the impact of each stride, you’re going to feel it. It’s important to not only wear a good, high-quality shoe, but also one that matches your foot type and running style.

3. Not Listening to the Body

Don’t subscribe to a “no pain, no gain” model when running. Sure, you’ll want to push your body hard, but if you feel pain or an unnatural level of discomfort or fatigue, stop, assess, and seek treatment from a physical therapist or other medical professional if necessary.

4. Focusing Only on Cardio Fitness

With running, cardio fitness is certainly important. But when it comes to both injury prevention and performance enhancement, a well-rounded approach to fitness is key.  Your training should include proper warm up and cool down as well as regular flexibility and strength sessions (like a PhysioYoga class!)

5. Forgetting to Rest

It’s good to push yourself, but rest and recovery are essential in avoiding injury, burnout and plateauing before you’ve reached your full potential. Always work rest into your long-term training regimen. This doesn’t mean just kicking up your feet and relaxing for a day. I prefer to think of it as “active rest”. On a day off do something entirely different - go for a bike ride or swim, hit a yoga class or just catch up with some friends for a walk along the river.


To learn more about staying healthy throughout your running season, contact the team at Saskatoon PhysioYoga. As Physical Therapists and Medical Yoga Therapists, we’re here to help you with a personalized assessment and the development of training regimens that can enhance your running performance and ensure optimal injury prevention.

Good luck out there everyone! See you on the trails. #RunSmart