You put in a lot of effort into your training, so it’s only right that you want to make every hard-earned training session count.
To reap all of the rewards of each running session, you want to be going into them with the right mindset, and avoiding these 6 worst things to do before a run is a good place to start.
Many of the following mistakes are all too common among runners…
… but luckily, they are actually very easily avoidable!
So, are you ready to make the most out of every run?
Let’s get into the 6 worst things to do before a run!
#1: Static Stretching
This is one of the worst things to do before a run if your goal is not getting injured. And surely that’s everyones goal!
It is not uncommon for us runners to lace up our running shoes and go for some deep toe touching stretches or one legged heel-to-bum quad stretches.
However, contrary to popular belief, static stretching actually does more to hinder rather than help you get warm for your run.
Especially when you’re heading out for that morning run, when your 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, what we would recommend is to start off your running session with some easy walking or jogging followed by a dynamic stretching routine that targets your running muscles.
The routine could include leg swings, lunges, squats, or calf raises.
That way, you give your muscles the chance to warm up gradually and reduce the risk of injury.
Check out this article for the perfect dynamic stretching routine: 15 Dynamic Stretches For Runners: Benefits + How To Do Them
#2: Drinking Alcohol
This should be a no brainer, but drinking alcohol truly is one of the worst things to do before a run.
A glass of wine or a beer the night before your morning run may seem innocuous, but even if you don’t feel hungover, even a small amount of alcohol the night before has the capacity to make your run a feel lot harder.
For starters, drinking alcohol disturbs your sleep.
Waking up groggy and unsatisfied is one thing, but did you know that not getting enough sleep actually means that your body doesn’t recover as well from all your running training?
Some studies have suggested that drinking as little as 12 ounces of beer can disrupt the most beneficial kind of sleep.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning that too much of it could leave you dehydrated come your run (more on that in worst things to do before a run #6).
Save that ice cold beer for after your run, it will probably taste a lot better then too!
And as you’re sipping on it, how about checking out this article on the surprising benefits of the stuff: Should You Drink Beer After Running? Here’s The Optimal Amount
#3: Eating too much too close to your run
Eating too much too close to your run is one of the worst things to do before a run.
This is an easy mistake to make if you have a long run planned for the morning. You might feel like you need to get some food in you before tackling the distance, but overdoing it can be all too easy.
But eating too much before your run can end up leaving you uncomfortable on your run. You might be left with a nasty stitch or some stomach cramps.
As you’re running your digestive system gets put on the back burner when it comes to what your body prioritises. During your run, your blood won’t be pumping to your digestive system as much as it usually would be, and your food is going to take longer to digest.
This means that if you eat too much too close to your run it is going to sit heavy in your stomach and leave you feeling not so great.
But it can be a balancing act between eating too much and having enough energy to tackle your run or workout.
We would recommend fuelling before your run with a small, light, and simple snack 30 minutes before you head out. It could be something simple like a piece of toast with some nut butter, an energy bar, or even just grabbing a banana.
If you eat a larger meal before your run, be sure to give it enough time to digest. 2 hours should do the trick.
For a comprehensive rundown of pre-run fuelling check out this article: What To Eat Before Running In The Morning
Related: What To Eat The Night Before A Long Run For Maximum Results
#4: not Going to the toilet
Once you make this mistake once, you’ll be sure not to make it again.
There is nothing more frustrating than being out on a run and realising too late that you should have spent an extra couple of minutes sitting on the toilet before heading out.
But when nature calls… if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.
This can either be really inconvenient and disrupt the flow of your run, or just be a straight-up nightmare if there’s no toilet in sight.
So try and train your body to get into the routine of a pre-run toilet trip and soon you’ll be doing it on autopilot.
You also want to factor in this time spent on the toilet into your pre-run schedule, especially if you’ve got a tight morning run schedule. That way, you won’t be tempted to forgo this crucial time to save some extra minutes.
Take heed, you’ll save more time in the long run when your training sessions go ahead uninterrupted.
Pro tip: if you’re heading out for a trail run, especially if it’s a long one, bring toilet paper. You never know…
#5: Not listening to your body
This is probably top of the list of worst things to do before a run.
It’s all too easy to grab yourself a training plan and to stick to it to a T.
Although this can be a great approach for some, sticking to a plan too rigidly can often mean that you turn a blind eye to how your body is feeling.
Plans are awesome, we love plans, but they don’t know when you personally are recovering from illness, injury, or when life throws you a personal crisis.
It is important to have a plan, but being able to be flexible with it is a much healthier approach than forcing yourself through it whatever the circumstance.
Although often pushing through when you’re tired and achy is part of developing yourself as a runner, being flexible with a plan might actually mean that you’re more likely to reach your long term running goals without burning out during training.
So before a run, take a moment to notice how your body is feeling.
Are you completely exhausted from all your training? Remember that rest should be a key part of your running training.
Check out this article: How To Rest Like An Elite Athlete
Do you have an ache or pain that won’t stop bugging you and keeps getting worse? Listen to your body! Maybe it’s time to lay off the running, hop on the weight training wagon, and maybe see a physio.
Check out our section on: Running Injuries
#6: Drinking too much too close to your run
We all know hydration is important for running, but chugging lots of water before heading out the door is one of the worst things to do before a run.
Doing so will likely leave your stomach feeling incredibly uncomfortable.
If you have gulped down lots of water before a run, you may be familiar with that nasty sloshing sensation in your gut. I’ve had it before when I can even hear it splash around!
Well, that’s what we are looking to avoid.
Although hydration is key to happy and efficient running (and there are plenty of studies to prove it), knocking back lots of water pre-run is not the way to go.
Instead, focus on just being generally well-hydrated in your day to day life. 8 – 10 cups of water is the standard recommendation, but if you are someplace hot, or you exercise more than most, you should be drinking more!
And as for pre-run hydration, take small sips of water at regular intervals. It’s as simple as that!
Taking small sips is important so that you don’t end up with that sloshy stomach feeling.
And for the half-hour before your run, hold off on the liquids. Ideally, you should be well hydrated by this point.
For more hydration tips check out this article: Hydration For Runners: Everything You Need To Know!
So you’ve gone on your run, now what?
Now you know what the worst things to do before a run are, you absolutely nailed your run!
But what about your post-run routine? We’ve got you covered!
Check out this article on: The Best Post-Run Routine: Do These 9 Things After Every Run