Every since I moved to the countryside I have more inspiration to exercise outdoors. To me it’s no wonder: I never quite understood why people voluntarily run between other pedestrians, not to mention cease grabbing the tube for longer distances. But since last year I really enjoy going for a jog or for a good old-fashioned walk. Unfortunately, a compleet city-dweller like me was prone to make a lot of missteps when I started out. Curious which? I’ll gladly share the 10 mistakes I made when I picked up running and hiking, simply so you don’t have to make them!
1: Not investing in proper footwear
I know this might seem like an open goal to many, but walking around on bad shoes is an absolute no-go for your feet. Blisters are the least of your concern; injuries are! I found this out the hard way when I ended up walking a long hike on my running shoes. So pass for extra stress on your feet, ankles, calves and knees and invest in some proper footwear* for both jogging and hiking.
* For jogging and running I prefer shoes with thin soles that lace up well under the ankle. For hiking I prefer the sturdy kind which are water-resistant. Make sure to visit a good shop so you can gather professional advice on the matter.
2: Not being willing to invest in suitable socks
Even if you’re rocking some really expensive kicks, the wrong socks will give you blisters and irritated skin. Both running socks and hiking socks make sure sweat and moisture is being reduced, preventing friction. They can also provide some extra support and padding in places where your feet can really use them.
3: Going out without a cellphone
You might be surprised by this, as I often leave my phone at home when I go out. But when you’re going for a (long) hike or run I wouldn’t recommend it. Unanticipated problems like injuries can often be eased when you’re able to contact home.
4: Making distances without Runkeeper
No, this isn’t a Runkeeper ad (even though it is admittedly one of my favorite apps)! I simply think an application that keeps track of the distance you made is crucial when you’re training. This way you can slowly progress into making more miles or picking up a faster pace. Naturally a simple pedometer will do the trick as well, but as long as you’re bringing your phone (see point 3) you might as well map your routes for future reference. Admittedly this is also my way out when – once again – I manage to get lost.
5: Not bringing (enough) water
“I’m only planning to be away for half an hour or so. And I just drank plenty!” This is me, before I enthusiastically lose my way (see point 4), notice the weather is a lot warmer than I anticipated, or when I’m simply having too much fun to turn around to have a sip. Bring at least one bottle of water*!
* For a hike I pack the first empty bottle I can get my hands on. But for running I’m planning to get this beautiful Embrava bottle for easy drinking.
6: Having a fatty meal before departure
Running off that hamburger you just ate? That’s no option for me. When I had a greasy meal before I go on a run or a hike, it takes everything to keep it down where it belongs.
7: Packing too little food before a long trek
Last year I did a hike of over 5 hours on a bottle of water and a bar of dark chocolate. Considering the fact that you use up about 300 calories an hour at a good pace, this is simply insufficient. During the last couple of miles I got extremely dizzy and the rest of the day I was really nauseated. This is a mistake I’m planning to make only once!
8: Not listening to what your body’s telling you
Are you at it and do you find yourself out of breath, or having painful twitches in your sides? This means you need to increase your fitness and stamina. That simply takes time, so make sure you allow yourself to build this up at a slow pace!
9: Ignoring injuries
Are you running or hiking, and do you get bothered by pain in your knees, feet or ankles? Make sure to stop heavy exercising immediately, and calmly walk it off. The moment you manage to capture a real injury, you might find yourself coping with it for months, or even years. Even when you think the problem is finally solved, your former injury will always remain your achilles-heel*!
* Get it? Achillles heel? *nudge nudge*
10: Not allowing yourself the time to heal
Did you catch an injury despite your best efforts? Then make sure to give it time to heal! That way you will have less chances on a physical setback and you’ll be on your feet again a lot quicker.
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Did you make mistakes when you started running or hiking? Make sure to share them in the comments!