You’ve got your spandex on and a full queue of This American Life episodes loaded onto your phone, so you’re good to go pound that pavement, right? Hang on a sec. There is only one right way to go for a run, and chances are you’re doing it one of the million other wrong ways and also you haven’t left yet and you probably won’t. Here are five things you’re doing wrong on that run that you’re definitely not on right now:
1. You’re Inside
Here’s your first mistake: You haven’t left yet. Unless you have a treadmill, running happens outside, and you are still indoors. You put on your leggings and media armband hours ago and have yet to leave the house. If you’d left two hours ago, you would have missed peak foot-traffic in the park, but if you leave now that jogging path with be clogged with yuppies. That’s a big mistake!
2. You’re Not Moving
Here’s another whoopsie: You aren’t actually moving! Running is for sure moving. And even if you start moving, you might do it wrong. Look at the uneven wear on the soles of your running shoes, or on the Uggs indoor slippers that are still on your feet: you overpronate and are a heel-striker. Did you know if your heels hit the pavement before the rest of your foot, you push off with less power with each stride? Even so, you’re still on the couch.
3. Your Hands Are in a Cheetos Bag
It’s a common misconception that running primarily happens below the waist. What you do with your hands is important, too. Do you have them clenched like fists? Loose and floppy like empty surgical gloves? Or is one grasping a mug of hot cocoa while the other rummages in a near-empty Cheetos bag, all inside the cozy apartment you have yet to leave? Uh-oh! You should be holding your first two fingers and thumb in a gentle pinch. Practice with a Cheeto.
4. Your Gaze Isn’t On the Horizon, It’s On Your Fourth Consecutive Episode of Everybody Loves Raymond
When running, you should look straight ahead at the horizon to protect your neck and maintain proper form, but right now your gaze is fixed entirely on the TV, which you’ve been watching for hours now. How will Ray and Debra deal with Bernie and Linda Gruenfelder’s uncomfortable public displays of affection? That’s a big no-no—and so is the angle at which you’re craning your head to see the TV while painting your toenails.
5. You Don’t Even Own Running Shoes
Much like bra sizes, shoe sizes can be misleading, especially for women. You may be wearing a size too big, which will leave your ankles without support and make you vulnerable to sprains. Or you may not even own sneakers, and your plan for a run has been minimized to a “walk to the corner” in “an hour maybe.” Ow, just the thought of it makes your ankles sore!
Remember, going on a run is filled with traps that might make you more tired more quickly or susceptible to injuries. With that knowledge, is it really worth it to try? No. No it’s not.