The Five Biggest Mistakes in Running
In over thirty years of running and racing I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Fortunately I have learned from them and moved on to make myself a better runner. I will list (in no particular order) what I feel are the five biggest mistakes in running.
Overtraining has happened in almost every competitive runner’s career. We try to squeeze in just one more speed session or just one more long run to make up for the one we missed. Overtraining will not only lead to injury but also to burnout. Years ago experts said there was no such thing as “burnout”. I beg to differ. Whenever you feel the urge to try and add in another long run or speed work I would suggest siding with caution.
Over Racing is one that too many people do. If you are a runner who just does races for fun and just likes to participate then you can ignore this one. However, if you are competitive and want to race to your full potential then I suggest planning your racing calendar strategically. The most races I ever did in one year was 15 but most of the time I averaged around 10 and did most of them well. If you race over 20 times in a year, you will not race to your full potential. Always plan plenty of rest after a marathon or half marathon.
Not only ignoring injuries but not allowing ample time to heal from one is a common mistake made by many of us. Runners can be an impatient group, but we better learn to be patient or we will pay in the long run. Many times during a run we will ignore what is “bad” pain. What I mean by that are things like knee, hip, or straining of a muscle. Pain such as general soreness is inevitable but as an endurance athlete it will not take you long to decipher the good pain from the bad pain. Just don’t ignore the serious signs of injury.
This one usually occurs in the longer distances. Under training can also lead to injury. Let me explain. If you are planning to run a marathon and have only been training for a month and your longest run is only 14 or 15 miles you are in trouble, my friend. The same would go for running a half. You should be able to cover at least 10 miles or you are in for a painful experience that could lead to an injury. Always do the proper mileage to avoid a disastrous race.
Updating Your Footwear
Being in the footwear business I see plenty of runners who go far beyond the miles that a shoe should get. Most shoes will get between 400-600 miles. Some get more and some get less depending on your style of running. I agree that shoes are a small fortune but so are x-rays and MRI’s. My suggestion is to alternate between a couple pair of shoes. Two pair alternated will last longer than purchasing three pair in succession. Just like some days we need a day off so do our shoes.
There you have it. My tips for serious runners who want to get the most from their training and racing. I would venture to say that over 80% of runners have made at least one of the above mistakes. Many of today’s runners do not know proper training and fly by the seat of her or his pants. Hope these tips have shed some light for you and I hope to enlighten you further in the weeks to come.