While this post is titled 6 Common Running Mistake to Avoid it can also be called 6 Common Running Mistakes that I have personally made as a runner.
As runners we all make mistakes. I’m not ashamed of them because in many ways a lot of those mistakes have taught me some very important lessons that have actually made me a stronger runner. In fact, the mistakes I’m about to share with you have all been personally made by me. I believe that sharing from personal experience is important.
Too Much Too Soon
We’ve all been there, well if not all I definitely have! You start feeling good, finally come back from injury, or just get inspired by all the awesome runners on social media that you starting picking up your mileage. What starts innocently can quickly turn into doing too much too soon and can lead to injury.
Most of you have probably heard the 10% rule – increase your mileage safely by only going up 10% per week. This is a great rule of thumb, but it’s also good to remember that specifically when coming back from injury to start slow and work your way up. Sure it may take you a bit longer to get back to what once was your normal mileage but your body will appreciate it!
Remember, an extra couple miles is NEVER worth an injury.
Did you know that some people train for a race without having any designated paces? My amazing friend Meridith is doing that right now, and she’s going for a sub 3 hour marathon! It intrigued me because once of the things I’ve loved about running throughout pregnancy is that I didn’t have to look at the pace.
Pace is not everything. It is a good practice to leave your watch at home some days, especially on easy days when it doesn’t matter how slow you run. Pace obsession can take a lot of the fun out of running so learning to balance workouts and paces without going overboard on obsessing over your pace can take some time to learn.
I always remind myself that at the end of the day (even when I don’t hit a workout) the most important thing to me is that I’m able to run and will continue to run long term.
Training for Only One Type of Race
If you are anything like me and love the marathon and half-marathon distance then that’s probably all you focus on. The distances are great but they are also distances that can lead quickly to injury.
After every marathon, and a proper recovery period, I now enter a phase of 5k/10k training. Not only does this cut down my miles but it also allows me to use different systems. 5k and 10k races have always been harder for me than longer distances, and that is why they are such a good challenge!
Don’t be afraid to train for other distances and incorporate them into your schedule. I truly believe that my success in cutting over an hour off my marathon time in one training season was only achieved because I spent a 8-10 weeks prior training for a 10k which helped work on speed.
Not Eating Enough
I don’t talk about nutrition often on my blog, because I know how triggering it can be for some people. However; through my experiences (both good and bad) I know that not eating enough will NEVER enhance your training. Your body needs food as fuel and you have to learn this to succeed. Cutting corners and running will only lead to injury and can have detrimental effects on the body.
The bottom line is – eat enough to fuel your body and your training. You will need to eat more in certain periods of training and that’s OKAY! Do what your body needs. Never cut corners.
Not Taking Easy Days
Easy days are the most underrated days for runners. We get so pumped up for the big workouts that we forget how awesome and important our easy days are.
When I was working with my coach prior to getting pregnant one of the things he said is that he would never prescribe a pace for easy days. Period. It does not matter whatsoever how slow you run as it’s all about recovery.
Even my husband who averages a sub 5:30 pace during marathons will run his easy days at my pace to start. It’s just about letting your body recover.
Easy days help to keep you injury free and let your body properly recover. Leave your watch at home if you have to but make sure you are truly SLOWING DOWN.
Ignoring the Small Things
For many years this has been my biggest downfall, and I know for several others as well. Running is great but to truly improve you have to focus on the small things as well.
We all have heard that things like strength training, cross training, stretching, foam rolling, and form drills are important to improving but how many of us still skip them anyways? Sometimes unfortunately it takes an injury or something more serious to be the wakeup call for many runners, including myself.
Don’t skip the little things. These are the things that can truly make a difference and can help us significantly improve as runners.
Running mistakes happen. I think it’s important to share them to hopefully enable others to not make the same mistakes.
What is one running mistake you have made?