Even though the sport of running only involves putting one foot in front of the other, there are many mistakes that runners make on a daily basis. Listed below are seven of the most common; are you guilty?
Being Too Aggressive in Training
This mistake affects beginner and veteran runners alike. Often, it can be tempting to ramp up mileage or intensity too quickly, leading to physical or mental burnout. When starting a brand new training program or returning from injury, be mindful about how much mileage you add each week. The general rule of thumb is to add 10% to your weekly mileage total in order to minimize injury risk.
Ignoring the Little Things
There is so much more to running than simply running. Nutrition, hydration, sleep, recovery, and strengthening are all important components of being your best. When these “little” things are ignored, fatigue, vitamin deficiency, illness, and injury are all more likely to occur. Even small changes can make a big difference!
Trying to Win Workouts
Whether you train by yourself or with a partner, you may be doing yourself a disservice if you become too competitive during training runs or workouts. Runners tend to waste their best efforts by racing themselves or a friend when running intervals or trying to better a Strava course record, especially if pushing the pace daily. Slow down and remember to save the race effort for race day.
Following a Training Plan too Closely
Training plans are intended to guide your training, not rule your life. Some runners follow their plans too closely, refusing to be flexible when life, stress, or injury gets in the way. There is no training plan in existence that has zero wiggle room. Instead, allow yourself to make adjustments based on your needs, instead of destroying your body by trying to fit into a specific mold.
There are times when being stubborn is beneficial, such as during a tough race or workout. However, being stubborn can also turn small problems into big ones. Runners often refuse to take a day or two off due to illness or injury, which ultimately exacerbates the problem. Breaking a run streak or taking an unplanned day off will not hinder your training; however, showing up on the starting line in a walking boot will certainly delay your progress!
As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Runners often compare their speed, weight, height, running style, ability, diet, etc. to their running friends or foes. This bad habit only serves as a source of negativity, and can even propagate dangerous habits such as eating disorders. Instead of comparing yourself to others, strive to be better than you were previously. For instance, instead of analyzing how fast your training partner has been racing, compare where you are now versus where you were last year.
Striving for Perfection
Finally, runners have a tendency to be “Type A” personalities, beating themselves up over falling short of “perfect” performances, diets, or habits. Instead of seeking to be a perfect version of yourself, strive for continual progress in the many aspects of your life.
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