Five Common Training Mistakes To Avoid
Anyone who manages to get out for a run regularly should be applauded. Free time is something everyone could use more of, so if you’re committing some of that valuable time to running then all power to you, whatever you’re actually doing on those runs. That said, if you want to get the most from your running and reduce your risk of injury there are a few common pitfalls you’d be wise to avoid.
Running solo all the time
Don’t get us wrong – running by yourself is brilliant. It allows you to clear your head, listen to whatever you want and run your favourite route at your own pace. However, there are some joys of the sport that you can only get from running with others. For one, running hard sessions is much easier with a friend at your side or a coach in your ear, and it’s easy to keep easy runs easier if you’re nattering with a pal as you go. Even if you don’t feel like joining a club yet, convince someone you know to head out for a run with you, it’ll make the miles fly by.
Sticking to the same runs
Once running regularly most people fall into a pattern where they hit the same routes and run the same pace each time. This is fine for a few weeks, but even the best playlist or podcast won’t be able to stop that from getting boring eventually, and you’ll also reach a point where you no longer improve as a runner if you stick to the same runs each time.
Variety is the spice of life and the key to good training. Mix up your surfaces – softer trails will give your body a break from the impact of hard asphalt – and your paces. Interval runs are a great way to get quicker and liven up your training, and tempo sessions will train your body to run faster for longer – exactly what you need if you’re shooting for a PB at your next event.
Running too fast on easy days
Recovery or easy runs are as important as the hard runs on your training schedule, but a vast amount of runners get them wrong by running too fast. Just because you’re moving slowly, don’t be fooled into thinking your body isn’t getting plenty of benefits from easy efforts. They help you to adapt to the demands of running so you become more efficient and aid recovery from your hard runs, which is why every elite runner’s training plan involves easy running.
There are a few ways to ensure you’re not overdoing your easy runs. Try running at a pace where you can hold a conversation and if you’re getting out of breath that’s a good sign you need to slow it down.
Neglecting cross training
Strength sessions, stretching and yoga, and other types of cardio exercise like swimming and cycling are all worthy additions to your training. Strengthening your legs and core will help you run faster and make your body more resilient so you get injured less. Stretching also helps when it comes to reducing injury risk, while other cardio helps you to increase your fitness without the impact of running.
We get it – if you don’t have much free time then you’re going to prioritise actually running – but just do what you can to fit some other activities into your weekly training. Even 20 minutes of core work a week will help!
Running too much
This is a mistake that people often make when they first fall in love with running, but experienced runners can overdo it as well. Suddenly ramping up the amount of running you do is more likely to you on the fast-track to injury than a PB, so it’s important to build up your distance slowly. A good rule of thumb is to look at the total distance you ran last week and add 10% to that for the maximum you should run this week. This steady approach will also help you maintain your enthusiasm for running, rather than burning out all that motivation in a crazy two weeks.
This gives you a little insight into some things you should avoid as a runner, if you can nail that then you are going to be a better runner for it!