None of us are perfect, and with running training being so nuanced due to so many variables, we’re bound to make a few mistakes. Here we’ll look at some of the common slip ups people make and how to avoid them.
In these days of Strava and social media, the desire for praise and external rewards is high, leading many people to over train in one way or another. I’m not talking about this in the extreme sense where people are immune compromised, with at times severe mental health issues, here I mean doing more than their body can cope with, leading to them missing out on optimal training.
A few too many miles, too many consecutive running days in order to get a “streak”, sessions that push people too hard. All of these can cause a higher risk of injury, or at least poor recovery, both of which will leave you progressing more slowly than you want to.
My go to solution for this is to keep a running diary in conjunction with your running plan. Note down how runs feel, how you sleep if it starts to become erratic or abnormal for you, how much you enjoy training, as much detail as you want. This allows you to quickly identify patterns and see if you’re going off track in any area.
Yep, contradiction coming in. Really there’s no risk to this which is good, but running is a difficult sport, and you have to push yourself to reach your goals. I’ve been “guilty” of under training in the past, when I wanted to run my first sub 90-minute half marathon off of 20-25 miles per week. Although I’m not the most genetically gifted runner, I do have some desirable characteristics for the sport, but these weren’t enough to get me there. It wasn’t until I trained more intelligently with advice from a friend and increased running to 25-30 miles per week, that I hit 1:25:53.
Avoiding this is difficult and one that you ideally need some professional assistance with. A simple consultation with a running coach, which may be free or very low cost, will allow you to find out if you’re good to go, or whether you need to reduce the challenge of your goal/ increase your training.
No strengthening or injury prevention
I’m really pleased to see that strength work is becoming much more common in runners these days however, as a group we’re still often guilty of not properly addressing our injuries, favouring the “rest and it’ll just go away” approach far too often.
Whilst rest is a necessary part of the process in most cases, it does nothing to address the underlying issue. You see, knee pain/hip pain, plantarfascitis, are merely the symptoms, not the cause. Without addressing the musculoskeletal issue behind it, the chances of the injury returning again are pretty high.
The solution for this is to seek the advice of someone like a physiotherapist, to get to the root of your pain and fix this long term, then apply yourself to consistently doing the work your given, not stopping as soon as the pain goes away.
As common as these training mistakes are, they’re just as simple to fix and are well within the capability of each and every one of us. So go out there and the results you truly can.
Written by Kyle Brooks, Running Coach based in Norwich, Norfolk