Even if you are a daily runner with years of experience and with many completed races, chances are that you are making one or more mistakes in your running routine. Don’t worry, we all are inclined to pick up some habits which can be hindering our performance on the track.
The good news is that people can easily learn from their mistakes. This is why, we have summarized the most common mistakes which runners tend to make in our list of
The dumbest things that smart runners do:
- Increasing your mileage too quickly
Both newbies and pros are inclined to make this mistake. The reason usually is lack of patience and improperly set goals and timelines for achieving them. Running experts recommend that you increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% per week.
Instead, some new runners are tempted to jumping from running 1 mile on the first week to running 2 miles in the second week of their training. The same goes for runners with years of experience – it is not uncommon for them to attempt to increase their weekly mileage from 10 to 15 miles per week, especially when preparing for a race.
The problem with this mistake is that this kind of increase can lead to overstressing the body and to injuries which can then take weeks and months to heal completely.
The best strategy is to carefully plan your weekly and monthly running schedule, in order to be able to achieve the results and goals you have planned but within a reasonable timeline, which will ensure that your body gets used to the increasing mileage gradually, without any health risks while at it!
- Not waiting for an injury to heal completely before going back to running
Yep, you have probably been there if you are an experienced runner. Recovering from a running related injury can be very frustrating, especially if you have races planned and if you are following a strict running and training regimen.
Unfortunately, injuries do tend to happen, and it is crucial that runners take the proper precautions and time off the track, so that the health problem heals completely and the pain is gone before hitting the track once again. Going back to running with an injury which has not healed properly increases the risk of suffering further and more serious damage to feet, legs, back or other injured body part.
You may be worried that you are going to get out of shape while you take the time off running in order to recover, but surely there are other ways to make sure that you stay fit during this enduring time. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for the most suitable types of workouts, exercises and activities to focus on while you are healing. Often swimming is recommended for foot and leg injuries, as it is a sport with very low impact on the feet and legs, and yet will help you stay fit and well. Cross training is the way to go in order to make sure that your body will remain well trained and that you will be as ready as possible when the time comes to finally go back to running!
- You are not sleeping enough
In order to enable your body and muscles to recover from your runs and training sessions, it is crucial that you allow it to rest properly. And what better way to do that than to ensure that you get enough sleep? Try to plan your day properly so that you can get to bed early and sleep for at least 7 hours per night. This will allow your body to properly rest and will keep you healthy and away from overtraining and injuries.
- Being overly competitive
Yes, we all like to win, and especially when we are running a race, we would like to be the first to cross that finish line. There is nothing wrong with that.
The problem comes when you try competing with somebody who is much faster or is much better prepared than you! This overly ambitious competitiveness can lead to some serious injuries and damage to your health if you push yourself to reach unrealistic results. The rule of the thumb is to compete with yourself! Measure and track your results, and work on improving your own performance, rather than constantly competing with the others. By concentrating on working on yourself you will most likely be able to reach and surpass the results of others at some point.
- Believing everything you see and read on the Internet
True, there are some really inspiring and useful articles, stories and blogs which can help you improve as a runner. But don’t take every single piece of advice which you stumble upon on the web as something you must follow and trust. If you are looking for proper tips on improving your running, it is highly recommended that you get it from a certified running coach and running expert, and not the first blogger you stumble upon.
- Participating in too many or too few races
Extremes are never a good thing. By taking part in way too many races per year, you increase the risk of getting injured by overtraining and from stressing your body too much. The other extremity – barely participating in any races ever will do you no good either, because you will most likely get bored, feel a lack of motivation and enthusiasm to run, and can be tempted to simply give up all together. The best option is to find an optimal number of races to register for, so that they are either too much or too few.
- A lack of a proper training plan
Planning and sticking to a proper training program, especially when getting ready for a race is crucial for your performance and for your health. Try to get help from a coach or expert if you are new to racing, so that you make sure that your training schedule is properly set including all the running sessions, the planned mileage increase in time, the other workout sessions and the rest you need to get for proper muscle and body recovery. By sticking to a proper training plan, you are much more likely to complete your race with results close to your goal, and to stay injury free before, during and after the race too!
- Skipping cross-training
Apart from wearing inappropriate shoes for your feet type, wearing shoes that are too narrow when you have bunions, overtraining and improper running technique, the leading cause of running related injuries is the lack of balance in the body. Even if you are a daily runner, chances are that if you are not doing some strength training, your core and glutes are not trained or balanced properly, and you are highly likely to suffer some painful consequences or bad results from this lack of balance. This is why it is essential to add some cross-training, including: strength training and flexibility exercises to your running program.
- Avoiding those easy runs
Don’t miss out on those “junk miles”. Running those easy miles will allow your body to relax from the hard training from the speed and endurance runs. Make sure you find a proper balance for your running sessions, so that you do not overtrain and put too much stress on your body.
- Being cautious and starting a race too slow
You may think that you can save your strength and stamina for further on or the end of a race, and start slow, but it is highly likely that you will not be able to make up for the lost time during the slow start. Make sure you set yourself a time goal for a race and calculate and plan your running pace