COMMON MISTAKES WHEN RUNNING
In running, just like in every other activity that human beings pursue, there is one truth: you will make mistakes. Sometimes these common mistakes turn out to be blessings in disguise, making you a better runner because of them. Don’t go out of your way to make these common mistakes, but know that if you do these things, take comfort in knowing that almost everybody has done the same thing.
These are some common mistakes that conceal valuable lessons.
Using the wrong gear
Chafing. Blisters. Ouch.
When you first start running, it’s tempting to buy the first shoe that fits and to buy your running clothes based on the colors of the fabric. When these tops turn out to have the wrong fit, and when the sneaker doesn’t fit as well as you thought it did, and when you’re wearing something that’s made out of the wrong material… there are few things more miserable.
Lesson: Listen to the Experts
People who have been running for a long time can tell you the right sort of gear you’ll need. If you listen to their advice, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain and misery.
Eating the wrong thing before a run
Eat too much? Eat too little? Either way, you’re going to regret it. If you run on a stomach that’s too full, you’re likely to throw up, and that’s no fun. If you don’t eat enough, you’ll never have the energy you need to finish your run.
For ideas on what too eat you can check out this great book by Shalane Flanagan called Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow
Lesson: Work on your Timing
The rule of thumb is to wait two to four hours after a meal before you go running. The exact timing is different for every person, and you may need to do some experiments by trial and error. Once you figure out the appropriate time line for your body and metabolism, you’ll put those nauseated or exhausted runs behind you.
Not resting or cross training
Once you get into the groove, it’s hard to break out. You want to be a runner, and that means that you want to run. You don’t take time off, you don’t do other activities, you just run and run and run…and then you get a stress fracture. Whoops.
If you want to make the most out of your running, then days off and cross training, especially strength training, are necessities. If you don’t let your body rest, you’ll end up with injuries that could take a long time to heal, or worse, become chronic conditions. It’s not worth it.
Running too fast
This is something that runners are especially prone to during races. The thrill of competition, the excitement of the crowd, the drive to win… they all conspire to make you push yourself too far, too fast. You blast through your personal best time, but only for the first leg of the race. After that, you’re too wiped out to even finish.
Lesson: Pace Yourself
Remember: you can only run as fast as your body is fit to take you. You need to know your limits and stay within the parameters of what your fitness level will allow. It’s fine to push yourself, but speed should come after stamina. Work on your endurance first, and speed will follow.
Maybe you had a rotten race time, or an injury that took a discouragingly long time to heal. Maybe you just can’t break through to the next level, no matter how hard you push. The disappointment gets to you, and you decide to give up on running completely.
Lesson: Take a break
When everything seems to be going wrong, it’s fine to take a break. It might even help. You can recharge your batteries, fix whatever’s wrong (in the case of injury) and get some rest and recuperation. You could also switch things up – run a different route or change your training regimen. Sometimes it’s not that running is the wrong sport. Sometimes you’re just in a rut.
The common mistakes are easy to make, and at the end of the day, we’re all only human. When these common mistakes come into your running game, just smile and accept them. You’ll be a better runner in the end.