Common Small Mistakes Runners Often Make
by Emily Jannet on Jun 26, 2023
Running is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness, enhance mental well-being, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, even the most experienced runners can make mistakes that hinder their progress and potentially lead to injuries. In this article, we will explore some common mistakes runners often make, specifically related to running easy miles too fast, neglecting other forms of exercise, not eating during longer efforts, waiting too long to refuel, running inconsistently, and skimping on sleep. By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, runners can optimize their training, prevent setbacks, and achieve their goals more effectively.
Going Too Fast on Easy Miles
One of the most common mistakes runners make is running their easy miles too fast. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a run or feel the need to push harder, but running at a faster pace than intended during easy runs can have negative consequences. Easy runs should be done at a comfortable pace that allows for conversation without feeling breathless. By running too fast, runners risk overexertion, increased risk of injury, and reduced recovery time between workouts.
To avoid this mistake, it's important for runners to understand the purpose of easy runs and embrace the concept of "slow and steady wins the race." By maintaining a conversational pace during easy runs, runners can build an aerobic base, improve endurance, and allow their bodies to recover adequately for more intense workouts. It's crucial to listen to the body and prioritize consistency and long-term progress over short-term speed.
Neglecting Other Forms of Exercise
Another mistake runners often make is focusing solely on running and neglecting other forms of exercise. While running is undoubtedly a key component of training for runners, incorporating cross-training activities can bring numerous benefits. Cross-training helps prevent overuse injuries, improves overall fitness, and enhances muscle balance.
Engaging in activities such as cycling, swimming, strength training, yoga, or Pilates can provide a well-rounded fitness routine. These activities can strengthen different muscle groups, improve flexibility, prevent muscular imbalances, and give the body a break from the repetitive motion of running. By diversifying their training regimen, runners can enhance their overall performance and reduce the risk of burnout.
Not Eating Anything During Extended Runs
Proper nutrition is vital for runners, especially during longer efforts. However, one common mistake is not consuming any food or fuel during these extended runs. When running for an extended period, the body's glycogen stores become depleted, leading to fatigue and decreased performance.
To optimize performance and maintain energy levels, runners should consume carbohydrates during longer efforts. Energy gels, sports drinks, and easily digestible snacks can provide the necessary fuel to keep going. It's crucial to experiment with different types of fuel during training to determine what works best for individual preferences and tolerances. By fueling properly during longer efforts, runners can sustain their energy levels, improve endurance, and perform at their best.
Delaying Refueling for Too Long
In addition to not eating anything during longer efforts, runners often make the mistake of waiting too long to refuel after a run. The post-run recovery window is a critical time for replenishing glycogen stores, repairing muscle tissue, and promoting overall recovery. Waiting too long to refuel can hinder these processes and delay the body's recovery.
Ideally, runners should aim to consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes to an hour after completing a run. This helps jumpstart the recovery process and ensures that the body has the necessary nutrients to repair and rebuild. Including a mix of complex carbohydrates and quality protein sources like lean meats, dairy products, or plant-based alternatives can provide the essential nutrients needed for optimal recovery.
Consistency is key in any training program, and running is no exception. However, many runners fall into the trap of running inconsistently, either by skipping workouts, taking long breaks, or not following a structured training plan. Inconsistency can impede progress, hinder performance gains, and increase the risk of injury.
To avoid this mistake, runners should establish a realistic training schedule and stick to it as closely as possible. Setting specific goals, whether it's completing a certain distance or participating in a race, can help provide motivation and accountability. It's essential to prioritize consistency over intensity and gradually increase mileage or intensity to avoid overexertion. By committing to a consistent training routine, runners can build a solid foundation, improve fitness, and achieve their desired results.
Sleep is often overlooked but plays a crucial role in running performance and overall well-being. Lack of sleep can negatively impact recovery, impair cognitive function, and increase the risk of injury. However, many runners make the mistake of skimping on sleep to fit in additional training or other obligations.
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for runners to optimize training adaptations and promote overall recovery. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and establish a regular sleep routine. Create a relaxing environment, avoid electronic devices before bed, and prioritize restful sleep as part of the training plan. By giving the body adequate time to rest and recover, runners can enhance performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and feel more energized during training.
By avoiding the small mistakes discussed in this article, runners can improve their training, enhance performance, and reduce the risk of injuries. Running easy miles at the appropriate pace, incorporating cross-training activities, fueling properly during longer efforts, prioritizing post-run refueling, maintaining consistency, and getting enough sleep are essential components of a successful running routine.