Training for a goal race requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and some sacrifice. Most runners working toward a goal have great intentions, every time they set out to complete a run or workout. However, there are times when the things they are doing can actually be more harm that good. Below are a few examples of things that runners do, hoping to improve their running, that may actually do the opposite.
- Trying to copy other runners- GPS watches and apps that allow us to virtually stalk our favorite elite runners has many runners trying to copy the workouts of elites. The problems? The workouts aren’t made for the fitness level of an everyday runner. Copying a workout, without taking into consideration the purpose of the workout and scaling the pace, rest and volume of the session can lead to missing the desired training stimulus. These workouts do not happen in a vacuum, but are a part of a detail balanced training plan. Training this way is short sighted and can leave an athlete burnt out, over training or injured.
- A case of the “toos” – Too much, too soon, too fast! With great intentions, over zealous runners will jump into an intense training plan upping the paces and volume without giving the body time to adapt and recover from previous training. This will often yield quick short term results, but end in over training and injury leaving the athletes taking longer duration of time off to recover and loosing the progress gained. How many of us have seen a runner stuck on the injury roller coaster. Are you guilty yourself?
- Running through pain- The old school notion of “no pain, no gain” can be greatly incorrect when it comes to pain that creeps into a run and doesn’t go away. Runners who are reluctant to take a small break or cut back in mileage find themselves sidelined with a much greater injury. It’s better to take a little time now, then a lot of time later. Here is a previous post about trying to identify injury verse soreness.
- Racing the workout- This goes back to my soap box saying, Every run has a purpose. Understanding that sound training principal is key to successful training. When runners complete workouts at appropriate paces and listen to their bodies more, they feel better, improve and usually enjoy the process more. In a previous post, “Stop beating the workout” I gave a mathematical example of a runner who averaged a workout faster than another but gained less of the desired training stimulus. Coaches like Lydiard go even less by the watch but by training a runner to learn appropriate efforts and design a workout to be completed when the desired effort and fatigue is reached. Going beyond the training stimulus creates a larger deficit for the athlete to recover from, subsequently negatively impact future workouts/runs.
- Not trusting your coach or training plan- This isn’t to say, that there aren’t poorly designed training plans or coaches. However, there are times when runners get caught up in comparing the workouts and training they are completing with others and they freak out. They begin to sabotage their own training. I am guilty of second guessing my own training, after watching other girls crush workouts and assume greater fitness. Some runners are workout all stars, this doesn’t always translate to race day. Another example of not trusting ones training comes at the end of a training cycle and a nervous runner tries to cram additional training in when they should be tapering and focusing on peaking. Leaving them fatigued and flat on race day.
I have made these errors through my own running journey. Being able to identify and reflect on our own training deficits only makes us stronger moving ahead. What are some well-intentioned training mistakes you have made during your training journey?
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