Five Common Training Mistakes Runners make
If you run however you run because you just love things the way they are and have no desire to try to change anything, that’s awesome. Many people never achieve that blissful state of total satisfaction.
But if you’re wondering what simple things you can do to boost your running, then some of these pointers should help.
1. Going it alone
Running alone is brilliant. Nobody slows you down, and more importantly you don’t slow anyone else down. But you also miss out on the natural benefits of competition and peer support. Ask advanced runners what has improved their running the most – technique, nutrition, core strengthening exercises etc. – and most of them will point to running groups, coaching, or intensives like Falls Creek. It’s much easier to be inspired by others than to inspire yourself.
There are many good local running clubs and groups across Australia now, as well as online coaches if you need sound advice or someone to keep you honest. Ask your local running shop who they know in your area.
If you love running or you’re new to it all and you haven’t done this yet, then you probably will. Whether we’re fueled on endorphins, ambition, or both, at some point we put too much sand in the oyster, lose all our pearls, and end up with a miserable shellfish. When your heartbeat takes a while to return to normal, it gets hard to sleep, or you just feel thoroughly flat and can’t hit your normal pace, it’s a good time to go for a swim, do some yoga, get a massage, and recover.
The conversation with your body’s going to get ugly quickly if you’re a bad listener.
Repeats are good – hill repeats, intervals, fartlek, and personal time trials are great. But more often than not we find what we love and do it over and over again. If it’s a long slow run, we’re probably not building up strength for running fast. If we just run short and fast, we’re neglecting longer endurance.
Just like a good yoga practice, find what you hate and keep doing it until you don’t. There’s a good chance it’s going to be stairs, or hills, or maybe even racing.
People talk about ‘running through the wall’, but the biggest wall you’ll face isn’t at 35km on a marathon course; it’s in your own mind. Running is the most beautifully simple sport. It can take you anywhere, however far you want to go, and whenever you really feel like it. You might do it after swimming and cycling. You might do it from one town to another. You might do it in a desert, on a mountain, along a road, or through a forest, on a trail, or where nobody has ever gone before. There are things to manage, like food, water, pain and fatigue, and there are things to get through – like your next step.
But no runner has ever regretted trying something new.
It’s a harsh word but it covers a lot of topics. You need to know the course profile for your next race, the terrain and water stops. You’ll probably pack better for your weekend away running if you know the weather forecast. You might just benefit from some of the new running technologies you haven’t yet tried (www.shop.hokaoneone.com.au). You won’t know whether you like working with an endurance running coach if you never try it (www.mile27.com.au). You can’t know how fun interstate or overseas races are until you’ve tried it for yourself. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you decide that you’re incapable of holding back.
There’s a good reason why runners and explorers tend to get on so well.