Common mistakes: progressing too fast, ignore strength, mobilisation and flexibility training, inadequate rest

Common mistakes runners make and how to avoid them

Runners, especially beginners, but not always, often make common mistakes that can impact their performance and increase the risk of injuries. Here are some of these mistakes and tips on how to avoid them:


Too Much, Too Soon:

Mistake: Rapidly increasing mileage or intensity can lead to overuse injuries.

Avoidance: Gradually progress your training. Follow the 10% rule—don't increase your weekly mileage or intensity by more than 10%.


Skipping Warmup and Cool Down:

Mistake: Neglecting warmup and cooldown routines can increase the risk of injuries and hamper recovery.

Avoidance: Prioritise dynamic warmup exercises before running and static stretches afterward.


Wearing the Wrong Shoes:

Mistake: Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can lead to discomfort and injuries.

Avoidance: Invest in proper running shoes. Get fitted at a specialty running store, and replace shoes regularly, at least every 800 – 1000k.


Poor Running Form:

Mistake: Incorrect form can contribute to injuries and inefficiency.

Avoidance: Focus on proper posture, arm swing, and foot strike. Consider a professional analysis for biomechanical feedback. Whilst there are many opinions around fore-foot or heel strike both have their problems. For heel strike the biggest being the tendency to over-stride.


Ignoring Strength Training:

Mistake: Neglecting strength training can lead to muscle imbalances and increased injury risk.

Avoidance: Include regular strength training exercises, especially targeting core, hips, and lower limbs.


Inadequate Recovery:

Mistake: Insufficient rest and recovery can hinder performance and increase the risk of burnout.

Avoidance: Incorporate rest days, prioritise sleep, and use active recovery methods like foam rolling.


Skipping Cross Training:

Mistake: Relying solely on running can lead to overuse injuries and boredom.

Avoidance: Include crosstraining activities like cycling or swimming to engage different muscle groups.


Poor Nutrition and Hydration:

Mistake: Inadequate fueling can affect energy levels and recovery.

Avoidance: Maintain a balanced diet, stay hydrated, and consider nutrition needs for longer runs.


Ignoring Pain:

Mistake: Running through pain can exacerbate injuries.

Avoidance: Pay attention to any discomfort or pain. If it persists, seek professional advice and consider rest.


Overlooking Flexibility and Mobility:

Mistake: Neglecting flexibility can lead to muscle tightness and reduced range of motion.

Avoidance: Incorporate regular stretching and mobility exercises into your routine.


Not Listening to Your Body:

Mistake: Ignoring signals of fatigue, illness, or stress can lead to overtraining.

Avoidance: Be mindful of how your body feels. Adjust your training plan based on your energy levels and overall wellbeing.


Lack of Variation in Terrain:

Mistake: Always running on the same surface can lead to repetitive stress injuries.

Avoidance: Mix up your running routes to vary terrain and reduce the impact on specific muscles and joints.


Improper Tapering Before Races:

Mistake: Failing to taper before a race can result in fatigue and decreased performance.

Avoidance: Implement a proper tapering phase, reducing mileage and intensity leading up to race day. Think of it as peaking for race day!


Comparing Yourself to Others:

Mistake: Constantly comparing your progress to others can lead to frustration.

Avoidance: Focus on your own journey, celebrate personal achievements, and set realistic goals.


Ignoring Mental Health:

Mistake: Neglecting mental wellbeing can impact motivation and overall performance.

Avoidance: Incorporate stress reducing activities, practice mindfulness, and prioritise mental health.


Not Updating Your Gear:

Mistake: Using worn-out gear can affect performance and comfort.

Avoidance: Regularly check and update your running shoes, clothing, and accessories.


Skipping Rest Days:

Mistake: Constantly pushing without adequate rest can lead to burnout and increased injury risk.

Avoidance: Schedule rest days into your training plan and listen to your body's need for recovery.


By avoiding these common mistakes and adopting a thoughtful, gradual approach to running, you can enhance your performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and make your running experience more enjoyable. Remember to prioritise your wellbeing and make adjustments as needed based on how your body responds. If you have concerns or persistent issues, consult with a healthcare professional or a running coach for personalised advice.


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