Whether you’re a seasoned pro or brand new to running, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something from reading this article.
Most runners set goals. This may be personal bests, running a certain event or a specific amount of weight loss. Social media apps such as Strava, give us all the data we need to explore our running potential.
But what if I told you that the majority of runner I treat in clinic, are making these common mistakes.
Trying to improve too quickly
Progress requires consistency over time. Most runners are guilty of increasing volume and/or intensity too quickly. An increase of approximately 5-10% per week is appropriate. Scientific studies have proven than an increase of greater than 15% leads to a 50% greater exposure to injury risk.
Correction : Follow a ratified training program.
Undervaluing strength and conditioning
Most runners don’t follow a strength and conditioning program because of these two unsupported beliefs:
- “It’ll make me too bulky” - There is a strong interference effect between running and gaining muscle mass. This is why bodybuilders generally avoid running. All strength and conditioning will do, aesthetically, is improve your body composition and who doesn’t want that.
- ”My time is better spent running” - Strength and conditioning is scientifically proven to improve running economy, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity and reduce injury risk. Making time for this is certainly worth the reward.
Correction : Make time for a strength and conditioning program designed by a physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer.
Ignoring their overall health
This may be controversial to some, but you are not healthy because you run. There is no doubt that running improves cardiovascular health. However, this is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Runners need to pay more attention to diet, sleep and alcohol consumption. It’ll not only improve your health, but boost your performances too.
Correction : Research the importance of diet, sleep and alcohol consumptions on athletic performance. Indulge with moderation.
Stretching and foam rolling are not bad things. However, I’d argue that your precious time, is better spent doing either running or partaking in strength and conditioning.
Foam rolling is challenging, painful and time consuming. In addition, the claimed benefits have yet to be proven in clinical trials. Stretching can lead to improvement or preservation of muscle length, but so can strength and conditioning. So if you have a spare 20 minutes in your training schedule, you’ll achieve more from the latter.
But what about my recovery? A good training program integrates rest, sleep and diet. These are your key recovery components. If you want to go the extra mile, book a monthly sports massage instead.
Correction : Stretch and foam roll if you enjoy it. Prioritise getting stronger and your flexibility will look after itself.