Hope you all had a great holiday weekend! At the last minute, we invited friends over and fired up the grill. Tonight more friends are coming and spending the night- the perfect way to wrap up the lazy days of summer!
Everything starts up after Labor Day around here, so this is the first week that we will get settled into our new school year routine. Even though I run and train through the summer, fall is typically when things can ramp up again with more focus and attention and with races drawing nearer.
I had a recent question from a beginner runner that got me thinking about common mistakes we make when we’re starting out. Here are some that come to mind…
1) We want to run a little further and a little faster every day.
It feels like we should see instant improvement when we’re starting out (and it happens for some people!) so it’s often tempting to push a little harder and a little further on each run. Other beginners keep it slow but want to run every single day rather than easing into running slowly and carefully.
Sooner or later, we figure out that there is a purpose to training plans. Running more and farther and skipping rest days leads to burn out and injury.
What to do instead: Plan in one “fast” day of running per week. Plan easy runs and rest days. Our bodies need recovery time to get stronger and improve.
2) We sign up for every local race we hear about before finishing our first
Actually, this wasn’t true for me… I started with just one half marathon in the spring and one in the fall. But I know a number of new runners who get carried away signing up for races without considering training cycles or recover time between races.
There really isn’t anything wrong with this- but it’s hard to have your best race or a strong training cycle when you’re constantly racing.
What to do instead: If you want to aim for a personal best time, it’s ideal to limit distance races to 1-2 per season and schedule several weeks between races to give your body recovery weeks and time to rebuild. You want to plan your training so that you hit your peak fitness at the time of your race (a coach or running plan can help with this!)
3) Running is our only form of exercise
I’m guilty of this! For several years, I only ran or walked for exercise and ignored cross training any other muscle groups. Eventually my body spoke up and let me know about the muscle groups I had been neglecting through injuries that were due to imbalances. I now incorporate spinning and weights regularly, although I should also work on getting more stretching, yoga and/or pilates into my routine.
What to do instead: Find activities you enjoy that work supporting muscle groups including biking, swimming, walking, weight training, yoga or Pilates. Balance your muscles with strength exercises specific for runners. Here are a few related posts that may be helpful:
Did any of these apply to you as a beginner runner?
What do you wish you knew then that you know now?