1. Not allowing enough time to achieve your goal
2. Going too hard on your easy days (intensity blindness)
3. Not being consistent
4. Ignoring strength training
5. Over emphasizing stretching
The underlying basis for setting goals is to discover new running limits and explore our individual running potential. Goals may include running a certain mileage over a certain period of time (week, month or year), running personal best times, running a certain event (10k, half marathon or marathon) The positive feeling when we reach these goals are extremely rewarding and uplifting.
Leave no stone unturned in your pursuit to reach your goals.
Avoid these common pitfalls
1. Not allowing enough time to achieve your goal.
You must allow an appropriate lead in time to achieve a certain running goal. When you don’t allow enough time, you are going to get frustrated and succumb to anxiety and pressure and feel you are behind in your preparations.
This may result in cramming training in the form of significant volume, intensity or even both. It may also result in removing rest days. Don’t! this can increase the risk of developing an injury.
You can’t short-cut your physiology! Gains must be made in due course with training.
2. Going too hard on easy days.
Many runners fail to run easy on their easy days and then they don’t have the energy to run fast on their really important training sessions. Running too hard is the single greatest detrimental mistake in running.
The tendency to run what should be an easy paced run at a moderate effort is most likely hindering the progress of a lot of runners. It is difficult for many runners to make peace with the concept that if they want to run faster, they need to slow down in some of their training sessions. Easy days are a crucial component of your training. To improve running and performance, you need to correctly balance training and recovery so that your body can positively adapt.
An appropriate number of easy days in between bouts of stress is vital for harder efforts during your workout days to be beneficial. Just as the planned hard workouts in your running programme serve a purpose, so too do your easy days. Easy days support growth and adaptation. Slow easy running helps to flush oxygen rich blood through the legs and heals micro tears and other damage that workouts and long runs create. Mitochondria, capillaries and blood flow to muscles are increased so they are better able to utilize oxygen.
So, slow down, keep your easy days easy to allow your body to rebuild and reset after a hard workout and before the next big workout.
Maximise your results on tempo/speed days by taking the other days easy consistently.
3. Not being Consistent
Consistency is the key to success, for runners of all levels, the key to improvement is consistency, structure, variation and patience!
The number one route to improved performance and forward progression is to aim for consistency with your training.
Training consistently and building up gradually with the right structure and progression will reduce injury risk and improve performance.
4. Avoiding strength training
Strength training has long been overlooked as a crucial component of a runners training. Many runners believe that strength training will bulk them up with muscle mass and subsequently impede their running ability. This is not the case with maximal strength and reactive strength training, you will not bulk up and put on extra muscle mass.
Strength training does however improve your stability, postural control, strength, rate of force development (power) and running economy, improves time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic speed and improves performance.
Running Economy is the oxygen cost of maintaining a given pace. A stronger athlete with appropriate strength, stability and mobility will cover the same distance more efficiently than an athlete who has poor RE.
Runners with good RE have greater stride length and frequency than those who struggle to control their technique due to a weak body.
Prehab work will focus on strengthening supporting muscles to facilitate proper biomechanics to avoid injury.
Strength training reduces sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries can be almost halved. For a sport in which there is a high percentage of overuse injuries, why would you not do something so extremely valuable and reduce this injury risk?
Also, you will seldom come across a rehabilitation programme that doesn’t include strength training. Strength training will minimise imbalances and weaknesses to improve the body’s capacity to endure whatever training and competitive loads we throw at it, enabling us to perform harder and longer before we find a weak link and something is overloaded.
You want are neurally induced gains in strength and muscle fiber recruitment. Max strength training component aims to fatigue the muscle between 4 to 6 reps for 4/5 sets with an extended rest period between sets.
5. Over emphasizing stretching
Many runners over attribute the importance of stretching for their ambitions to run injury free and faster. It’s not bad, it just gets too much attention though it can have a place in some runners weekly program. There is however no evidence to suggest that static stretching significantly improves performance or reduces the prevalence of the common injuries in endurance runners. Acute stretching can reduce running economy and performance for up to an hour by diminishing the musculotendinous stiffness and elastic energy potential by reducing the recoil of them. If you reduce the reactive force enough, then you’re not going to spring, your flight time is going to decrease and you will get from A to B in a slower time.
If we use the idea of a pogo stick generating enough force to travel through the air to increase your flight time, then why would we try to loosen that spring up as much as possible by stretching. Strength will give you stronger springs, not stretching!
You are only going to inhibit your running
Stretching does not appear either to reduce the longevity or intensity of DOMS.
Don’t stretch just because other runners stretch.
Time spent stretching is better spent strength training working on exercises which have been shown to be very beneficial in the reduction of injury and optimization of running performance.
Goodluck with your training everyone 😊