Jimmy Dean Freeman posted a great article on Facebook from Runner’s World listing the 12 most common mistakes that runners make. I tend to open up these articles feeling a little smug, because sometimes the mistakes are things that I’ve managed to fix through trial and error awhile ago. But this list? Ouch. It was like someone followed me around for a week and wrote down everything I did. Thankfully, Leo isn’t as prone to these particular mistakes and tends to call me out on them, but they’re still things I really need to work on.
My worst ones?
Mistake #2: Make all runs “medium” runs. I have this ingrained idea that if I take all that time to put on my running clothes, rinse out and fill my hydration pack, and plan out a route, then I better run it fast! Once I get out on the road, I realize that it’s not really possible for me to run 10, 12, 16, or 20 miles fast…but maybe I can just push the pace pretty hard. “I’ll run it medium,” I think, convinced that I’ve come up with the next big training strategy. Except that I burn out partway through the run, crash, start whining, and generally become an unfun person to be around. It’s been hard for me to retrain my brain and convince it that an easy pace really is a good thing, and that I’m still a “real” runner if I’m running mileage splits that aren’t what I’d want to see in a race.
Mistake #4: Recover inadequately. When I start hitting the last few miles of a long run, the only things I can think about are a shower, and a couch. And if I’ve fueled particularly badly, a footlong Subway meatball sandwich. The thought of a long hot shower gets me through the last couple of miles, and the minute I hit my front door (or a little past it, since I like to run until my Garmin sings its little “you’re finally done running” song) I’m peeling off sweaty running clothes and heading for the shower. Then my butt hits the couch, and I don’t get up for the next few hours. Stretching? I’ll stretch later! Except when I go to stand up, my Achilles tendons have frozen my feet into permanent Barbie position, and my knees feel like someone forgot to oil them. I know that stretching (and delaying the gratification of a hot shower) immediately will make me feel better in the long run, but I often don’t put it into practice.
Mistake #8: Search for the perfect workout. Hi, my name is Jessica and I’m a librarian who can’t stop researching things. Training plans? I’ve read books about them, Googled them, and looked up blogs and followed training recaps through the weeks. Workouts? I’ve tried to find the perfect speed workout, weights workout, cross-training workout, hills workout, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. While I firmly believe that information is a good thing, I forget that a lot of working out is trial and error. If I don’t try one thing at a time, I can’t figure out what’s working for me, and what isn’t Plus, when I get all fired up and create a new training plan, I tend to overschedule with every.cool.new.thing that I’ve found out, and I get tired just looking at what I’ve decided I’m “supposed” to do in a week. I’ve started trying to make more minimal training plans, that I can expand if I’m feeling good, but it’s hard to resist the siren call of the next betterfastermoreperfect workout.
Head over to Runner’s World to check out the whole article, including some suggested fixes for each mistake…it’s really worth a read!