The concept of running is simple–you and the road, one foot in front of the other. But even the most experienced runners fall prey to common mistakes. Learning from them, and being aware of them, is the first step to never making the same mistake again.
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Too hot, too cold, or just right? When you’re running, you want everything to be just right. That’s why it’s so important to not only have the right attire, but to know how and when to wear it. Invest in quality cold-gear and heat-gear, dress in layers, and be prepared for all weather conditions. When in doubt, bring extra clothing. Being over or under dressed with no options can undoubtedly effect your run.
Since we are moving into the chilly weather now, the biggest game changer for me was my cold weather base layer. When I discovered the Craft Base Layer my mind was blown. I was wearing bulky restrictive Under Armor Cold Gear. When I was introduced to the Craft Base Layer in my local running store, I was of course a skeptic. It seemed so thin that I couldn’t believe it was meant for the coldest of cold days. But when I finally succumbed to all the rave reviews and bought it home to test out, I was shocked at how warm it kept me and how comfortable it was–no going back ever.
You see the elites doing it for a reason. Your body isn’t designed to go from 0-60 in no time flat. A proper warm up is crucial in order to achieve peak performance as quickly as possible. Wasting valuable race time as a warm up will obviously set you back in the end.
Any movement that gets blood to the muscles you will serve as an effective warm up. A 5 minute jog, a variety of plyometric type movements, or even simple jumping jacks is better than spending the first 5 minutes of your run (or race!) just getting warm. Spending just 5 minutes warming up will enable you to get the most out of your run.
Bonking happens when you are not properly fueled for a run. It’s the feeling you get when no matter how much training you did, or how determined you are, your body just cannot muster up any more energy. Your body is a machine, and before running you must pay attention to how much fuel you have in order to make it through ‘bonk free’. Depending on the length of your run, be sure to fuel appropriately. Shorter runs (under 1 hour) don’t necessarily require any special mid-run nutrition, but longer runs do–especially if peak performance is what your striving for (who isn’t?!). Eat carbohydrates and protein about 2 hours before a run, and carry nutrition and hydration if you will be out for a while.
Note- Nutrition is extremely individualized, so while there are plenty of tips out there, it really takes a great deal of trial and error to figure out what works for you.
Most runners have a natural pace that is unique to them. Running with other people can be beneficial, but it can also be detrimental. Be honest with your pace and stick to it, unless going faster is part of a specific training program.
Training-wise, there are great pace calculators to figure out your goals for different types of workouts based on your goal race time. Train right and stick to the plan on race day!
Sneakers aren’t just for show. There are sneakers for virtually every different kind of foot situation. Learn about over and under-pronation, arch, cushion, and how often to replace your sneakers. Investing in the right sneakers for your foot type and mileage can help you discover your most comfortable run ever.
After many trials and tribulations with running sneakers, I’ve been running comfortably for years in my Newton Running sneakers. People either love Newtons or strongly dislike them. The thing with Newtons is that you may have to reteach yourself how to run. If you are willing to commit yourself to it, it could change your running forever. I run in the Newton Distance and love them, but Newton now makes many different levels of support for various stages of runners.
Don’t be afraid to try out different shoes, have an open mind, and find out what works best for you!
10% Rule and Rest
Never increase your mileage by more than 10% a week. Running puts a great deal of stress on joints and muscles. Building them up gradually will allow you to reach your goals injury free. Additionally, muscles need time to recover after long runs. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. A day of rest will not negatively effect your training program, in fact, it can propel you even further.
Mistakes in life are inevitable, but being aware of common running mistakes is critical in trying to avoid them. Steering clear of these will enable you to even further enjoy your path to running happiness!
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