There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re a long-distance runner. Between injuries, nutrition, hydration, and training plans, there’s quite a bit of information to keep track of to ensure you’re running at your best. We’ve compiled the seven deadly sins of running so you know what you should NOT be doing. Avoid these downfalls at all costs and we promise you’ll see yourself hitting a new personal record soon!
Deadly Sin #1: Ignoring Pain
Some pain is inevitable during your training—after all, you can’t get stronger and faster if you don’t endure a little bit of discomfort. However, pain that persists consistently during your training or is prolonged after a workout is a red flag. When in doubt, give your body time to rest but be sure to see your doctor if soreness continues, or it could lead to an injury that will hold you back.
Deadly Sin #2: Trying to Follow Too Rigid of a Training Plan
When training for long distances, it’s important to add a few “buffer weeks” in case any injuries or illnesses pop up. You don’t want to be underprepared on race day because you caught the flu or sprained an ankle and didn’t give yourself the extra time needed to work up to the maximum necessary mileage.
Deadly Sin #3: Skipping Rest Days
When you run, you’re breaking your body down. Similarly to what you read in the previous step, giving yourself time to recover is essential. This will let your body repair the tissue you damage during your workouts. As tempting as it can be to skip your rest day and log a few extra miles, opt for some light stretching, foam rolling, or restorative yoga instead so you can come back to your next workout stronger than before.
Deadly Sin #4: Underhydrating
Far too many runners are dehydrated during their workouts. This is especially dangerous if you are running in a hot environment, as heatstroke is a possibility. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that runners drink 16–24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost after a run. To calculate your exact sweat loss for each run and how much water you should drink before and after your workouts, use a reliable sweat rate calculator.
Deadly Sin #5: Wearing Inappropriate Running Gear
If you’ve ever been bothered by an irritating shirt tag or a bouncing running belt during a run, you’ve already gotten a glimpse of the importance of wearing proper running gear. Beyond the obvious influential factors of a run that will dictate which outfit you put together—such as the temperature and weather conditions—it’s crucial that you are comfortable throughout your run. This will minimize distraction.
Another note on gear: one of the biggest mistakes you could make as a runner is choosing the wrong running shoe for your foot and gait. Make sure you visit a reputable running shop and ask an employee to help fit you with the right sneaker for you and your training style. You don’t want to cost yourself mileage, speed, or cause unnecessary discomfort.
Deadly Sin #6: Increasing Mileage Too Quickly
Many running experts have debunked the theory that your long run should be regularly increased by 10 percent. Instead, we recommend that you increase your long run mileage every other week to allow your body time, once again, to recover—we cannot stress this enough.
Deadly Sin #7: Neglecting Your Core
As a runner, having a six-pack isn’t just for bragging rights (although, we will admit that it’s a nice bonus). A strong core is essential to preventing injury and increasing stamina. Core strength training stabilizes the muscles throughout your body and deflects energy, allowing you to run faster and further. Try ending each run with a quick ten minute set of planks, crunches, and other core exercises.
Use the information in this guide and you’ll find yourself smashing your goals and becoming a better runner in no time!