As runners, we are sometimes very stubborn. Some more than others. Unfortunately, until we look back at past mistakes and analyze how we got there is when we realize how thick headed we can be. What I am sharing below are bad habits I have been guilty of along the way that I want to share to help current and future runners. However, I also see others guilty of these items as they post to social media platforms. Let me know if I missed any topics you think runners should be aware of.
Stop running while injured.
I get it, we never want to admit we are hurt. We should be running machines. But we are not. So when a injury comes up...stop. Analyze the injury. Take a day, week or so off to see if it will go away. Or you can foam roll or follow some of the advice in the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and see if you can make some of the pain go away. Or get some professional assistance. The longer you run with the injury, the longer it will stay around or it will probably alter your running cadence and cause a separate injury.
Stop running when sick.
Seriously? What is the point of running while having a cold? We want to prove how macho we are? If we are sick, we just need to stay home and rest. So we miss out on those 1-5 miles for the day. I am sure we will be just fine without them.
We sometimes miss 'work' when we are ill, so why would we 'run' on these days? Who cares if we run and get through it. When this happens, we are just proving how dumb we are, not how good of a runner we are.
Stop getting hung up on the numbers (speed, pace, heart rate, etc.).
When we get frustrated with the numbers and they ruin the day we have forgotten why we have originally began running. When this occurs, leave the watch at home, have fun and enjoy your running for the day.
Unless we are an elite runner, why do we care so much if we ran an 11 minute pace today vs a 9:50 pace? Are we less of a person because of this? Less of a runner? Who are we trying to compare ourselves to? Who are we trying to impress? If we have goals, yes lets try to reach them. However, if we are getting upset, maybe the goal is too aggressive.
Stop trying to increase your weekly mileage and speed so aggressively after a injury.
Most runners should know the 10% rule (some people do not believe in it). The rule is basically if we ran 20 miles last week, we shouldn't run more than 22 the following week no matter how good we feel. However, I have seen people run 20 miles one week, then all of a sudden push it up to 30 miles the following week and at the same time trying to get faster and faster and get back to the 'speed' they had before the injury.
Sure, if you want to run 23 or 24 miles, you will probably be fine, but increasing it to 30 or beyond the week after 20 miles, is probably not a good idea. Sorry, the speed may take a while to get back to your 'good days'.
Stop running to eat junk food.
I used to do it. I ran because I wanted to eat a big bowl of ice cream. Now, I have turned my attitude around and I eat to run, not run to eat. I eat more healthy so my recovery and I am not toxicated with bad foods. Do I have ice cream once in a while? Sure. However, I don't use that a reward for my efforts. It is just part of my life.
Stop eating junk food while running.
As runners are we really now "bragging" about the candy, sugary foods we are inhaling for a 1-2 hour run? For a typical long run, you most likely do not need junk food to "support" your running. Save that stuff, if you really want to use it for the end of a ultra distance run. Before that, it is not needed. Do you see any great runners eating like this?
Stop over running, training, race scheduling, etc.
I see it over and over people who want to run X # of miles every single day, week or month. Then, they also have 4-6 major races in a year. Hey, that is great and all, but if you are somehow getting injured or are exhausted, then maybe it is just too much. It might be better to just race 2-3 times during the year?
Best of the best runners usually race a certain amount of times per year, why are mid-pack runners trying to do more than them? The human body can only handle so much and for so long. If you want to sign up for a lot of 'races', do it. However, just keep in mind there will be a cost to the body if you are "racing" at 6 events in one year.
Stop only focusing on running.
Add weight lifting to your workout mix. Maybe cycling to cross train? How about yoga to stay flexible and possibly prevent and recover from injuries? Add more dedicated core work? I am sure there is more you can include in your daily exercise routine to keep you more durable.
Stop saying running is your life.
Seriously, I see this over and over from a variety of runners. "Today was a good day, I ran." "I cannot imagine a life without running." Think about this...Is running really "your life"? How about your husband, wife, children, family? They are not important or priorities? If running is at the top, you might want to reevaluate your life.
I know I am guilty of most of the 9 bad running habits listed above. If you are also guilty and continue to follow these bad running habits you will probably eventually not have fun, become injured and forget why you originally started running.
I have seen 'runners' stop running because it has all become too much. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Remember this is your life, not someone else's. Do what you can, without it becoming overwhelming.
Our long term goal for running should be to run for the rest of our life not just for the next race or our #1 goal for this year. Lets run for fitness, reach goals and to stay healthy as long as possible not just to have a faster pace than last year.
Do you have any advice to share? Have you learned from past mistakes? What are you guilty of?