RUNNING MISTAKES That Slow You Down
HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING CONSISTENTLY BUT DISCOVERED THAT YOU’VE HIT A PLATEAU? IT’S POSSIBLE THAT YOU MIGHT UNWITTINGLY SABOTAGING YOUR PROGRESS.
You’re Wearing The Wrong Shoes
It’s important to use the right pair of shoes based on your foot type. This will ensure that you’re comfortable as you run.
There are three foot types: neutral (feet that roll in neither too much nor too little), over pronated (feet collapse inwards) and under pronated (feet with high arches). The best way to find out your foot type is to visit a sportswear store and get a foot specialist to analyse your feet and recommend appropriate footwear.
Other than donning the right pair, it’s also important not to run in worn out ones. Generally speaking, the lifespan of a pair of running shoes is 700 to 800km. Here’s another way to know when to replace your shoes – when you feel pain in parts of your feet that you’ve never felt before, it’s probably time to toss them out.
Your Runs Lack Variety
Do you always run on the same days and tend to clock the same mileage each time? That is the quickest way to hit a plateau – doing the same form of training week after week. With no progressive training, your body will naturally adapt itself to run at the same pace.
Challenge your body by varying the speed and distance of your runs. Incorporate sprints to improve your speed or run slower but longer to boost your endurance. Make sure your body doesn’t get used to a running pattern so you’ll continually improve.
You’re Doing Too Much
You might think that clocking in more mileage will make you a better runner. But it’s quite the opposite – focusing too much on the distance can damage your body and even result in injuries.
Possible signs that you need to scale things back include fatigue in your legs that last more than two or three days after a run and feeling sluggish throughout the day despite having ample sleep the night before.
Here’s how you can clock more mileage safely:
During the first week of progression, add 15 to 20 per cent more of your previous week’s mileage. The second week, ease off by adding only five to 10 per cent more. Repeat this process.
You Don’t Cross-Train
Doing a combination of exercises such as swimming, cycling and yoga is an effective way for you to improve as a runner. They help to build overall flexibility and strength, and also activate muscles that running doesn’t.
By adding a variety of workouts to your training, you’ll be less prone to injuries. Better yet, you won’t get bored by just running all the time. Start off by replacing one of your runs with one of the cross-training workouts mentioned.
You’re Not Fuelling Properly
Eating might be the last thing on your mind straight after a run. Although a refreshing drink sounds more appealing, it’s better to fill your tummy with something more substantial.
According to the National Council of Strength and Fitness in the US, you should have a snack within 45 minutes after your workout. Eating during this time frame lets your body optimally absorb nutrients. Your post-workout snack should have a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein, which is the perfect formula for muscle repair. One great post-workout combo would be peanut butter and sliced banana on rice cakes.
You’re Relying Too Much On Technology
Many runners like to track their workouts using a smartwatch or GPS running watch, and use the data as a reference for their next run. However, relying too much on numbers can prevent you from naturally progressing.
When you’re running at fixed pace, you can’t accelerate or slow down you according to what you feel is comfortable. Make it a point to leave your watch at home for at least one run per week. Instead, listen to your body and let your legs carry you.
WITH NO PROGRESSIVE TRAINING, YOUR BODY WILL NATURALLY ADAPT ITSELF TO RUN AT THE SAME PACE.