Running burns more calories than almost any other exercise, improves your heart health, boosts mood and offers a host of other benefits. Whether you're thinking about running or have been doing it for a while, it's important to keep in mind some basic training principles when you run. Although it seems pretty simple, there is more to think about than putting one foot in front of the other.
Here are five mistakes runners make and how to avoid them:
1. Running too much too soon. It's important to build up your training program gradually. If you go from running 3 miles a week to 30, chances are you'll end up injured and burned out. Follow the coaching principle of adding no more than 10% of your previous week's miles to your training plan each week. So if you run 20 miles one week, 10% is 2 miles, meaning you can run 22 miles the next week.
2. Doing the same thing everyday. On the flip side of overtraining, many runners get stuck in a rut and run the same speed and distance every day. If you never vary your intensity or distance, you won't improve your fitness level or your running performance. Mix it up and do some speed workouts, pick a race to train for, and follow a running program that continues to challenge you.
3. Comparing yourself to others. We all are at different stages in our lives and training, and comparing yourself to others' performances and achievements will only make you unhappy. Commemorate your own milestones and appreciate your running journey. Remember what you love about running and you'll be much more likely to stay motivated and happy.
4. Eating anything because of running. Just because running burns a high amount of calories doesn't mean it's a free license to eat crap. Think of your body as a machine that needs good fuel. Sure you can run on processed or fast food, but you'll run better and feel better if you eat a balanced diet with a variety of whole, healthy foods.
5. Obsessing over numbers. This is especially common for advanced runners. Judging your running by your best race times, and highest mileage will only lead to feeling burned out and never satisfied. While these are milestones to celebrate and ways to mark progress, keep in mind the bigger picture as well. Being able to go out for a run and see the world, having the health and strength to run, feeling inspired after your workout and meeting amazing people are some of the hefty benefits of running you can't measure with numbers.
For more running tips, customized training plans and inspiration, visit Runstreet.com.
Article by Marnie Kunz
Marnie Kunz is a RRCA-certified running coach based in NYC. Marnie has been coaching for more than 5 years and has run competitively most of her life. She is the founder of Runstreet art runs and coaching programs.