Before you lace up those sneakers, take a read at some of the common mistakes all endurance athletes have made.
Forrest Gump showed us what our bodies could do and where our legs could take us. Okay, so this is a romanticized version of what life is like for a runner. Still, shouldn’t life be as simple as “if I want to be a runner than I should just run”. Life lesson number one, nothing in life is simple.
Gaining great cardio endurance, improving time and finishing that race is not about pounding the miles through endless morning training sessions. For many, that is great news.
Common mistakes of all endurance athletes
1. Running everyday
Although great for our cardiovascular system, our feet and joints take a beating with prolonged running routines. There is only so many miles your feet and joints will be able to take each day/week. Endurance training is all encompassing and should be composed of many different training mechanisms.
Solution: Cross Training
Nothing wrong with having a couple of runs through the week but make sure to add in other types of cardio workouts; cycling, elliptical, stairs, hills, swimming. Having a well rounded program not only helps you gain endurance quicker, but aids in keeping joints happy and healthy.
2. Setting too many personal records
You read that right, but hear me out! Of course we want to smash goals and set new personal records, but doing it too quickly is setting our bodies up for failure. This endurance thing is all about health. Setting realistic goals and having attainable programming is all part of “living your best life”.
Solution: Periodic training plans
In a nutshell, I am saying to allow your body to adapt before you amp up the intensity. Increasing that long run day each week is fine, but go up by 5-10% instead of jumping up 1-2 mile increments. Goaling to beat your time each run is unattainable and will suck all the “joy” that running can bring. Setting paced runs is a great way to test your progress, but do so every other week to allow your body to improve performance in a more natural progression.
3. Not lifting
Endurance athletes tend to ditch the lifting regimen and dedicate all waking hours to their runs. Although I would agree there is a time to back off lifting, those weighted workouts are the best effort in keeping injuries at bay.
Solution: Shorten the time and lighten the load
Nothing wrong with just keeping to the basics of push ups, dips, step ups, squats. Lifting workouts should be designed to compliment your running program and tailored to the time you have. Even a 15 minute lifting session will do wonders for your joints and overall endurance.
4. Eating like a champion
You are an endurance athlete, it is time to eat like one. Normally seen in those using cardio to lose weight, clients attempt to eat the same small amounts as they did before diving into their running routine. Simply stated, it won’t work. Not only will you feel depleted but you are literally starving a revving system. Weight loss should be viewed as a side effect of endurance, not the overall goal.
Solution: Let go of the weight loss goal
Focus on what your body needs and change your perspective. We are training your body to be more efficient with energy and changing the metabolic needs as we progress. This isn’t a pass to eat all the junk food you can find, but you will need more intake in calories, water, electrolytes and sodium.