Last Updated: June 21st, 2020
Running is tough, but so are you my friend…
But no matter how much careful you are, you will make mistakes.
and when that happens your performance will suffer.
Here are 16 most common mistakes to avoid when your running is getting harder.
Also, here is a resource to build long distance running stamina.
Table of Contents
- 1. You’re not maintaining your Gut Health
- 2. You shoe doesn’t fit
- 3. Don’t Have a Proper Training Plan
- 4. You are not listening to your body
- 5. You are calorie-starving yourself
- 6. You are not running enough
- 7. You don’t have any variation
- 8. Running is not your priority
- 9. You are not training your brain
- 10. You are over-training
- 11. You are dehydrated
- 12. You drink too much water
- 13. Not Warming Up Or Cooling Down
- 14. You are under-fueled
- 15. Not re-fueling after running
- 16. You are low on motivation
1. You’re not maintaining your Gut Health
Gut health is essential if you want to lead a healthy, energized life.
It is the place where your nutrition gets absorbed and is supplied to your body.
So you can only imagine what can happen if you start having stomach trouble.
You will be low on energy and will end up with nutrition and energy deficit.
If you suspect that you don’t have a healthy gut, check for these symptoms:
- Frequent stomach upsets
- You have unhealthy food cravings
- You gain weight suddenly with no change in lifestyle
- You are always tired
- You cannot sleep properly
- You have brain fog
- Suddenly your skin breaks out
- You have developed autoimmune conditions
- You are allergic to certain food
How can you improve your gut health?
It is not easy to maintain gut health.
You have had to put some effort into it.
Here is what you can do:
- Try to reduce your stress level
- Sleep at least for 6 hours in a day
- Eat your food slowly. (Chew your food 32 times. Once for each tooth, you have)
- Drink water
- Take prebiotics and probiotics.
I’ve seen a major improvement in my gut health after including probiotic in my food.
It’s simple to make them at home.
Some of the effective ones are:
- Kombucha Tea
There are n-number of recipes over the internet. Pick one and get started.
Most of them are requires a starter kit, except for Kimchi and Kanji
2. Your shoe doesn’t fit
This is a huge problem among the runners.
Their shoe doesn’t fit them properly or is just too worn out.
Worn out shoes will not provide you with the required comfort and responsiveness.
As a result, you will not be able to perform properly.
Here is a guide on how to select a proper running shoe.
I’ve made it as thorough as possible. Save the instructions laid out there if needed.
You can reference it when needed.
Also, as a rule of thumb, replace your running shoe every 300-500 miles.
Another thing I’ve observed is, runners may suffer from some special feet conditions.
Many times they are not aware of that. By the time they realize, it is too late.
Look out for symptoms for some common ones.
Here is a list of most common foot problems for a runner:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Shin splints
- Heel spurs
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Underpronation and so on…
If this is the case, you need to find a specialized running shoe that will help you.
Brooks Ghost 11 running shoes will be able to help you out in most cases.
But ensure that you try out others before switching to it.
3. Don’t Have a Proper Training Plan
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail-Unknown
We all know this…it is common sense.
However, most do this exact thing.
Having a plan in place helps you
- To track your progress
- Keep you on track
- It will also be clear when you are falling off the wagon
- A powerful tool for motivation
- A reason for celebration
I’ll be the first to admit, that training is hard.
To be able to go through it is like at times going through hell.
But when you see the progress, and the training that you have completed…
Well, it is a feeling out of this world.
It is a moment filling with happiness, encouragement, pride, and sense of accomplishment.
You cannot get that feeling from anywhere else.
So, no matter what, have a training plan. This will give you a purpose to head out of that door every morning.
It will make you stretch a bit more.
If you don’t have a training plan handy, you can start off with this one.
4. You are not listening to your body
Our bodies hold clues about everything.
It will send us signals way before we are going to crash.
If we just tune in and listen, we will be able to take outperformance to the next level.
Let me give you some examples:
Being a runner you must have heard about “hitting the wall”.
It is that nagging feeling that you cannot go on any further.
Many times, it is a direct result of the rapid depletion of your body’s glycogen store.
The main culprit is your overtraining. You may be feeling sudden fatigue or tiredness.
But you have ignored it whereas you should have started taking more carbs before the workout.
Another common problem in runners is knee pain. It doesn’t start suddenly.
Sometime your body will give you weeks or even months of the signal.
It will start with mild discomfort and if it goes unnoticed, it will become this chronic pain.
I can go on and on…
But you get the point.
Listen to your body, before its too late. If you feel any kind of discomfort, don’t ignore it.
Visit your physician and get treated. Stop or scale back if you have to.
You are putting in efforts to get healthy not otherwise.
5. You are calorie-starving yourself
To be healthy, you should outspend the calories that you intake.
Also, if you consume lesser calories you will lose weight faster.
Now, think about it for a moment.
When you are running or working out, you need a lot of energy.
From where this energy comes?
But you have a mindset that lesser calorie is good for your body.
So, you eat less.
Now you have heightened bodily activities with a low amount of food.
What will happen?
Your body will go into fight or flight mode.
Here it will slow down your metabolism and will clutch onto whatever little you provide.
As a result, you may stop losing weight, if that is your goal.
Worst, you may start gaining weight after all the hard work you are putting.
This can be extremely discouraging.
Also, another immediate result will be chronic fatigue that you will have a hard time to shake off.
So, needless to say, eat as per your intensity of training. Calorie counting is bad and remember, food is more than calories.
When eating, it is easy to get carried away, follow this rule of thumb.
If you are feeling full, stop. If you are not, then continue.
But remember full, not stuffed, there is a minor difference. One will leave you satisfied, the other will give you a run for your life.
Also, if you are working on some kind of stamina building activity, then this food guide will definitely help you.
6. You are not running enough
Well, it might not seem obvious, but many times this is the case.
You are not running enough.
But how much is not enough?
It depends on the runner.
Let’s say, you are a nonrunner and want to run.
You run for an hour a day, and take off the rest of the week.
What will happen?
When you run your body will continue to work more efficiently for up to 48 hours.
Post that it will slip onto its pre-run zone.
So, next week when you do run, you have to start from the beginning.
You will never be able to improve.
Also, your chances of getting injured become more.
So, if you run 3-4 times a week for 15 min a day, that will be more effective.
Remember, consistency is the key.
The more you run, the better you get. (Well, to the limits to which your body allows you)
Also, if you are just starting out, then you may have put on some weight in the last couple of years due to inactivity.
In that case, start slow, start small.
Don’t try to run a marathon in a day. You will end up injured.
Also, you might be interested in How To Get Back Into Running After Gaining Weight?
I’m sure after reading this, you have a lot of questions.
7. You don’t have any variation
Like anything in life, if it gets monotonous and repetitive, it stops being effective.
It is the same as running. If you run the same distance and the same type of run every day, you will never improve.
After a couple of sessions or at most, a couple of weeks, your body will get used to it.
It will become a new comfort zone for your body.
And the truth about the comfort zone is…
Nothing grows there.
So, have to spruce it up, to add more variations.
Here are some ways you can add variation in your run:
Vary the type of run: You can mix up your schedule, to include easy, moderate and hard runs.
This will help you to keep on improving.
Strength training: This is essential. You should not skip this. In a week you should have strength training and CrossFit sessions.
That will depend on the type of running training you are going through currently.
Hit the treadmill once in a while: I’ll admit it. I hate treadmills. The sessions are so boring.
But sometimes you just have to get it over with.
This is a very easy way to add variation to the running surfaces as well. Also, make sure you have proper shoes for the treadmill.
Your regular running shoes may not work.
8. Running is not your priority
And I completely get it.
You want to run, but life is catching up with you.
You have a small kid to feed or take care of your family or some elderly.
You must complete that project of yours.
Yes! these things will be there and this is life.
But rather than completely abandoning you run, start running for 15 min a day, 2-3 times a week.
This will give you sufficient time to take care of your priorities also.
However, here are some red flags.
You are abandoning your runs for:
- Watching movies
- Sleeping in
- Catching up with a regular friend…
Overall, anything that is trivial (not saying that meeting with an everyday friend is trivial, but it might not be an urgent business)
If this is the case, be honest with yourself, and acknowledge that you are not running
And not for any valid reason…
If you catch yourself doing so, tie your sneakers and get out of that door.
You just have to make it a priority, if you want to improve.
9. You are not training your brain
Your brain is the first thing to give up.
It is not your body, it is your mind.
And as we know, your body will go anywhere your mind will take it.
So, train your brain for your running sessions.
But what are the causes that your mind wants to give up?
It is very simple.
Running is a very intensive form of workout.
It takes a lot of effort mentally and physically.
As you continue to run, your mind just focuses on how hard it is to run, or how much more time is left.
Gradually it becomes anxious and want relief.
The physical response is…
You stop running.
So, train your mind to not quit.
Here are some ways. Since I explained the techniques in detail here, I’m not explaining it again:
- Think something other than running
- Two more steps
- Just keep going
- Enroll in a race
- Take a different route
10. You are over-training
Symptoms of overtraining are often overlooked.
They seem similar to dehydration or low-calorie consumption.
However, they tend to persist even after you have taken a good amount of food or sufficient water.
In overtraining your body will consume all its energy resources and your muscles will be worn down.
No amount of food or water at that point in time may help.
What you need to do is, cut back on your training for a couple of weeks and resume once you feel better.
At this point in time, you also need to consume food which will aid in recovery.
A balanced meal of protein, carbs and fat will allow you to recover faster.
Also, include chia seeds in your diet.
- Soak a teaspoon of chia seeds in half cup water
- Let it stand for 30 mins
- The seeds will swell and will get a white soft coating on them
- Drink the water along with the seeds as is.
- Alternatively, you can have it with turmeric milk.
- Chia seeds aids in faster muscle recovery due to its muscle-building power.
- Also, turmeric is known to heal and wear and tear in the body
Using these natural ingredients, you will recover much faster.
11. You are dehydrated
Dehydration can lead to a lot of problems with runners.
It will increase your chances of getting injured.
Also, it will make your muscles and tissues to wear and tear more.
Many runners have a serious problem with hydration and that includes me.
The problem was, I didn’t know how to hydrate myself.
But when I started getting cramps and immense fatigue, I did some R&D.
I found dehydration may be the cause.
So, as an experiment, I started taking more water and started feeling better in a couple of days.
But that’s me. I know you know better.
The question still remains…
How much water and when?
- Drink 500 ml of water around 1 hour before the run.
- Then throughout the run, keep sipping water after every 30 min
If you still feel dehydrated, then you may want to load up your water can with electrolytes.
Losing electrolytes can also cause dehydration like symptoms.
12. You drink too much water
If you are having less water, then you will end up with dehydration.
You have more, then you will end up with cramps, bloating and discomfort.
It also increases your chances of throwing up.
Then how much water should you drink?
Follow the instructions in point#11
13. Not Warming Up Or Cooling Down
This is essential if you want the best performance from yourself.
It will be a huge mistake to make and can cause you injury as well.
Your performance is dependent on your muscles’ tension.
If you don’t have proper tension, then you will feel lethargic and will have a bad run.
Also, it hardly takes 5 to 10 mins of your time and your overall performance will improve.
The more you skip this the more you are in danger of getting hurt.
The same goes for the cool down.
14. You are under-fueled
When you go for a run, it is a bad idea to stuff yourself with food.
But it is an equally bad idea to run on an empty stomach.
Running is an energy-intensive activity.
It needs a steady supply of energy for optimal performance.
In the absence of food, it will turn to body tissues for energy and they will start breaking up.
This is very bad and you are actually losing muscle mass.
Instead, you should load on some carbs like a banana or an apple 20 min before the run.
At this point, your body will be able to break down the carb and effectively utilize it as energy.
Never run empty stomach…let me repeat, NEVER RUN EMPTY STOMACH
15. Not re-fueling after running
After the run, your body has used up the fuel you have provided it.
But it will keep on working out at a higher intensity.
If you don’t provide it with food, it will go into a fight or flight mode.
At this point it will hold onto anything you provide it, effectively causing you a weight gain.
Here also, a banana or an apple within 20 mins of run is good.
16. You are low on motivation
Maybe your training is not going as planned.
Maybe you are not losing weight
Maybe you are going through a bad phase in your life.
All in all, you are simply demotivated to run.
If that is the case, you can also ask for help.
Ask one of your buddies to come with you for a run.
Ask them to push you or join a local running club.
Sometimes the energy of a group actually infuses energy into ourselves.
And lastly, if needed take a short break if you have to and come back fresh.
Ask yourself, are you holding yourself back?
If so, put in a little effort and get out of your own way.
Things may not be fine 100% of the time, but so is what life is.
We have to jump in and do our best.
What is your biggest mistake in running?
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