10 Most Common Race Mistakes in a Distance Running Event
Running is considered a frequent-injury sport because approximately two out of three runners sustains an injury each year. We believe running doesn’t need to be that way. Most aches, pains and injuries due to running can be prevented. What it takes to successfully run any distance of a 5K or more is some forethought and common sense, and of course, a strong running technique.
Here is a list of the 10 most common mistakes that can hamper your best efforts and lead to a less than successful event:
Disregarding running technique:
The most common mistake most runners make is running inefficiently, or running in a way that could potentially hurt their body. The primary focus of the ChiRunning technique is to teach you how to run farther, faster and injury-free. Anyone can learn correct running technique and, just like learning anything new, getting started running this way takes consistent practice. But when you can learn to run more efficiently, you’ll be able to run for years.
Running a distance longer than you are conditioned for running is asking for trouble. People do it all the time by running a 10K, half marathon or marathon and just “gutting it out.” Pushing your body beyond its limits can create long term damage and can take away your enjoyment of running and other activities as well. The Pain-Free ChiRunning technique teaches you to listen to your body throughout your running training so that you never run farther or faster than your body is capable running.
It is best to train for an event knowing as many specifics of the event as possible, and then training accordingly. Our technique-based Training Programs show you how to “rehearse” all the details of your event during your pre-race training period. This improves your confidence and ensures that you run your best race possible.
Over-training can mean many things, but bottom line, it means running consistently faster or farther than your body can handle. Everyone’s body needs recovery time. Pushing yourself too hard for too long can deplete your body’s deep reserves and significantly increase your recovery time. Our training programs teach you how to Body Sense what your body needs instead of letting your mind (and ego) dominate your training.
Starting too fast:
Most people get caught up in the excitement at the start of a race and run too fast. ChiRunning will teach you how to get started running at your ideal starting pace and how to practice it before you show up for your race. You should know in advance how fast you want to start your event, and stick to your plan. Getting started running too fast will deplete your reserves, leaving you with nothing for the finish.
Trying a new fuel at the event:
Have a fueling plan. Test it in your training and stick to it while running your race. You never know how your body might react to new food during an event. The best time to practice your fueling system is during your pre-race training.
Wearing new running shoes:
It is very tempting to wear new running shoes out of the box for an event, but it’s a recipe for blisters and pain. Your running shoes should fit well and be broken in but not worn out.
The common pasta dinner before a race is not always the best meal. If you eat pasta, it should be whole grain, as should the bread that goes with it. White flour, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and other low nutrient carbs can actually deplete your energy. Eating nutrient-poor foods is a mistake most people make in every day life. Give your body healthy, clean-burning fuels like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and lean protein.
If you want to enjoy your event, and not get muscle cramps, headaches, lightheaded or dizzy, you have to keep hydrated and have enough electrolytes in your system to prevent dehydration. We suggest drinking 2-4 oz. of water every 10 minutes and taking an electrolyte replacement capsule every hour. Also remember to stay well hydrated during your training. A good rule of thumb when is to always drink before you’re thirsty, whether you’re training or racing.
Running through pain:
If you are in pain while training for or running an event, don’t just run through it … do something about it. You could be causing long term damage. Taking a pain killer is not the solution either, as it only masks the symptom. Determine the source of your pain (it’s almost always your running technique) and adjust your running technique until the pain goes away. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you need to either make a change in your running technique or that you’re pushing yourself beyond your limits.