By Zac Marion
As runners, we are always being told what we should do. Well I’m here to change the pace quicker than a Fartlek. Here’s a list of a few things that us runners shouldn’t do!
1-STOP IGNORING PAIN
Some runners assume they’re invincible and push through a run despite some pain that’s not going away. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that missing a few runs will ruin your training or prevent you from reaching a goal or finishing a race. Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong and rest is usually the best treatment. Taking some time off from running when an injury is in its early stages will prevent more time off later. If you push through it, the injury will most likely get worse.
2- STOP GIVING YOURSELF A LICENSE TO EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT
Often, after long runs or a big mileage week, I find myself going a bit overboard at meals. I justify some junk food binging by how many miles I’ve run, like one scoop of B&J Chunky Monkey Ice Cream for everymile I ran… on my long run… I round up… to the nearest double digit. This is an easy way for runners to gain weight, despite all the exercise they’re doing. Keep track of your exercise and calorie intake in a journal and use the heart rate monitor on your GPS for accurate calorie counts– you’ll get a better picture of how many calories you’re actually burning and taking in. Tracking everything will make you think twice before eating lots of high-calorie, high-fat foods after runs.
3- STOP WEARING THE WRONG SHOES BECAUSE THEY WERE “ON SALE”
Wearing the wrong type of running shoes for your feet and running style can lead to major running injuries and shattered dreams. If you’ve never had a running gait analysis done, come in ASAP. Since you’re such the fan of a good deal then you would be happy to know that the analysis is totally FREE.We’ll also need to make sure you’re wearing the right size shoes — at least half a size bigger than your regular shoe size. Your feet swell when you run so it’s good to have some extra room in the toe box to avoid black toe nails and blisters, unless you actually don’t like your toenails and WANT them to fall off. If you know someone who’s doing this, please do them a favor and send them into us. Only YOU can prevent black toes… and forest fires. Definitely prevent forest fires.
4- STOP SAYING, “WELL, I’M NOT A REAL RUNNER”
This quote from Bart Yasso always makes me chuckle: “I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner.We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” Like Yasso, I frequently hear people say they’re not real runners, and some of them have been running and racing for years. You don’t need to sub-7:00 miles or run marathons to be a real runner. If you run regularly — no matter what pace or distance — you can proudly call yourself a runner.
5- STOP SKIPPING YOUR WARM UPS
I sometimes skip or rush my warm-up, usually because I’m short on time or I’m just eager to get started on the meat of my workout. But neglecting my warm-up often results in developing a side stitch or feeling tight during my first couple of speed intervals. No matter what type of run you’re doing, it’s important to warm-up beforehand to get the blood flowing and your muscles warmed up for exercise. A warm-up can be a 5-minute brisk walk or slow jog, or warm-up exercises such as marching in place,jumping jacks, knee lifts, or butt kicks.
6- STOP RUNNING WITHOUT HYDRATION
I know runners who won’t drink water while running because they think they’ll get a side stitch. And then there are those who avoid the water stops during races because they don’t want to waste time. If you’re running longer than 30 minutes, you really need to hydrate during your run to avoid the effects of dehydration. The current fluid recommendations for runners say that they should “obey your thirst”and drink when their mouth is dry or they feel the need to drink. Try to shoot for roughly 21oz per hour
of exercise, especially during the warmer season.
7- STOP RUNNING ON EMPTY
While some runners think they can get away with not eating at all before a run of any distance, no matter who you are you’ll run stronger if you eat something before. Ideally, you want to try to eat something at least 90 minutes before running, so you have time to digest your food. But that obviously doesn’t work for everyone, especially morning runners. If I’m running in the morning, it’s to get toMcDonalds before they close down the breakfast menu (who can pass up a sausage McMuffin for a buck!). If my McDonalds is closer than an hour run then it’s no big deal. For anything longer than an hour, I’ll wake up to eat 2 hours earlier and even go back to sleep for a an hour or so. You can’t run a car on empty without breaking down, same goes for your body.
8- STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER RUNNERS
There’s always going to be someone who can run faster or longer than you. Don’t drive yourself crazy by comparing yourself to them. Instead, think about how much progress YOU’VE made so far. This quote from Amby Burfoot, 1968 winner of the Boston Marathon, sums it up best: “In running, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are relative to anyone else. You set your own pace and you measure your own progress. You can’t lose this race because you’re not running against anyone else. You’re only running against yourself, and as long as you are running, you are winning.”
9- STOP GETTING STUCK IN A RUT
Do you run the same flat, 3-mile loop? Do you do it at the same pace? Switching up the elevation,distance, location and pace of your runs will not only help you prevent boredom, you can also improve your running by adding some hill running, a tempo run, and a long run once a week. Trail running is also another great option for a change of pace (ha! see what I did there). Great for scenery changes and a more well-rounded training.
10- STOP EXPECTING A “PR” EVERY RACE
When you first start racing, it’s not too difficult to keep improving and set a new personal record (PR)every time you race. But you’ll eventually reach a plateau when it becomes increasingly harder to shave time off your best times. And putting pressure on yourself to keep getting faster and faster can suck all the fun out of running and racing. While it’s fine to set goals for certain races and work hard to achieve them, it’s also important to be realistic and make sure your goals match your abilities and training efforts. And, to relieve some of that pressure, you may want to pick a couple of races every year that you just do for fun and run without any expectations. Set your sights on only 2 races a year where youcan push your limits and see your improvements.