5 Major Running Mistakes

How to avoid basic running errors

Most runners will make mistakes, especially when they’re inexperienced. You train hard for six months, manage to avoid any major injuries and then buy a new pair of blister-creating shoes just before the race. Or you have make a perfect pace plan only to have adrenaline rush to your head and you take off like a chicken with a fox after it.

To avoid injuries, not succumb to race-day nerves or make catastrophic pre-race diet changes, you need to have a plan and stick to it. Training for a marathon is all about discipline. Having a strict training and nutrition plan is the first step towards success. Get an experienced runner to help you with it or simply Google ‘marathon training plan’. The important thing is to follow it!


This is a classic mistake made by runners old and new to the sport. Having decided to run a certain distance/race, they fling themselves head first into a training plan, that they either don’t read properly, or even worse, do read properly, but simply ignore. The plans work for a reason and that reason is because they build up gradually towards a certain goal. Trying to do too much too quickly is a classic form of over-training, but there are others. Following a training plan with too much intensity will lead to burnout, while too many miles in the pursuit of your holy grail will also leave you worn out, injured and de-motivated. The classic signs of over-training are lethargy, aching joints and muscles, heavy legs and an elevated heart rate. So try to avoid it; it rarely takes you where you want to go.

Getting the pace wrong

This simple sentence covers a multitude of training sins that runners often make. For runners who join a group aimed at achieving a certain race/distance goal, it is tempting to try and be the quickest through the first mile (1.6 km). But a fast start will invariably lead to a slow finish and you will increase your chances of burnout/injury if you start your hard workout/tempo run within 3 strides of your session. Always run at your own pace and don’t be afraid to let everyone else do the same. Even if they leave you behind, you’ll probably catch them by the end.

That said, some runners can be notoriously stubborn for the wrong reasons, because they train at the same pace all the time. The secret of running success lies in a mixture of training sessions, including speed intervals, tempo running and endurance running. If you ignore all of that variety, your capabilities will lack variety and you’ll struggle to progress. So don’t set a monotonous, repeated pace on your training runs. Mix it up and think speed. Your PB will thank you for it.

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