How to Avoid the Major Mistakes of New Runners

Posted on Fri, Mar 01, 2013




You want to get yourself in better shape and feel amazing. You’ve heard about the health benefits of running, and so you want to give it a try. Or maybe you used to run and want to get back into it. Whatever your reasons, running can be a great past-time that helps you strengthen your muscles, help your bones, get your heart working optimally, and feel great!

As part of your motivation, you also signed up for a race – goals can be good after all. But there’s more to training than simply running the distance. But with this mindset, many new runners make mistakes that ruin their first race experience. With the tips below, you can avoid these first marathon mistakes: 

  • Inadequate training time: To run any distance, you need to be able to cover the distance. If you’re running in a half marathon or a longer distance, then typically, you would run most of the distance, such as 11 miles, comfortably during training. The problem arises when you don’t run enough longer distances times during your training. This can cause problems on the actual race day because your body isn’t expecting such a workout. Make sure you get enough longer training runs in before the race date so that your body isn’t left in a state of shock on the actual day.
  • Ignoring your body: An important part of training is recovery. Though it may sound like a contradiction, you need to run, and you need to rest. This lets your body recover from the wear and tear that running causes. Insufficient recovery time will simply tire you out, making any subsequent runs more difficult than they need to be, and making you cranky too. Therefore, intersperse slow, short running days and no-run days in between your longer runs.
  • Lack of proper nutrients and hydration: You don’t want to weigh yourself down with water bottles or food, but when running longer distances, your body needs fuel. You need water because you will be sweating, and you need food to replace the calories that you are burning. If you don’t get enough of both, you will feel sluggish and slow. During training, try out different foods and drinks to see what you enjoy eating, what your body can handle, and what you are comfortable to carry to avoid first marathon mistakes that many make.
  • Not having comfy clothing: You may have a favorite race shirt, but is it comfortable? Your shoes are worn – time to get a new pair? You want to be as comfortable as possible on race day, but to know that, you have to wear your clothes on enough training runs to find out. If you need new shoes, wear them on enough training runs to ensure you don’t get blisters. If your clothes tend to chafe you during longer runs, consider anti-chafing cream. It can minimize the friction caused by the clothes rubbing together, prevent blisters, and even bleeding, while moisturizing your skin.

Learning to train properly for a race is a matter of trial and error – you need to know what works for you and your body, and tweak the areas that don’t. By following the tips above, you can prevent or minimize many of the first marathon mistakes that others make so that your first race can be an exhilarating accomplishment. Good luck!




Here We Go! Train Like a Pro, Part I

Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012

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As the editor of Mission's blog, I have the job of figuring out what comes next. Given that the Olympics are around the corner, we at Mission will be checking in with some of our athletes to talk training - a topic that many of you are interested in. Via Facebook and Twitter, you've shared news of your latest race, upcoming season, and personal fitness goals. In fact, more often than not, one of your comments leads me to a workout of my own later on in the day... But back to the Mission athletes. I figure their secrets will benefit us all. Before we jump in with their favorite workouts and tricks of the trade, I wanted to write a post about the preparation needed before one even begins training. Baby steps, if you will.

Before considering which race to sign up for this spring, I spent some time searching the web for sources that deal with the importance of training and came across a wide variety of opinions. The articles that I have included here offered some of the best advice, in part because they spoke to the fundamentals of training as an everyday endeavor for the everyday athlete.

In an article for xtri.com, Brad Stulberg breaks World Champion triathlete, Jordan Rapp's quote, "train as much as possible" into two parts. He writes:

"1) Train as much: More volume and more intensity is good, so long as...
2) As Possible: The body and mind are in a position to successfully adapt to the applied load."

His article, available here, made me reconsider the feet to the fire approach I initially thought was necessary to start training. The idea isn't to ambush your body. It is to first, be thoughtful, and second, act accordingly. As Stulberg writes, we, the training athletes, need to consider the rest of our lives - the amount of time we spend at work, the amount of time we sleep, the amount of time we would have to recover after working out - before we can commit to a training regimen. I completely agree.

Tip 1: Be realistic.

I found more valuable insight at the New York Times and Tara Parker-Pope's blog on health and wellness (one of my go-tos for insight re: fitness, health, food and the intersection of the three) where Nicole Kolata was writing about the limits of personal workouts.

Kolata sat down with University of Indiana's sports psychologist, John Raglin, to talk about a recent trend and the focus of his studies, overtraining. Raglin's advice to the everyday athlete is to take notice of your body. "You should feel tired... but if you do too much with too little rest, your performance gets worse, not better. Serious athletes recognize these issues — whether they respond to them or not is another matter. A lot of recreational athletes really have no idea.”

If you're not sure how to keep your workouts in perspective, Kolata suggests writing in a diary or taking notes on how you feel after training. The act of recording will help you stay atune to what your body may be telling you.

Rule 2: Take time to recover.
Rule 2.5: Take notes.

A little late to the race, I stumbled across ESPN anchor, Sage Steele's blog about preparing for her first half-marathon. (You can follow her on Twitter by searching #RUNSAGE.) In the latest entry, two trainers - both marathon runners and moms - Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, give her some "sage advice," beginning with:

1. Don't think, just go. (For their other tips, read the rest of the article here.)

Perhaps more than anything, you and I, just have to start. Lace up the old Nikes and get out there. Reading these articles was step one. Onto step two and the actual running!

Stay tuned in the coming months as I'll be writing about our athletes as many of them gear up for the Olympics. I'll let you in on their training secrets and the Mission products they're using to keep them in prime condition. I welcome any of your suggestions as to what comes next. To stay in touch, visit our Connect page here.

Now, back to training!