8 Common Running Mistakes You’re Probably Making While Training

Local running pros weigh in on the mistakes they see runners making most often, plus they share how to avoid these blunders for a long and healthy relationship with running.

Welcome to Run Month at Be Well Philly! Every week, we’ll bring you the best and the latest on info on running around Philadelphia. Stay tuned for more great running articles!

Running is something most people either do religiously — as in, multiple times a week — or more infrequently to purely prove to themselves they can still do it (ahem, um, yes.)

No matter what grouping you’re in, everyone is susceptible to clocking miles that may result in inefficient efforts or worse, injury. To save you from wasting your time or getting hurt, we’ve asked some local running pros to share the major mistakes they see plaguing runners of all levels.

Read on to learn the common mistakes runners make and how to avoid them.

The Mistake: Skipping weight lifting to squeeze in more runs

“As a trainer and coach at City Fitness, the biggest training mistake runners actually do is TOO MUCH RUNNING. Without comprehensive strength and resistance training, you’re opening yourself up to a world of postural distortion patterns, improper gait mechanics, or worse. All runners should be strength training two to three times a week if they want to run faster, longer, and injury-free.” — Jon Lyons, founder of Run215 and WE/FIT Program Director at City Fitness

The Mistake: Having unreasonable goals

“Your goal can be as simple as just finishing, or as lofty as breaking a personal record. Whatever your goal is, it is best to make sure it balances ambition with success. If you set your sites too low, you will never realize your potential. But, if you set about to finish a marathon when you have never run before, you may be setting yourself up for discouragement or injury. If you go out with a reasonable plan, you will see the improvement every week.” — Carl Ewald, executive director of RunFest

The Mistake: Skimping on rest

“From where I sit, I think one major mistake folks can make while training is not putting a focus on rest. Training can be grueling on the body and consistently getting a full nights sleep is SO important for your body to be able to recover. This ties into a rest day during the week as well — it’s not a ‘light’ day or ‘just cross training’ day. It’s a legit free-of-working-out whole day that you give your body to rest. Trust me, you’re muscles will thank you!” — Suzanne Allaire, founder of November Project Philadelphia chapter

The Mistake: Doing too many HIIT workouts

“The most detrimental running mistake I see is trying to fit in too much high intensity exercise. A common situation I see is someone wants to PR in a marathon and/or is struggling to improve but also wants to continue with CrossFit, spin, and Orangetheory. You can do everything, but you can’t do everything at your best. Training to run your fastest half or full marathon is exhausting enough, trying to add too many other high intensity exercises tips the scale too much. One or two can be dealt with, but more spreads your energy too thin.” — Cory Smith, running coach and founder of Run Your Personal Best

The Mistake: Switching up your routine on race day

“Don’t try anything new on race day. Before and during your long runs, practice what you’re going to eat and drink on race day. Have a plan and stick with it.” — Carl Ewald, executive director of RunFest

The Mistake: Incorrect pacing

“The first thing I look at with every new client is how they pace themselves on each run. How does the pace trend? Is their first mile the fastest or is it the last? I’d say about 90 percent of runners always tend to have the first few miles the fastest and then fade. I call this mismanagement of energy. They feel great for those first few miles so the pace feels easy. Then, as they get tired, they realize they can’t sustain that pace for the entire run and start to slow. Start off slow and ease into it so your last miles are your fastest. This teaches you to manage your energy.” — Cory Smith, running coach and founder of Run Your Personal Best

The Mistake: Blasting your music

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run the Schuylkill River Trail and passed someone whose headphones are blasting! For your safety, and the safety of those around you, turn your music down. You never know who is zooming by, and God forbid a bike or car comes your way and your music is too loud for you to hear the warning signs. ALWAYS make sure you can hear to the point of awareness around you.” — Jessica Wayashe, corporate partnerships at City Fitness and long-distance charity runner

The Mistake: Missing out on the community

“We all need a good solo run with headphones in, but do this too much and you miss out on the beautiful running community Philly has to offer. From morning runs with Back on My Feet, to all-city training runs with almost every group in the city, I was able to overcome some of my most challenging trainings because of the incredible community of runners here in our city.” — Rebecca Little, development and marketing director at Back on My Feet Philadelphia

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