Running season is upon us! It’s time to lace up our shoes and head out for run in the warmer weather to start training for that race. I love seeing more people out on the street getting in those miles after being cooped up all winter, but if we aren’t training smart we can end up with those nagging injuries that can sideline us from reaching our goals. So I want to share two common mistakes I see runners make and how to avoid them so you can stay healthy and reach that finish line – because running is great, but the fancy medal and snacks at the end of a race is really what keeps us going right?!
Running places a big load on our joints, bones, muscles/tendons, and ligaments. Luckily, our bodies are very resilient and these structures are great at adapting and strengthening over time so they are able to withstand the demand that we are placing on them! BUT (there always has to be a “but”!), if we increase our mileage too quickly, our body doesn’t have enough time to adapt and get stronger and we can experience an injury. A good rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 20% each week. So if you choose a half-marathon training plan that has you running 20 miles total for the first week, but you are currently running 10 miles per week, then plan to take an extra 4 weeks (adding 2-3 miles per week) to build up to your training program.
Also, take a look at how many miles your first long run of the training program is. If the first long run is 8 miles, but the longest run you have done over the last few months is 4 miles, you should give yourself 3-4 weeks to work your way up to that distance. It might seem redundant to “Train” for a “Training Program”, but your body will thank you for giving it the time it needs to adapt to support you as you work towards your goals!