After Saturday’s race, I was bumming pretty hard. I was upset with myself, frustrated with my health, and just plain old discouraged because my running wasn’t what it used to be. Thankfully, I had two wonderful runner friends, who assured me I could get back to where I used to be with some hard work.
While struggling through the 10K this past weekend, I kept thinking about what went wrong and how I got so off track with my running. I used to love running and do it all the time. When CrossFit came into my life, things obviously changed, and running took a backseat. Of course, it’s perfectly okay to fall in and out of love with certain activities from time-to-time, but I’m bummed—even a bit surprised—about how much my running abilities have declined.
The day after the race (Sunday), I went for a run. I grabbed my music, Timex GPS Watch, and set out to run 3 miles. I didn’t have any expectations for this run. I really just wanted to zone out and remember what I loved so much about running.
Within minutes, my mind started to wander, and I thought about the ZOOMA 10K and how awful I felt during it. (Heat is one thing, but being out of (running) shape is another.) My thoughts eventually led me to all of the “mistakes” I’ve made related to running. Fortunately, these mistakes made me realize why I ran such a bad race last weekend and what I need to do if I want to improve my running. With that said, here are some of the running mistakes I’ve made along with some new goals to help me get back on track.
Doing too much too soon.
I’m the queen of doing too much too soon when it comes to running. I get all motivated, register for a race, and then create a super ambitious training plan, which inevitably leads to an injury because I over-train and/or don’t slowly build up my mileage.
New goal: Build mileage slowly and allow for rest days between runs.
Relying on other people too much.
I love running with other people (I’m a dog runner), but I was relying on running buddies too much to get me out the door for a run. Sure, it’s easier to get your butt in gear when you have someone waiting for you, but I relied too much on these perfect running buddy situations instead of just going out and running on my own.
New goal: Plan a mix of friend-runs and solo-runs each week.
Impulsively registering for races.
I love having a race on my calendar to keep me motivated, but I often registered for a race before I’ve even started training. I’m sure this strategy works for some people, but I’ve lost a lot of money on races I’ve never run. Plus, registering for races before I’m physically ready encourages that “too much too soon” behavior that I am guilty of.
New goal: Do some running and then register for a race.
Not running for myself.
I first started running in college as a way to relieve stress. I’d throw on my sneakers, grab my Walkman (yup), and head out for a few miles around campus. Even when I was having the worst day ever, a run always made me feel better. In recent times, however, I stopped running for myself. I was running for a certain time, a PR, or because my friends were running too. I guess I lost that love for running somewhere along the way.
New goal: Download some new tunes (music and running go hand-in-hand for me) and fall in love with running again.
Obsessing over time.
Similar to “not running for myself,” I spent a lot of energy obsessing over my time. I love setting goals for myself and working to achieve them, but I was focusing too much on my time—constantly looking down at my watch to check my pace, getting frustrated if I had a slow run or didn’t PR at a race. Basically, obsessing over time took some of the fun out of running for me.
New goal: Run “naked” (without a watch) for at least one run per week.
Having unrealistic expectations.
There’s nothing wrong with having high expectations for yourself, but mine were sometimes a bit unrealistic. Three half marathons in three weeks? Um, not smart. Obviously, I got injured.
New goal: Aim high, but be smart. Also, listen to my body. No need to be a hero.
Question of the Day
What running/fitness mistakes have you made over the years? How have you learned from them?