Yes, I've made a few (actually several, but who's counting?).
The thing with mistakes, running or otherwise, is they are part of the process. If we did everything perfect all the time, I question just how much we'd actually learn.
Care to hear a few of mine?
Not warming up. Truthfully, a lot runners can get by without doing any warming up or cooling down. And, quite often our time is limited, especially for those who may work outside the home. It's just "easier" to skip the real warm-up and label the first mile as the warm-up instead (I've done it myself). The value in doing a warm-up, though (even just a quick 5-minute routine of dynamic stretches), is that you won't have to waste that first mile (or several) getting your muscles primed for action. Also, you will probably lower your risk of injury since you won't be demanding too much (too soon) of your muscles (Need some warm-up suggestions? Check out my Let's Warm up! post).
|warming up with butt-kicks|
Not cooling down. As mentioned, most of us are limited with our time...so, brushing off a proper cool-down is pretty tempting. Similar to warming up, the cool-down gives your muscles a chance to come to a "slow, easy stop." Much like driving a car...it's better to come to a gradual stop than merely slamming on the brakes. Your muscles will appreciate some TLC for a few minutes following a run, or a workout.
|post-run stretching feels so good!|
Going out too fast or too slow. Seriously, haven't we all done this, at least once? It took me a long time (translation: several years) to trust the process of pacing myself. Truth be told, I still do not have it perfected, especially for shorter races (like a 5K). It's tough to figure out how "fast" is too fast, and how "slow" isn't fast enough. Countless times have found me running that first mile too hard, only to have to a major struggle in the final mile. Conversely, there have been other races where I held back too much (conserving energy), only to not be able to make up that lost time in the final miles.
Following a faster runner. It's exciting to be able to keep up with a faster (or more experienced) runner in a race. I tried this once, and felt like a total badazz keeping pace with someone much faster than myself. Only, this more experienced runner was actually keeping a conservative pace for herself...and after a couple miles, she started upping the pace even more. An easy pace for her was a too-fast tempo pace for me, and I was not in condition to maintain that for the duration. You can probably guess what came next (crash, burn, walk of shame). Yadda yadda yadda.
Not cross-training. This is, often times, a common problem for new runners. For myself, I was so excited to have finally found a sport that I enjoyed (and somewhat excelled at), that I didn't want to waste any extra time doing other things. I wanted to save all of my energy for running. I don't think it's a coincidence that I battled piriformis problems (literally, a pain in the buttocks) in those early years because I wasn't doing anything (other than running) to strengthen my body or enhance my balance or stability. My bad.
|yoga and strength-training for the win|
Doing all of my runs (and races) at the same pace. Once I mastered that 9-minute pace, it stuck with me. All of my training runs were run at that pace, as well as all of my races (no matter the distance). Maybe I was lucky that it was a comfortable pace for me, but it wasn't really giving my body a break for longer runs. Nor was it challenging my speed on shorter distances. Unfortunately, I didn't know better.
Thankfully, my injuries have been pretty minimal. Considering the carelessness I exhibited in the early years, I'm very lucky. That said, I have been side-lined on occasion. It's tough taking a break from running, but if one maintains their fitness through other forms of exercise, their rally-back has a better chance of success.
Anyways, those are just a sprinkling of mistakes I have made in my journey of 15 years as a runner. There are many more, but these are the big ones.
Care to hear about a few racing mistakes? Here's a related post: It's just a race, what could go wrong?
How about you? Any big mistakes that you've made along the way? Are there some mistakes that have happened repeatedly?
I'm also linking with Debbie, Deborah, Lisa, Laura and Jenn for the Runners' Roundup