Updated: Mar 19, 2018
We get it: you’ve set your goal and want to get started. Now. As quickly as possible. As fast as possible. STOP. WAIT. Hold your horses, slow down, inhale deeply and first read our 5 typical runners mistakes!
#1 Run too fast too far
This is a classical one. It only takes a sunny afternoon and a good leg-day, and before you know it you run faster than you should. Not only beginners, but the majority of advanced runners even run into this pitfall. However, if you want to strengthen your basic training condition or grow into longer distances, the best is really to slow down.
Ideally, you should run in your heart rate (HR) zone 2. If you don’t yet know your HR zones, this would be something like a HR of 140-160, broadly seen, dependent on your physical condition. Slow down, it burns more fat percentage and calories, it strengthens your basic aerobic condition, and keeps the trainings fun and endurable in the long run. And if you want to become a faster runner, the only way is interval trainings. Conclusion: go faster in intervals, go slower in long distance runs.
#2 Miss out on your after-run snack
If running is your way to lose weight, that’s definitely okay, but don’t cut in your after-run snacks. If weight loss is your goal: you can cut in all of your meals, except for the afterwork snack. It is the very moment that your body needs to revitalise its muscles, which can only be done by providing your body with the correct mix of proteins and carbohydrates. If not, the trainings are pointless and in vain, as your body literally eats away your muscle-mass. The snack can be lighter if the training was aerobic, but especially after heavy power, core stability, or interval trainings: do not ever bypass your snack.
Drink your well-deserved after-workout shake. This is our favourite, easy to make yourself: 300ml low-fat milk, 150g low-fat yoghurt, 25g honey, 10g whey powder, 1 banana.
#3 Miss out on your core-stability trainings
The secret to running is to do more than just running. If you want to go faster and better, a stronger body is what will push you forward. A strong abdominal core and strong legs will provide the perfect framework to gain speed in your running. Of course, exaggerations are not ideal either: a bodybuilder will not run faster. But, strong legs and abdomen will help you conquer bridges and hills, or make run faster on even ground.
Schedule your trainings as such that in between your running days, you go for core stability trainings or power classes. An ideal scheme for anyone hoping to bypass the 5km or looking to improve their overall fitness could be the following:
Day 1. Slow long distance Run
Day 2. Core stability training
Day 3. Interval Run
Day 4. Power training
Day 5. Rest
Day 6. Long slow distance Run
Day 7. Core stability training.
#4 Sidestep the carbohydrates
Misconception nr. 4: No, carbohydrates are not your enemy. Potatoes, rice, bread, pasta: you need these heavily! Without you can forget about gaining muscle mass. Of course, as always, do not exaggerate and look into the needs regarding your specific sport schemes.
On days of heavy weight-lifting or power trainings, you will need an above-average amount of carbohydrates. On days of slow long distance runs, you won’t need an extra portion of pasta. Just remember: any training that involves power and muscle creation or anaerobe, very high intensity trainings, you will need to back up your body with extra fuels.
#5 Run just by yourself
Time is money, and sometimes you don’t feel like waiting for someone else to clear up their agenda. And even though, running by yourself can be relaxing from time to time, a running buddy is great to help keep pace and frequency. On the other hand, if you cannot train on your own and always need someone else to give you discipline, anything beyond the ordinary will not be within your scope. As always, it’s about finding balance.
Join a runner’s club or try to find a buddy nearby with the same motivations and speed(!). We run with Club 365 in Ghent (Gent) Belgium, guided by Belgium's best marathon coach Stefaan Enghels. After all, pleasure is only real when shared.