I have spent the past few evenings looking up various running sites to look for advice and tips on what I can do next and how I should structure my running. My focus to date has simply been to go for a run and to run further or longer than before.
Runaddicts.net (link at bottom) list the six biggest mistakes of beginner runners as:
1: Doing too much too soon.
2: Ignoring recovery
3: Not wearing proper shoes/equiptment
4: No goals or plans
5: Learning to properly pace
6: No variety in training
Off the bat, I can see I have fallen victim to 5 of the 6 biggest mistakes (Ooops!) so I hope I can address them here.
Doing too much too soon:
Considering I only started running in January, I suppose in one way I have done a lot in a very short period of time. I have pushed myself to run further and faster. I get a real kick from seeing that little red banner I often post on this blog saying 'New Record'.
As the article says "Many beginners think that the only important part of running is the act of running itself" which I'm afraid *hands up* I believe too. I must make recovery part of every run I go for by either walking or slow jogging for 5 minutes at the end of every run. I learned last month the importance of this when I hurt my hamstring - probably from just coming in home after a run and heading straight for the shower without doing any stretches.
No goals or plan:
While I have had a goal in mind, I have failed to make a plan around my goal. My plan I suppose was always to 'do more' or 'go for a run' but nothing specific.
Learn to properly pace:
As the article explains, pacing is important to prevent the runner from having to slow down/walk. When starting my running, I was used to the stop/startness of it all, running for 90s then walking for 2 minutes. I assume proper pacing is something that comes with experience but it is something I need to work on. Don't burn my candle too quickly and then struggle through to the end.
I know my average pace is around 6 minutes per kilometer as that is what I ran the race in last weekend. Likewise, that is what my 5K pace is too. I'm assuming though these paces should be different. I need to work more on this aspect of my training.
No variety in training:
The variety in my training comes from the time of day it is when I go for a run. If its bright out, I leave my house and go left. If its dark, I leave my house a go right. Street lights guide my run so if it is dark out, the 'furthest' I can run is 5K. The article also outlines how running different courses helps prevent injury as you are experiencing different terrains, hills, slopes and flats.
I also don't vary my runs in terms of different types of runs (e.g. faster shorter runs mixed with longer slower ones). "Mixing pace and distance of runs will add variety to the beginning runners training which in turn help the beginner improve at a much faster race."
I was making this same face reading the mistakes beginner runners make
So... Where does that leave me? I think I need to sit down and make a plan. Make a plan that incorporates all of these mistakes to ensure I don't fall victim to them. All of the advice in the article makes sense having read it - they are just things that I hadn't thought about before.
Stay tuned for my next update (which will hopefully be a post on setting myself goals). Does anyone have any other advice they can offer up? Either way, I think I'm hooked - I want to run harder better faster stronger and the only person standing in my way is myself! :)