Marathons and other long races are popular among runners (and the rest of us too!). They provide attainable, yet challenging goals and can be a badge of honor among those who complete them. Long runs are also great for building your endurance and improving heart health. But be careful – training can be harmful if you make these mistakes…
1. Overtraining – Don’t train too hard, too often, or too long. There’s a fine line between preparation and over-exertion, and the line is easy to cross for those who are inexperienced. Be aware of the symptoms of overtraining. Listen to your body. A little soreness may be ok, but pain is a different story.
2. Not getting enough rest – The increased physical demands of training require you to get more rest. Make sure you get enough sleep each night and don’t try to catch up on your rest over the course of one or two nights.
3. Inadequate nutrition – You’ve heard me say it before. Proper nutrition provides the fuel your body needs to perform. Check out this month’s nutrition article, and learn the secrets to proper nutrition for training.
4. Improper equipment – “It’s just a run so I shouldn’t need any equipment, right?” Wrong answer. Twenty six miles, or 13, or 10 for that matter can be very long distances if you’re not accustomed to it. Your shoes are important as the tires on your car. Take time to get the right shoe…with the right fit. Talk to experienced runners, your trainer, or others who are knowledgable. Also consider purchasing a heart rate monitor to gauge your effort and keep track of your progress.
5. Dehydration – Proper hydration is always important, but when it comes to endurance training, it becomes critical. When training, the body uses and expels a lot more water through breathing and sweating during. Be careful not to let yourself get dehydrated. Carry extra water or sports drinks to ensure proper hydration and electrolyte balance.
Distance training can be great when applied correctly. Protect yourself during training and avoid the mistakes above.