Tuesday, March 15, 2016

9 Running Mistakes You Need to Make At Least Once


What I've learned over the years since I started running is this:  If I am going to be a better, stronger, more successful runner I need to keep making mistakes. Mistakes (not just in running, but in life) help me fine-tune what works for me.

It's not about being perfect. It's about experimenting, learning, improving and overcoming. You can know intellectually what to do and what not to do. The truth is, however, we all have to find out for ourselves and this usually comes from trial and error. Think about the child who touches a fire by mistake. You think he/she goes back in for more? Not usually.

Here are a few mistakes I've made as a runner and how they've helped me learn the hard way. I am sure I still have much more to learn, so check back another day when I tell you more mistakes I am making.

Try these mistakes!

1. Do something different on race day.

Everyone tells you not to eat, wear or try anything new on the day of your race. At some point in your life you probably will. You'll get that new cute pair of shorts and you'll think, "What the hell? How bad can it really be to wear these new precious shorts...?" Then, half way into your marathon the chafing is so severe you are wincing and dropping the f-bombs right and left. The shower you take later on that day will have you screaming like a little girl. Lesson learned.


A proud moment. Finished a half marathon with such bad
chafing, I had to take off my skirt and wear my race shirt as pants. Don't be me.

2. Eat/drink too much of the wrong food before a long run or race

One time I thought eating chicken wings and drinking a a few Bass Ales the night before my first half marathon was not a problem. Until it was a problem at mile ten the next day. Paying attention to how you fuel and hydrate is a huge component of how you will feel and how you will execute on race day.

3. Buy the coolest/hippest/most colorful pair of running shoes even if they aren't right for you

Yes, it is very tempting to get the cheaper shoes or the prettiest ones. Go ahead and see what happens. Then limp back into the running store and buy what you should have bought in the first place. Good shoes matter.

4. Run through pain

Denial is a positive force. We want to do what we want to do, so we test the limits. "Oh, this stabbing pain in my ass will pass. Running will make it go away!" Once I had a major pain in my foot, but thought I should go ahead and run the Boulder Backroads half marathon anyway. 2 hours and a few tears later I had to be carried to the car. The result? Stress fracture. I will not make a mistake like that again. The longer you run the more aware you become of your body. You realize what is normal muscle ache and fatigue and what is not right and potentially the start of an injury. Be smart.

Me and my friend the boot. Not fun. Don't be me.

5. Don't lock the porta potty door

During the Boston Marathon I stopped to take off my underwear (don't ask why, long story, see #6). This was a solo potty at an aid station and I thought surely it was obvious someone was inside. Nope. Right as I had my shorts off and was ditching the pants, some guy barged in. Yes, it is worth the extra 2 seconds it takes to secure the door (and don't ask me why I was wearing underwear anyway...)


6. Trust a fart

Come on. You know you've done it and it hasn't been a happy, clean ending. You just had to try it, right? Once you trust a fart and realize it has a chaser, you will never do it again.


7. Run too much too soon because you think you are invincible

This one happens to newer/beginner runners all the time, me included. You just want to do all the races!  You are a runner! You love running! You want to show the world! Then, BAM. You are burned out and/or injured. Over time you learn to not be greedy with your running. You get selective.

8. Go out too fast in a race

You are excited. You have been waiting for this day for months. The adrenaline is flowing. You know you should hold back, but you can't. The result? You burn out early. All those runners you passed early on are zipping by you. You are defeated. You knew better, but you did it anyway. Now, you get it.

Finish line of the Bolder Boulder 10K. Yes, I went out too fast and
hung my head in shame
9. Compare yourself to others

Give this one a try for awhile. See how long it takes you to feel like shit once you realize how many people are faster, stronger, prettier, fitter than you are. Relatively quickly you'll see that comparing yourself to anyone else reaps no benefits. Be the best YOU that you can be. We all have unique gifts, strengths and challenges. Come to peace with it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I like to think that the mistakes I've made not just as a runner, but in life, have made me resilient and  want to fight back. Knock me down and I will try to stand back up (and punch you). In this day and age of chasing perfection as we are bombarded by social media, I say go SCREW UP. Do it often because it means you are trying. But, ultimately, make sure you learn from your mistakes.

What is a running mistake you have made and learned from?

SUAR

34 comments:

  1. The Pie Shart is brilliant! I laughed so hard tears were running down my leg!

    I think I've done all the above. More than once. :D

    ReplyDelete
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  2. one time before I thought eating chicken and vegetables sounded like a fantastic idea. Needless to say I almost didn't make it to the restroom. Those shrubs along the course looked like they needed some fertilizer!

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  3. At my half marathon this past weekend, I passed a guy who was stopped at the aid station, vaselining his crotch. Because he wore stupid shorts that were completely shredded between his legs...

    All I could think about was how painful his shower was going to be!

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  4. Oh lord, #7 and #8. I did both one year--trained beyond my capacity, injured myself (runners knee), healed, and then went hell for leather out the starting gate in a race that was essentially going up a hill for the first half and back down it for the second. I ended up with a flare up of the runners knee and IT band syndrome in both legs. FYI, runners knee hurts when going up stairs and ITBS hurts when going down stairs. Guess whose apartment was on the second floor? I spent the next week scooting up and down those stairs on my butt, but I totally learned my lesson!

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  5. I repeatedly do #9 seeing everyone's long and fast runs and long and fast swims and long bike rides on Instagram and Facebook. Makes me feel very defeated and why do I do this.

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  6. #4 & #7. I'm signed up for a roller coaster of a half, so I went gung-ho on the hill training -- too much, too fast -- and woke up the next morning with pain in my heel / achilles / ankle / peroneal tendon (#7). I have a history of running through pain (#4) instead of healing or resting, but with the race just a month away, I was forced to rest instead of risk further injury -- and I'm glad I did. I'm back on track, thanks to RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation).

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  7. I have made the mistake of being too stubborn to take rest days, wear shoes that are wrong for me, etc, etc. Since I am a runner, I must know everything about running, especially my running. And not running isn't an option. I am just dumb sometimes.

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  8. Hard to think of anything you didn't already cover. Ran a marathon after training only 3 miles per day. I learned something from that. You have to lose to learn how to win.

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  9. During every marathon training cycle, I indulge the night before a 20 miler. One year it was Ribtoberfest (ribs, bbq and beer) and this past fall, it as Oktoberfest at a brewery. Spending 20 miles hating yourself really really sucks! Great post! -C

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  10. All of these are great, totally failed #7 last year (no serious harm done but I was running very little for 6 weeks due to some weird foot pain).

    Another running mistake: Think you can run a marathon without taking on any calories during the race. Never. Again.

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  11. my birthday was 2 weeks before my first half and my husband surprised me with a mani/pedi. Didn't think about why I had callouses until after my next long run - blisters galore. Ended up "reconstructing" my callouses using bunion pads, moleskin and a wide assortment of bandaids on raceday. I finished but it wasn't pretty! Now I embrace my ugly feet as a sign of pride :)

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  12. OKAY...I just LOVE your blunt honesty and the fact you are TOTALLY REAL... thanks girlfriend!!

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  13. Love these! Nothing says "race stress" like not knowing how to properly operate your watch! Or what data fields are showing on the screens.

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  14. Done all of these, and I have 75 marathons and Ultras under my belt. The latest stupid thing was 3 weeks ago, jumping into a 1/2 marathon that provided only one water stop with only water,,, and forgetting to bring gels. I crashed and burned.

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  15. I've made the mistake of eating the wrong food before a race. It was a horrible race!

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  16. Another variant to chafing cloths, too warm on an event. I probably had excessive dehydration because I overheated. Lesson learned: double check if you packed that short. Running in winter longpants in the sun for 2 hours was no fun in the end and I cramped up on almost all muscles in my feet and legs on the last 5 km. It still hurts after 4 days.

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  17. Ohhhh number 9. How I strive to meet thee.

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  18. I trained on the wrong surface. We were running 3-4 x week, but our long run was always mostly dirt-we did 1 mile to the park and 1 mile home on pavement but the rest were all single track dirt. Then our half marathon was on pavement. Hello ruptured plantar fascia at mile 11 just from not being used to doing more than 6 of our miles on pavement. Whoops!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Guilty of #3 right now, and I have the shin splints to show for it.

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  20. re: your #4.

    The scenery in your town sucks.

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  21. At my first half marathon I heard the announcer tell the marathoners to line up in one spot and the 5 and 10 k runners to line up in another spot, so for motivation I decided to watch the marathoners take off while I waited for my turn. I realized about 10 minutes later after the runners were all off, that there was virtually NO ONE left around me and that the half marathon had started in the same spot at the same time as the marathon.

    So I watched my own race take off and started it late. I was jet lagged and had been to a late concert the night before. Thank goodness for chip timing.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I thought of another, kind of related to #4: not letting an arch blister heal. I made that mistake last summer -- it just started to heal and look good, and I ran 8 miles. Set me back more than a week. I'll only make that mistake once... and hopefully the arch blister I have now will heal fully by Saturday!

    ReplyDelete
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  24. Oh, I thought of another mistake to make once (this is an easy one for guys to forget about), thanks to my long training run on Saturday: I forgot to wear a compression tank-top under my shirt. Luckily I didn't end up with bloody nipples at the end of my 13.6 mile run, but... OUCH!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Another one: forget to charge your Garmin or even worse ...iPod :) I started my first marathon with beep beep beep ... low battery. I knew that if I touched it, it would switch off so I was stuck with one playlist for the whole race.

    ReplyDelete
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