Training Mistakes Athletes Make in January

Training Mistakes Made in January

New Year Training Mistakes- Are you Making them?

Each year we all make new year’s resolutions in relation to health, lifestyle and work.

You may have stuck to those this year or they may be dwindling?

Often times life gets in the way and we miss a session here or there and panic sets in that we are not progressing towards the goals we had set out for ourselves.

This blog aims to look at some common new year’s training mistakes people make and how to avoid them. As February approaches, January training resolutions tend to fade away and we will explain why.

Training Mistakes made by Runners

  1. Not allowing enough time to achieve your goal.
  2. Not using Strength Training as part of your Routine.
  3. Doing Slow Runs too Fast
  4. Focusing too much on Stretching and Foam Rolling

The main aim with goal setting is to get new targets for yourself and to make it individual to you. Achieving these targets can be extremely rewarding and uplifting.

Not allowing enough time to achieve your goal.

A common training mistake in the new year is when people increase training volume and intensity too soon. You may have increased mileage too much or crammed too much running into a short space of time with little or no rest/ recovery days.

A large increase in long runs, adding extra runs to your plan and poor recovery are a big problem when we identify why runners get injured or not meeting their targeted running times.

TIP: To minimise the risk of injury, runners should limit their week on week training load to < 15%.

Not using Strength Training as part of your Routine.

There is an overall belief amongst runners that they don’t need to strength train.

Many times in the clinic I have been told by frequent runners that they are ‘‘strong enough, I get that from all the running I do’’.

The reality is these are the runners that tend to pick up more injuries over the year. Now this may be due to poor planning and doing too much too soon but strength plays a big part in this.

Strength training is designed to increase muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force. It is anaerobic in nature meaning that it is a great adjunct to your aerobic (running) training.

Benefits Of Strength Training for runners

2 reasons Runners tend to avoid Strength Training: 

  • Fear of bulking up: there is a common misconception that strength training will bulk them up and in turn affect running performance. In fact the opposite is true when we look at the research on concurrent training between running and strength. Research shows us that through strength training runners improve running economy (VO2 max) body composition (lean mass), strength, speed and overall a reduction in injuries across the runners who took part. Here is a nice article on a Runner’s Guide to Strength Training.
  • Lack of awareness of Strength Training benefit for Runners: Strength Training can help runners in the folllowin ways
  • Improved Running Economy
  • Improved muscular endurance ( avoid jelly legs)
  • Improved feeling of strength in legs during run
  • Overall improved performance
  • Better tolerance to interval training (anerobic training)

Doing Slow Runs too Fast

Running slow takes patience and discipline. The reality is that most recreational runners actually do too many hard or moderate pace runs. Running slow doesn’t come naturally to many runners and seems quite contradictory. Studies show us that the world’s top runners do 80% of their training at an easy pace or in other words a pace where they can easily hold a conversation.

  • Generally recreational runners tend to do one easy run for every hard run.
  •  In contrast, for every hard run, top level runners will run 4 easy runs.

The good news is that if you’re a recreational runner you can actually improve by slowing down. The key message here is that when you are doing your harder or longer runs that you make sure they are at higher intensities, approximately above 80% of your max heart rate.

Focusing too much on Stretching and Foam Rolling

Let’s be honest, people spend too much time stretching and foam rolling in an effort to stay injury free. Even when we use it as a recovery tool it still may not be the best option for us to recover after training. There are many better and more beneficial ways.

We are not saying that it is a bad thing and there are certainly times when we may benefit from stretching and foam rolling tight and sore muscles but we can spend our time better when we are ultimately looking to increase performance and reduce the risk of injury. These are:

Massage Therapy: this has been used for many years as a method to facilitate recovery in athletes and is an effective tool to help stay injury free. Some of the benefits of massage are:

  • Relieving muscle tension
  • Reducing muscle pain
  • Increasing local blood flow
  • Promote the delivery of oxygen and nutrients around the body
  • Increase flexibility

Cold Water Immersion Therapy: This is increasingly becoming a popular recovery protocol.

There are many benefits suggested for the use of water immersion therapy:

  • Reduce swelling
  • Reduction in delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS)
  • Decrease the perception of fatigue
  • Reduce muscle spasm and inflammation.

To learn more on Running Injuries click here. 

Read here on some important advice for athlete recovery.

Mistakes People make in the Gym in the New Year

As we all know, New Year means gyms packed with new members along with the regulars.

This can mean you don’t always have access to the weights or machines you want to use.

It can get confusing and without proper structure or just doing random gym workouts this can expose us to injury and frustration.

Here we will list some common mistakes people tend to make early in the year at the Gym.

  • Being impatient :  When we don’t set clearly defined goals for ourselves in the gym our sessions can become disjointed and we end up rushing the process leading to failure.

Everybody wants immediate results. Therefore, we end up taking shortcuts. The problem is these results don’t last.

  • Overthinking It: Start taking more action towards your goals instead of just talking about it. If you need help go and seek expert advice from a trainer, coach or your physio. When dealing with an injury that is holding you back, set out the reasons you want to get it fixed and what you will do when it is better.
  • Lack of consistency: People tend to set their new year’s resolutions too high. Then they feel like they have failed by February. Consistently setting smaller goals and working towards making progress rather than an end goal is more realistic for many people.

What should you do when Planning your Training?

  • Set smaller goals leading to larger goals
  • Be realistic with your time frames
  • Get professional advice on the injuries or weaknesses that are holding you back.
  • Take action and be consistent.

We recently wrote an article on How to Avoid Shoulder Pain in the Gym this January.

If you need help with an injury or athlete development we would be glad to help.

You can use this link to book online.

Conor Tierney

Lead Athletic Therapist

Kula Health