Even if you’ve been a runner for decades, there’s still a chance you’re making some very common training mistakes. The next time you hit the roads, track, or treadmill don’t let a misinformed running buddy or your own stubbornness negatively affect your training. Read on to discover the top five running mistakes—and how to fix them!
Too many miles, too soon. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new training plan and pile on the miles. Before you know it, your shins are aching, that old hamstring injury is flaring up, and you’re feeling fatigued. The most common guideline for increasing mileage is the 10 percent rule. For example, if you’re currently running 25 miles per week, don’t add more than 2.5 the next week (for a total of 27.5 miles). And if you’re going to be increasing mileage, hold off on the speed work. To play it safe, you should choose to add either miles or speed. Not both!
Wearing worn out shoes (or the wrong kind). If you’re a newbie to running, you may think that your old pair of Nike gym shoes will suffice, but that’s just asking for injury. If you’re wearing shoes that are intended for basketball, tennis, or simply for fashion your feet won’t be getting the proper cushioning and support needed for running. And even if you are wearing proper training shoes, check the bottom—if the tread is worn out, it’s time to buy a new pair! I try to replace my shoes every 400-500 miles.
Running too fast on easy days. Back in college I was convinced that I needed to run at least eight minutes per mile even on recovery days, but I found myself struggling to maintain the pace and feeling sluggish during workouts and races. Now, I usually ignore my watch on easy runs and gauge my pace by feel. Easy days are meant to be easy, but this can be a hard rule for a competitive runner to follow. If you find yourself speeding up during recovery runs, make an effort to run with someone who is slower than you or force yourself to take walking breaks every mile or so. The conscious act of stopping will help reign in your pace.
Not fueling properly after workouts. No matter how jam-packed your schedule is or what your weight goals are, it’s vital to get some food and fluid in your system within thirty minutes of finishing a workout. There are lots of great articles on Runner’s World  and Running Times  sites about nutrition for optimal recovery. Read and learn!
Not being flexible with your training schedule. You might pride yourself on doing workouts despite being sleep-deprived or sick, but you could be doing more harm than good. If you’re feeling sluggish or if your work schedule throws you a curveball, don’t be afraid to make some alterations to your running plan. If a Sunday eighteen-miler just isn’t going to happen you can split the run up—run eight miles on Sunday and ten miles on Monday. You’ll gain similar benefits from a more manageable workout. And if you have any aches or pains—try subbing in a spinning class or some elliptical time for your usual run.