Training Mistakes Runners Should Avoid

Training Mistakes Runners Should Avoid | happyfitmama.com

Looking back at my training over the years, I do a lot of cringing.

As in, insert forehead slap, “What was I thinking?!”

Name any single mistake – not practicing fueling during training, running the same paces for every run, wearing the wrong shoes for my gait, skipping on strength training, I’ve done them all. I’d like to think I’m getting wiser the more I run, that I’m learning from my past mistakes. But I’m a stubborn runner. Sometimes it takes a failure or five, for me to have an AHA! moment.

Here are three mistakes that I think I’ve finally kicked.

Running through an injury

You’re out on a glorious run when out of the blue, your knee starts to ache. You think it’ll go away and try to run through it. It doesn’t go away and is still there two days later but you still keep running, hoping it will magically disappear. I can’t even count on one hand how many times I’ve done this. It’s stupid and I know it.

Five years ago, I was aiming for a PR in the half marathon. My mileage was higher than ever. Training was good. I was feeling strong except for a nagging tendon injury in my ankle/foot that would not go away completely. I could run, it wasn’t painful, but it was noticeable. Looking back, I should have forgot about that particular half marathon. I needed time off from running to fully heal. There would be other races to run. But I didn’t listen. I ran the race and tanked 3 miles in.

I’ve learned that I need to listen to my body more. I’m a work in progress but I think I’m getting better. When I noticed my Achilles was thickened, I stopped running, rest it for a week and consulted a friend who is a physical therapist.  I missed running but it wasn’t the end of the world to lay off.  Since I reduced my mileage and was proactive, my Achilles did not progress anymore and feels better than ever. If I would have kept my mileage up and waited for it to start hurting, who knows what state it would be in now.

Training Mistakes Runners Should Avoid | happyfitmama.com

Not Training My Mind

I can be my own worst enemy. When things get tough, my mind instantly turns to negative thoughts. I can’t becomes my mantra. In the same half marathon I mentioned above, I think one of the main reasons I tanked at mile 3 was from negative thoughts. I was so worried beforehand that my tendon injury was going to prevent me from reaching my goal. Worry leads to self sabotage. I felt one little twinge and spiraled out of control with negativity. By mile 6 I was ready to walk off the course.

I’ve learned that running is at least 90% mental. My mind needs to be trained just as much as my muscles and cardiorespiratory system. When negative thoughts creep in, I now replace it with a positive. Even a simple “I CAN!” shifts my outlook and effort. It’s worked well for races when I absolutely felt defeated but again, it’s something that I need to practice often.

Training Mistakes Runners Should Avoid | happyfitmama.com

Keeping Up with The Joneses (or Kardashians if you can stomach watching that show)

It’s no secret that I love social media.  I mean, I wouldn’t be blogging and sharing things on Instagram or Facebook daily if I didn’t. It’s a great way to connect with like minded runners. But it does have its drawbacks.  I’m sure you’ve seen runners sharing their paces and mileage.  I’ve been shocked to see some of the numbers especially when it’s a runner who I think I’m comparable to.  If she runs that pace, why can’t I?  Some runners seem to be running blazing fast speeds no matter if it’s an easy day or a speed workout. If it works for them, it should work for you, right?  Wrong.  Stay in your own lane.  First of all – just because it’s on social media, doesn’t mean it’s true.  Second of all – that runner will probably be injured soon so don’t follow their lead. Stop trying to keep up other runners.  You do your own thing.

Training Mistakes Runners Should Avoid | happyfitmama.com

I’m not a perfect runner.  I make mistakes just like everyone else.  However, with every mistake, there is a learning opportunity. Sometimes, I get the mistake right away and change my ways.  Other times, it take a few dozen times. The more I learn from my mistakes, the better runner I become. And that’s something we should all strive for!

What training mistakes are you guilty of?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.

Last Week’s Workouts

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Last week’s workouts were a roller coaster.

Not because of the actual workouts but because of the weather.  We went from snow, sub zero wind chills to rain and 50 degrees, back to normal winter temps in the 20s.  All the snow we got last weekend?  Completely gone with only sheer ice left.

What gives, Mother Nature?

Monday

After staying up way past my bedtime Sunday night to watch the Patriots game, I opted for a home workout rather than the gym.  It gave me an extra 30 minutes of sleep which is better than nothing.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Tuesday

3 mile Snowshoe run/walk, 15:25 avg/pace

It was so cold Tuesday morning that I couldn’t fathom going out for a run early in the a.m. And then my kids had a two hour delay because of sub-zero wind chills.  After appointments and some other commitments, I was finally able to get out for a run.  I went back and forth between a road run and a snowshoe run on the trails.

I chose the trail because the trees would block the wind and I had not been out for a snowshoe run yet this winter.

Snowshoe running always seems like a good idea until you start to do it.  Then it’s like, “What was I thinking?!?!”

Snowshoe running on a groomed trail is great.  Snowshoe running making your own trail on snow that has cross country ski tracks and a crust from freezing rain, is just brutal.  I ran some. I walked some.  It wasn’t pretty but I got some miles done. Besides the woods were so pretty in a blanket of snow and the sun shining down.

Snowshoe running – I love you when I’m done! 🙂

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Wednesday

Back to the gym! With my Achilles feeling better, I’m slowly upping my Stepmill game in anticipation of all the mountain races I hope to do this spring/summer. After the summer, I laid off hills and I can tell.  Hills that I felt strong on are now causing me to suck wind.  Time to get back on it!

20 minutes Arc Trainer

10 minutes Stepmill w/ 1 min hard/1 min recovery

strength training:

bench press

half kneeling anti-rotation cable chop

cable squat row

SL bench squat

lunge matrix

KB overhead march

SL KB dead lift

banded pull ups

eccentric pull ups

TRX pike planks

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Thursday

5 mile run, 9:37 avg/pace

Wednesday night I checked my weather app for Thursday’s morning run.  It said rain and 43 degrees.  Keep in mind two days ago, it was in the single digits with sub-zero wind chills.  I set out shorts because…43 degrees in January is H-O-T!

I woke up to the sound of rain pinging off the windows.  I checked my app again and saw 36 degrees. Not the day for shorts.  Womp, womp, womp.

I knew it was going to be a super sloppy run because of the snow melt, rain and probably icy. I slipped on my water resistant Saucony Peregrine trail shoes for a little traction and maybe a little dryness. It helped a bit but Jen and I spent most of the run skating and taking baby steps out of fear of black ice.  Not necessarily the best day for a run but we got out there and it felt good.

Last week's workouts } happyfitmama.com

Later on in the day I had PT.  Matt had me do some plyometric work on the Plyo Sled Rebounder.  It was the first time I’ve ever used one and now I must have one for home.  It was so fun and a great way to get some plyo work in without as much impact.

Friday

20 minutes Elliptical

12 minutes Stepmill alternating 1 min side steps

strength training:

cable crossover

banded pull ups

eccentric pull ups

ball slams

I then did a modified version of a mountain legs ladder that one of the RD’s from Loon Mountain Race shared.  My legs and glutes were toast even though I do most of these exercises weekly.  And the DOMS was for real.  I haven’t been that sore in quite some time.  You’ll be seeing this workout A LOT!

barbell squat (20 reps)

side lunge touch w/ balance (10/side)

barbell squat (15)

reverse lunge to SL stand (10/side)

barbell squat (12)

walking lunge w/ med ball Russian twist (10/side)

barbell squat (10)

speed skaters (10/side)

barbell squat (8)

bench split squat (10/side

Saturday

8 mile run, 8:57 avg/pace, 379 ft elev gain

Unless I’m meeting someone, my weekend runs are becoming later and later.  It’s funny that there was a time when I would get up before dawn even on the weekends for a run.  Now, I’m loving the laziness of sleeping till I wake up, eating breakfast and relaxing with the fam before heading out.  If I don’t have to run during the coldest, darkest part of the day, I’m not going to.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my driving and texting rant.  With running later in the day, there’s more traffic.  That also means I can see every single person who is not paying attention to the road.  In a span of 1 hour, I saw 15 people looking at their phone rather than the road and more importantly ME on the side of the road.  I even had one woman look right at me and then proceed to look down at her phone even before she passed me.  Wtf people?!?!?  All it takes is a millisecond for something to happen.  It’s not worth the risk!

Sunday

Snowboard day!

It was the perfect day for skiing and riding temperature wise, but by mid day the snow had been skied off and there was a lot of ice.  If one thing I’ve learned since living in the Northeast is that there always ice.  Always. I took a nasty fall when my board slipped out from underneath me while cutting into mountain.  My knees look like I had a run in with Tonya Harding.  C’mon Mother Nature – bring us the snow!

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

How was your week in workouts?

Linking up with Hoho and Wendy for the weekly workout wrap up.

Winter Running Essentials

WInter Running Essentials | happyfitmama.com

Every year since I started blogging 7 years ago, I’ve shared my winter running essentials.  As someone who lives in a climate that sees winter weather for at least 5-6 months out of the year, I’ve got some experience in what works and what does not.

That’s not to say that I have all the winter running knowledge.  When it’s early in the season, I’m always trying to remember what to wear for below zero, single digits, teens, 20s and 30s. The last thing you want to do with winter running is over dress.  It’s like that golden rule of wearing jewelry – before you leave the house, take off one layer. In winter running, you really don’t want to sweat it!

I get a lot of questions about what to wear for winter running.

How do I stay warm but not hot? How can I keep my hands warm? Do I need different shoes? What are the essentials?

Way back in the day, I would wear layers of cotton sweats, sweatshirts and whatever socks/shoes I had available. I usually overheated at first and then froze because my clothes were soaked as soon as I started to sweat.

Back then, I was only running a few miles at a time, so it worked. It wasn’t ideal but it got me out the door and running.

Every person is different when it comes to the cold. Your comfort level depends on many factors, including how fast you’re running, how you tolerate cold, and how long your run is, so your perfect winter outfit may be different than mine.

Here are my winter running essentials.

Shoes: Unless I’m running in a snowstorm or soon afterwards, the roads in my area tend to be clear of snow. There may be spots of slush, puddles or ice, but generally it’s no different than running any other time of the year. If I am running in snow, I’ll wear a pair of trail shoes for a bit more traction.  I shared all of my favorite options for what to wear for shoes last year – from Yak-Trak, Microspikes, Screw Shoes and Snowshoes.  There’s something for every type of wintry precipitation.

Winter Running Essentials | happyfitmama.com

Socks: I always reach for thicker socks when the temps dip below 30 degrees.  My go-to brand is Darn Tough (affiliate link). I have specific running socks but on really cold days I’ll wear my snowboard socks that go up to my knee.  They are made from merino wool with no itchiness.  Smart Wool is another favorite but I find they don’t last as long as Darn Tough.

Tights: I usually prefer to have less on my legs no matter what the temperature.  However, when the windchill is sub zero and the temp is single digits, I need another layer.  I have never worn fleece lined tights out of fear of overheating.  Instead, I prefer a thicker material that at least provides wind protection. Some of my favorite brands are Saucony, Athleta and Janji. If the temp is closer to single digits or there’s a windchill, I will wear another layer under my tights – compression boy shorts or capris.  Another option is to wear a running skirt over tights.  That way you have three layers – tights, boy shorts, and skirt.  My butt usually gets very, very cold in the single digits.  That’s when I add more layers.

Winter Running Essentials | happyfitmama.com

 

 

First layer: A long sleeve, 1/2 zip, tech top, preferably with thumbholes is what I always reach for. I like to have something up around my neck for more warmth at the beginning. As I warm up, I can unzip to allow more air flow if needed.

Outer layer/Jacket/Vest: A good, waterproof and windproof jacket is essential if you are running in any kind of precipitation or low temps. Your first layer will stay dry, therefore, you will be able to stay warm. I have different levels of jackets that I rotate through depending on the temperature.

A thinner jacket can protect from wind and rain/snow.

A heavier jacket adds an extra layer when the temps dip in the teens and single digits. My go to jacket for when it’s bone chilling single digit temps is no longer available from Saucony. The other two are the Sonic Reflex for it’s awesome reflectivity and wind/water resistance and the Razor.

A good alternative is a vest if you don’t mind your arms being exposed. I recently bought a vest from the Columbia outlet that probably wasn’t made with running in mind but it works on really cold days.  It isn’t bulky but it provides enough warmth and is breathable.

Winter Running Essentials |happyfitmama.com

Mittens: My hands being too cold is my number one complaint with winter running. Mittens definitely work better than gloves to keep the whole hand together rather than fingers separate. I’ve never been officially diagnosed but I have the tell tale signs of Raynaud’s.  I’ve mentioned it numerous times, but Saucony Run Mitts have been a life saver. So far, the lowest temp I’ve run with them is 6 degrees with no cold fingers. They’ve been a game changer. Adding hand warmers to your mittens is another option that is sure to keep you toasty.

Hat/Headband: I usually prefer a hat over a headband but I received a Skida (affiliate link) headband as a Christmas gift and have been converted. Hats and headbands should be made of lightweight technical fabrics to trap just the right amount of heat, but still keep your head dry.

Winter Running Essentials | happyfitmama.com

Other accessories: A neck gaiter (affiliate link) or Buff is great for keeping your neck warm but can be pulled over your mouth on really frigid days to help with your breathing. When your mouth is covered, the air is warmed rather than taking in cold air. Another option is a Balaclava (affiliate link). I love the all in one ease so you can pull it up high over your nose with no gaps to let cold air in on your neck.  Bonus points that it makes you feel like a Ninja.

Attitude: I think the biggest accessory for winter running is your attitude.  If you go in thinking it’s going to be ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, it  most likely will.  But if you go with an open mind realizing that the hardest part is getting out the door, you’ll forget how cold it is once your body starts moving.

Winter Running Essentials | happyfitmama.com

And if you hop on the treadmill every once and awhile because you just can’t put on ALL the layers and feel like a Popsicle AGAIN, no worries. I’ll probably do the very same thing. There’s no shame in the treadmill in the game.

What are your winter running essentials?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.