Key mistakes made by runners that cause poor performance and injury


“ It takes no more time to do the right training as the wrong training”.

I find it incredibly frustrating when I see runners of any level not getting the results they should from the effort they put into their training. There are two typical scenarios I’ll explain here where this occurs:

1. Pushing yourself hard and being frustrated by results.

You feel you worked really hard and have pushed yourself and not gotten the result you should. You leave the race thinking that there should have been a greater result based on your training and effort.

2. You breakdown with injury or just general aches and stiffness and can’t get as much out of the race as you would have liked.

The second scenario where runners do not getting the results they should is where their body starts to break down in the weeks leading up to the key race. Stiffness and aches gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) lead to pain and injury. We have all seen the runner taped up more than an Egyptian Mummy as they struggle to get round the course. Rather than being able to enjoy the race and focus on a good result they are left worried they might not be able to finish or hurt themselves seriously.

For both types of runner it is a case of what might have been and the sad thing is that generally it is avoidable.

Why does this occur?

If you relate to the first scenario of not getting the result you should then this is generally due to not having a specific training plan that suited you. You are generally running too hard and not aware of the 5 training zones that you should be training in to get the maximum out of yourself.

Think about it like a car. If you wanted to make a car as efficient as possible in 4th gear, you would not constantly drive it in 1st or 6th gear. Sadly, this is what a lot of us do in our training. We do not train the correct system we will use in a race.

3. For those that get injured or break down.

For the second type who break down and get injured you must work on two main issues. The first is that generally there is not enough variety in your training. You tend to do the same pace for every run, only changing up the distance. This tends to put a lot of pressure on the same parts of the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, knee, hip or back. This is especially the case as people build up to a marathon where they increase the amount of distance they are doing.

Secondly, for most people, especially as we get a little older, we need something to help take the pressure off our muscular system. Running is great for cardiovascular fitness but is not good to turn on or use the muscles.


Hopefully most runners are getting the results they want and are delighted with results when they finish. If you are not one of these, think about these two issues I have raised in this article. Maybe there is something you can do to help yourself get more out of the time and effort you put into your running. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing someone not get the results they should or break down injured. Especially when it a lot of times is avoidable.


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