As I look back on over 14 years of competitive running, I would change a lot about my past training. I've made a lot of mistakes—silly decisions that resulted in overuse injuries, poor races and wasted time.
Alas, hindsight is 20/20. Most of my injuries are because of impatience and carelessness.
But today, injury prevention is a top goal. I haven't had a major injury in nearly four years, and my annual mileage is higher than it's ever been.
I want you to learn from my mistakes so you can be the best runner possible. Here are five major lessons I've learned that I wish I knew when I started running.
Running Success Takes Time?
?a lot of time. One top coach tells his elite runners that it takes about three years for them to see their true potential. That time is in addition to their high school and college running years, so it's actually about 10 years! Distance running success comes with consistency and gradual, persistent training.
Dramatic increases in mileage or intensity almost always lead to injury. Don't disregard the basics of gradual training. Be patient and understand that modest increases in volume over a long period of time will lead to improvement over the long term. There are no shortcuts in distance running.
Don't "Just" Run
You need to run to be fast, of course, but a strong heart and powerful lungs are only part of the puzzle. If you skip core exercises, warm-up drills and the weight room entirely, you're making a big mistake.
Being a well-rounded, coordinated runner helps prevent injuries and promotes a more efficient running stride, which are necessities of long-term, consistent training. Your body is a system, and ignoring the other components of athleticism will usually result in an overuse injury, like having IT band pain or tendinitis.
Ditch Those Bulky Trainers
Wearing thick motion control shoes without ever letting your foot operate in a more neutral fashion can lead to more overuse injuries. In fact, wearing a little less shoe and being strategic about minimalist running can dramatically help your running.