I work with and meet hundreds of runners every year. During the Bellin Run training runs I get a lot of questions that refer to training mistakes.  My goal and mission is to make sure people have fun while training for the Bellin Run and can get to race day injury free and in the best shape that they can be.  In order for this to happen a person’s training must be geared toward their fitness level and ability.  So that is where we will start the list.

MISTAKE #1:  Setting an Unobtainable Goal.  I see this a lot, a person wants to run “under an hour” but they have not assessed their current fitness level to see if this is a good and accurate goal. It might be too fast of a time and therefore lead to frustration and potential burnout and injury in training.  The goal might be too easy and in this case you are left with the feeling of how much faster could I have gone?  To avoid this common mistake ask a running coach for help or use a “race predictor” calculator that can convert any race or time trial into a predicted finish time for another race.

MISTAKE #2:   Not Following a Training Program.  Unless you have been running for years, get a good program and stick to it. I have to tell people all the time “you know that program only works if you do what it says.”  The Bellin Run offers a great program that will get you to the finish line.  If you are looking to improve on your time we have personalized programs for that too.  It is much easier to reach your goals when you have a plan to follow.

MISTAKE#3: Running Through Injuries.  This might come as a surprise but running injuries are usually caused by…RUNNING! If you are in pain and it lasts for more than a week or if it gets worse even after resting, you need to consult a medical professional.  Bellin has a great team of physicians, physical therapists, athletic and personal trainers that are runners and know runners.  Running through an injury usually leads to it getting worse, which cuts down on your quality of training and leads to a longer time away from training.  Get help fast, you won’t regret that decision.

MISTAKE #4:  Running as Fast as Possible Every Training Run.  The first thing that I have to tell 90% of the runners that I train or access is “SLOW DOWN”.  The simply philosophy is this, “keep your hard days hard and your easy days easy”.  Runners tend to think faster must always be better but the body doesn’t respond well to this type of “race every day” training.  You end up in what we call the black hole of training.  This is when your run wasn’t fast enough to improve speed or stamina but it wasn’t slow enough to be an easy day either.  Your fast interval days should be about 15 seconds faster than your 10K race pace.  A tempo run should be about 10-15 seconds slower than race pace.  An easy run should be 1:30 minutes or more, slower than race pace.  Interval training should only be 8-10% of your total weekly mileage and tempo or threshold runs should only be 10-12%.  So only 20% of your week should be run at a very intense level the rest should be slow and easy.

MISTAKE #5:  Comparing Yourself to Other Runners.  Every runner is unique in more than one way. The beauty of our sport is that we can test ourselves without the need of others.  Be proud of what you have accomplished and the journey that it took for you to get there.  Some runners try to compete with someone that is too far out of there league and it leads to poor results and frustration.  Heck, I would love to run side by side with Meb but I would be lucky to last the first mile and he wouldn’t have broken a sweat yet.  Trust in your training and the results will come but don’t overshoot your current fitness level because you want to be like someone else.


Always Running

Nate Vandervest

Running Coach, CSCS, CES

Nate is a running coach and strength coach at Bellin Health and specializes in running assessments, strength training and personalized running programs. For more information contact Nathan.Vandervest@bellin.org