TIART: Common mistakes and cardinal sins of running

That is this week’s theme over at the Runners’ Lounge for Take it and Run Thursday. This month I have celebrated my one year anniversary of running; from Couch to 5k to a marathon. I have learned a lot in the past year, mostly things about myself that I have been trying to share piecemeal on this blog. I do have some general running wisdom, though, that I can share.

To be consistent with the theme I offer you a “sin” of running: running without variety.

I recognize that there are those among us who do this, and have for many years. So, we’ll call this is a venial sin, not a mortal one. But every time I hear someone say “I run [X # of miles] everyday,” my first reaction is “why?” or “how?” And I have often noticed that there is a “used to” in this sentence, usually followed by an explanation of how the person’s knees are now too bad to run or how they got burned out with their running regimen.

Running, to me, needs variety: different distances, different routes, different intensities. Running the same distance everyday at the same intensity level limits progression. And, running everyday can lead to overuse injuries or burnout. A running plan that varies the distances and intensity levels helps keep running interesting, helps us become better runners and avoid injury or burnout.

Part of that variety also includes not running everyday (or even most days) for many of us. I suggest supplementing running with cross-training. My personal workouts include running, weight lifting, plyometrics, swimming, elliptical trainer, hiking, and biking. Cross-training helps build overall fitness and strength, and importantly prevents common muscle imbalances that come from just running and that can lead to injury.

I hope this post is helpful. There are countless “do’s and don’ts” of running, but I have enjoyed running more and have run injury free thanks largely to the collective wisdom of the running-blogging community.