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Do You Make These Running Mistakes? (they cost me years of improvement…)

Everything changed when it dawned on me that I’m a runner. It was my first track season and I LOVED everything about running:

  • My teammates were hilarious and pushed me to run faster
  • I liked seeing tangible, objective improvement (I had a hard time seeing this in basketball)
  • My coach was funny, too – but he expected us to work harder than anybody else in the conference

Once I realized that I wasn’t a basketball player anymore, I embraced being a runner. I loved the community, the sport, and how it made me feel.

And yes, even the ridiculous shorts:

These aren’t shorts I bought when I was a high schooler – these are shorts I bought a week ago!

Let’s face it: runners are a little weird. The black toenails, headlamps, snot rockets, getting up at 3am to run 26.2 miles…

And I absolutely LOVE all these weird habits and idiosyncracies of our running community. It’s what bonds us together. We always have great running stories to share with each other.

When I finally embraced being part of the running community – instead of thinking of running as something I just do after school – it changed my life.

I met more runners and made more friends. My motivation increased. I felt like I had met “my people.”

Running is a lot easier when you’re surrounded by positive, like-minded people who support your goals. Instead of struggling out the door for a tough run, you’re encouraged to train smart by runners who completely understand what you’re going through.

Like Jim Rohn said,

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

This year, we’re talking about your Team – the support network that encourages you to reach all of your goals.

This topic is resonating with so many of you (my inbox is flooded!). We want to run faster and be supported by a great group of motivated teammates.

And I’ve shown you it’s possible. I coached Marlon to a 575km, 12-day stage race finish in the United Arab Emirates. But he’s not the only one:

Carol told me:

Usually I’m fretting about stuff and trying to google articles and often end up more confused than where I started. It’s been fantastic having you give me direction! Having a plan done for me has made a world of difference.”

And Kevin said:

It’s rather shocking how far I’ve come already. If you told me that I was going to be exceeding 60km in a week, I would have thought you were crazy! A big part of it is the consistency I’ve been able to establish.

I also weighed myself and I’m 160 lbs – over 20 pounds below where I was before. I’d like to thank you for all your help and advice – I’d be nowhere near where I am today if I was doing this by myself!

But it’s not necessarily easy.

Today we’re going to look at some of the biggest misconceptions I had when I was a new runner – and how you can learn from them.

Let’s start with the most important:

Mistake #1: “I just need to run faster”

Like many new runners will understand, running a personal best is exhilarating. The feeling of running faster than ever before is unmatched.

But my sophomore year in high school I hit a plateau. I wasn’t improving and I wanted to keep setting PR’s in every race.

So I went to Let’s Run’s message boards for advice and saw pearls of wisdom like these:

  • “Do 10 x 400m with 60-second rest”
  • “You need to run 70-80 miles per week”
  • “It’s ok to run 5 x 150m in spikes when your calves are sore”

Can you imagine if I listened to these random internet people? They didn’t understand my fitness level, running background, age, and goals – and this advice would likely leave me overtrained or injured.

I’ve learned this lesson over and over again since I started running in 1998. Smart training doesn’t mean you constantly strive for faster intervals, faster runs, and more frequent workouts.

Smart training is more strategic and long-term.

But too often, runners who aren’t sure what to do with their training turn to faster workouts. They try to do their runs at a faster pace per mile. And injuries and inconsistency inevitably happen.

If you want to race faster, you don’t necessarily need more speed work or faster speed work.

Key Insight #1: To race faster, you don’t always want to train faster.

Mistake #2: “I can do this on my own”

In college, I regularly didn’t listen to my coach. We often disagreed and today I know that I was completely wrong.

Instead of recognizing that my coach had decades of running and coaching experience, I would…

  • skip runs
  • ADD runs
  • run workouts too slow
  • run workouts too fast

Predictably, my race times stagnated and I struggled with chronic injuries. In hindsight, should I have been surprised?

After only six years of running, what the hell did I know? Barely anything!

You see, good coaches have perspective. They understand nuance and how workouts fit together, are ordered in a training season, and should be structured.

Smart training is like an elaborate orchestra. Playing your own notes on a different instrument will ruin the whole thing!

I didn’t understand that and wrongly believed I could change my training and see MORE improvement.

But all I saw were slower race times and injuries.

Even with 6+ years of running experience, I had a lot to learn. Getting as much knowledge from my team and coach by actually doing the recommended training should have been my top priority.

Key Insight #2: Listen to your coach. Successful coaches are successful because they’re good at what they do!

Join Me Next Week?

I won’t let my past mistakes be your mistakes.

Instead of believing these “myths” there’s a better way to run, succeed, and get faster.

With support and ongoing coaching guidance, you don’t have to wonder what to do. You can get out of your own head and finally start seeing improvement.

Not to mention, running will be a lot more fun! Imagine how it feels to know exactly what to do and have a group of awesome people to share your running stories with?

I’m excited to help you with that this year.

And that starts next week. On Monday, January 18 at 7pm Mountain (9pm Eastern) I’m hosting a live presentation on how to run faster in 2016.

Note: the presentation has concluded but to get on the notification list for Team Strength Running please sign up here.

Run Faster Webinar

You’ll learn:

  • The top 2 areas that new runners should focus on for massive improvement
  • The single biggest shift that will promote consistent PR’s – every year
  • How to get support to help you succeed with every race you run

All you need to do is register here and show up. I’ll show you how to increase your speed even if you’re struggling with injuries or unsure of how to train.

Can’t wait!

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt.