Spring has arrived in Missoula and the roads and surrounding trails are filled with runners. Most runners have created a tenta
tive 2017 race schedule and motivation levels are high. Choosing the correct training plan, however, will likely determine your racing success over the next nine months. Whether you are participating in Run Wild Missoula’s Missoula Marathon Training Program, the Runner’s Edge Trail Running Class, utilize a running coach, or follow an online training plan, remember to avoid these five common training errors to increase your racing success.

1. Rapid Increase in Running Miles
A cold and snowy winter made winter running difficult in Missoula. A rapid increase in running mileage, however, is a fast track to developing a spring running injury. A 10% increase in weekly mileage is a tested rule of thumb to be followed. When mileage is increased too rapidly, fatigue sets in, running form is compromised, and injury risk increases. Log your running mileage and peel off from the group run if you are exceeding your 10% weekly running mileage.

2. Lack of Flexibility in Weekly Training Plan
Runners are inherently goal-oriented individuals. Therefore, successfully completing your weekly training schedule brings a sense of accomplishment. Experiencing an off day is a normal occurrence which should not be ignored. Fatigue, stress, poor sleep patterns, poor nutrition, and overtraining all contribute to having an off training day. If your body is not responding, modify your daily workout without guilt. If you missed a week of training due to prior commitments or illness, avoid the temptation to jump back in with the group. Allow room in your training plan for flexibility and your body will reward you with improved performance.

3. Ignoring Your Body’s Warning Signs
Most running injuries are related to overuse. Overuse, however, can be the result of overtraining, or a lack of strength necessary to run without compensations. If pain persists for more than 48 hours, seek medical attention which includes evaluating running biomechanics and determining the underlying cause of pain.

4. Running and Racing Injured
Although common sense tells us not run or race while injured, saying no is often the most difficult decision for a competitive runner. Race entry fees, travel plans, and sharing the race experience with friends and family are among the reasons many run and race injured. Rarely is the outcome positive and running or racing while injured only prolongs symptom resolution. A basic test is the 30-second hop test. If you can hop on a single (injured) leg without pain for 30-seconds, then initiating a return to running program is indicated. If you experience pain, then you are still injured and should rest, and work on strengthening any underlying weaknesses responsible for pain symptoms.

5. Neglecting Self Care 
Self care includes adequate sleep, proper nutrition, adequate rest days, rolling or massage, and strength training. Schedule self care into your weekly training plan. Contact Sapphire Physical Therapy for assistance in creating a strength training program and recovery routine to insure adequate stabilization and recovery necessary to run injury-free.
John Fiore, PT
Sapphire Physical Therapy

Picture taken from Google images