Top 5 Training Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them
Training, and especially if you are doing it with the ultimate goal of competing, is something that is quite unique to every individual. That's why anyone you talk to will swear by one technique, coaches have different philosophies, and there are a never ending supply of resource books and tell all's explaining why 'their method' is the best one. The truth is that not everything works the same for each person; that is evident in that an entire team or group could be doing the exact same workouts but there are always going to be those that are 'better.' This isn't only due to the training method, as genetics and other factors most definitely play a role, but there is a truth in stating that what works for one person may not for another.

However, while there are an array of various fitness programs and routines there is still a common line of thought on the general way to improve and stay headed towards your goals. Such as you have to continually be pushing yourself with faster times or heavier weights, you need to address both anaerobic and aerobic fitness capacities, and you do need adequate amounts of rest for your body to restore itself and come back stronger. That last one is up for perhaps one of the biggest points of controversy with some people professing the less is more approach and others that would never cut back unless something short of their entire body being in a cast occurred. But even those with the latter mentality will usually have at least days that are easier preceding a strenuous workout.

When it comes to the top fitness and workout mistakes that people make, here are five of them and ways you can avoid them.

1) Blending your hard and easy days.
This happens when you aren't taking your easy days at a pace that is in line with what the purpose of the workout or run is. For long distance running training after a tough workout you'll do an easy run that is still going to maintain your aerobic fitness and keep your mileage up but at the same time you are running at an effort that isn't nearly as taxing as the workouts are so that you are able to recover. What lots of runners fall victim to, I myself have and even professionals sometimes still do too, is that they go too hard on the easy days and then come their workout days they aren't as sharp as they want to be. If you're feel flat on your hard days it could be because you just need to back off on the easy days. If you are blending your easy and hard days there eventually becomes a point where there is not enough distinction between the two and you can't really 'pound out' those tough workouts that are best going to improve your fitness level and ultimately performance.

2) Skimping on that warm-up. Some people either don't like to do a full warm-up because they say they don't have time, others think it will only tire them out, and still other are just too lazy. But whatever the reason is not getting in a proper warm-up is going to impede your performance both in workouts and races. The body works best when it gradually gets into the motion of things and if you jump into a workout with cold muscles you are not only going to be setting yourself up for an injury but you won't be able to hit as fast of times if you had warmed-up. You want to do between 10 and 15 minutes of easy running to get loose and into the groove of things and then do some drills and strides that are going to focus on a faster turn over. You then will be able to go into your workout ready to go; the faster paces will feel easier and in turn your splits and times will be better.

3) Skipping the cool down. So you've done the whole warm-up thing and after the workout you're so beat that you don't feel like taking another step. Even if you are only plodding along on the cool down you need to do it because after an intense effort you've built up plenty of lactic acid in your muscles and if you don't flush that out it will sit there and act like the poison that it is. You'll wake up tomorrow not only with muscles that are sore, tight, and screaming at you but you'll also be much more sluggish and tired in your run the next day. It may seem a bit contrary that doing more after a hard workout will make the next day feel easier and better for you, but it's the truth. To flush out all that lactic acid you have to do at least 10 minutes of easy running after your tough workout, even if it is super slow.

4) Being overly competitive.
Okay, so that may sound like something that isn't possible, but anyone who's been around a team or even just that one person who always has to one up everybody else, can attest to the fact that once that mentality starts it's like a loose cannon. It begins with someone always having to one step you and be just a bit ahead and it ends with everyone being out for blood each time they lace up their shoes and go for a run. A healthy amount of competitive energy is necessary to improve and should be a part of the training atmosphere, but when it turns from the mind set of doing what's best for the overall improvement of the group and instead becomes a vicious platform to prove who is the champion of the world that's where the trouble comes in. Usually this will lead to blending those hard and easy days because you won't be taking those easy days at the right pace for you to recover and will be instead trying to race those days along with the workout ones. And it hampers workouts because not all workouts are supposed to be all out race like efforts; while workouts are geared towards preparing you for a race they aren't supposed to be a that same level. The best athletes will work incredibly hard and push themselves plenty but come race day they always rise a bit to the occasion and have one more gear. But if you are racing each of your workouts like that you can only continue to do so for so long before you begin to be overly tired and over worked and your times will soon slow down. It can be tricky to avoid falling into this pattern and group dynamics play the biggest role; it can sometimes mean doing your easy runs on your own so you aren't tempted to go too fast and doing your very best to stick to the intended workout times and paces that you set out to do regardless of what transpires on the track. If you notice this type of racing staring it's best to put an end to it early whether that means talking amongst yourselves or your coach or potentially reevaluating the members of the group.

5) Not refueling or rehydrating afterwards. There is a key window of time after you finish a workout where it is of utmost important to get some food and liquids into your system. That time frame is 30 minutes and it closes rather quickly. The difference between 30 minutes and an hour after may not seem like a big deal but to your body and its ability to recover it is insurmountable. If you don't get in a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein along with a drink containing electrolytes right after you finish you will be only doing yourself a huge disservice. Refueling will speed along the recovery process and there have been numerous studies that prove your endurance and strength will vastly outpace those who skipped doing so; the numbers vary from anything between 45% to 70% but either way it is a big gap.

So if you want to make the very most out of your training program, no matter what specific method it is, make sure you don't fall into one of these workout traps.

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