8 Things Not to Do

Posted by Filed Under: Running Tips

running tipsWhat follows is a compendium of what not to do when you are racing or training. There are generally two categories of bone headedness: too much testosterone and using myself as a human Guinea pig. Whatever you do, try not to do these things to yourself!

1. Wearing new or different shoes in a race.

  • If they are not broken in or you are not used to them, do not wear them.
  • Failure to heed this advice can lead to anything from blisters to calf muscle tears.

2. Running in shoes that are in need of replacement.

  • You are flirting with injury if you wear worn out shoes while running.
  • I generally notice little aches and pains starting to appear in different joints of my body when my shoes start wearing out.
  • A general rule is to replace your running shoes at least every 3 to 4 months depending on how much you are running.
  • A big visual giveaway is when you have worn out the sole and into the midsole.

3. Wearing too little clothing for conditions.

  • You can always discard extra clothing if you get too hot and retrieve it later.
  • I once wore a singlet and shorts in a blizzard. Not really smart, and a recipe for hypothermia.

4. Mixing your own sport drink and not following directions.

  • I ended up with an electrolyte concentration similar to that of the Dead Sea, and was dehydrated by mile one.
  • Always follow dilution directions precisely, and when in doubt, dilute more.

5. Do not over consume alcohol the night before the race.

  • This should be obvious, but in the heat of pre-race festivities one can get overzealous.
  • If you must indulge, try alternating each alcoholic beverage with at least one or two glasses of water.

6. Do not run when you are really sick.

  • Follow this rule of thumb: When symptoms of a cold go below the neck, do not train.
  • Training when you have more than just a head cold can lead to much more severe illness and more time off.

7. Do not run through an injury that is not getting better.

  • I ran through a stress fracture and had to stop running for three years!
  • Be conservative with injuries. If they are not getting better, stop running and do non-weightbearing cross training such as pool running or bike training.
  • Get another opinion to confirm what the injury is.

8. Training too hard or too much before or after a race.

  • I once had a friend who loved to hammer me on the day after a race (which he didn’t run). Do not fall for it; rest and live to hammer another day.
  • I also did a 15 mile training run up a mountain the day before a 800m track race. What can I say? That was really stupid.
  • Remember, you need to give the body rest prior to and after a race to allow proper recovery.

Please heed the advice and save yourself some grief. I’ve committed all of the above indiscretions (and a few more I won’t admit to), and suffered accordingly. Hopefully, you can put this advice to good use and have a happier, healthier running experience.

About Lee Miller D.C.

9536 - 87 Street Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3J1 Phone: (780) 426-6777 Fax: (780) 469-6930

  1. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on September 28th at 9:43 am

    When I mix my own sports drinks, I always dilute more than it says to. I don’t like regular gatorade, but at 3/4 strength or a little less it is much better.

    As for new shoes, I find that my first few runs I will do short runs of three to five miles or less in them. Modern shoes break in much easier than when I started running, so they are usually fine after that. Just because your sunday run is not a race, though, doesn’t mean that it is appropriate to wear a brand new pair of shoes on a 15 miler.

  2. Adeel on September 28th at 11:32 pm

    The last one is my favourite. Two days before I ran my first half marathon, for which I hadn’t really trained, I ran an indoor track race. I ran the last kilometre without shoes since I forgot my shoes and was running in a friend’s shoes that were two sizes too big. My feet hurt very badly on race day.

    On the other hand, training very hard before a race can be intuitive. The Americans running the marathon at the 1912 Olympics (I think) ran a time trial on the course right before the race. I’m not sure if it was the day before or three days before, but it was very close. Every now and then, I’ll meet someone training for their first half marathon who runs the distance in training for the first time a week before the race.

  3. Dori on September 29th at 10:17 pm

    Oh, YOU’RE that guy; the one with the shorts and no shirt in sub-zero weather. I always thought that was so-o macho, when everyone else is wearing hats and gloves and jackets.

    I’m just kidding. Good tips–thanx.