5 Mistakes made by endurance athletes

Mistake 1: Changing things too quickly

The body will adapt well to increases in activity and training, given time. The changes needed to go from a sedentary, overweight state to active and exercising regularly should take months not weeks. Even a well-conditioned body can be sensitive to rapid changes in workload or equipment.

“Changing training parameters too quickly overloads the delicate balance of damage and repair continuously taking place in our bodies.”

A minor example of this is the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) that we feel 24-48 hours after unfamiliar exercise.

These “training errors” are the most common cause of overuse injuries. Some examples:

  • Changing running terrain (starting sprints/hills/track sessions)
  • Changing equipment (bike setup, running shoes, swim paddles)
  • Increasing training volume too quickly. 10% is the suggested maximal increase in training per week.

Ways to avoid training errors:

  • Get a coach to plan you a periodised training plan.
  • Write out a training plan, have someone experienced look it over. Then stick to it.
  • Plan a recovery week where you train less every 3-4 weeks
  • Beware of voices in your head saying things like “I’m feeling really good”, “ I’ll just do a little bit extra”, “I can’t let him/her beat me up this hill”
  • Use technology. Heart rate monitors, power meters and training software have sophisticated methods available to track your training load and alert you, or your coach when you are overloading your system and likely to get injured or sick.

Usually athletes with injuries will have made a combination of these top 5 mistakes. Paying attention to these areas and being sensible will cut your injury rate, reduce stress on your immune system and keep you healthy and active.