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3 Common Mistakes Long Distance Runners make (and how to avoid them!)

3 Common Mistakes Long Distance Runners make

Are you a long distance runner or do you aspire to be? These are some common training mistakes you can avoid!

1. Limited time to achieve goal

More often than not everyday athletes set targets or goals which require them to push their bodies to their absolute limits. Whether it is work, social or various other life commitments that get in the way many runners feel they must push through these to achieve their goals they have set out. This typically leaves them in a state of pushing too hard, running too far or not resting enough which can overload various body parts.

Gabbitt 2018 showed the relationship between weekly training loads and the likelihood of injury

They reported the following:

  • When training load was fairly constant (ranging from 5% less to 10% more than the previous week) athletes had <10% risk of injury
  • However when training load was increased by ≥15% above the previous week’s load, injury risk escalated to between 21% and 49%.

Therefore the optimal range to increase training loads week to week is below 10%

2. Too much stretching and foam rolling

With much recent research on the effect of stretching and foam rolling on injuries in particular, many everyday athletes would reduce injuries to a greater degree if they were to use the time they spent on these activities doing something more valuable.

This is not to say stretching and foam rolling is a bad thing for performance or recovery but more that if time may be limited due to the various issues mentioned above then this time could be spent doing some of the next point (strength training).

3. No strength training

Above, we touched on using time effectively above with potentially swapping stretching for some resistance training.

Research not only shows us that strength training can reduce the number of injuries but that it also increases performance. With increased lower limb strength comes higher sprint speed and improved time to exhaustion at max speeds.

So to maximise your running training – think about these points in relation to your plan and have a chat to your physiotherapist if you want to mix things up and/or start running.

by Luke Skillington – Physiotherapist


Gabbett TJ. The training—injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder? Br J Sports Med 2016;50:273-280.

Beattie, K, Carson, BP, Lyons, M, Rossiter, A, and Kenny, IC (2017). The effect of strength training on performance indicators in distance runners. J Strength Cond Res 31(1): 9–23.

Lauersen, J. B., Bertelsen, D. M., & Andersen, L. B. (2014). The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med, 48(11), 871-877


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