7 worst training mistakes
Training pitfalls to avoid
Are you training for a new challenge or event? Although you’re no doubt excited about the journey ahead, it’s important to keep in mind some common training pitfalls that beginners often fall into. Here are seven mistakes you need to avoid to get the best out of your training.
Using the wrong kit
You know what they say – “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. With that in mind, you’d be surprised by how many people you’ll see taking on challenges wearing kit that’s so far from appropriate it’s embarrassing. Things like training for a marathon in plimsolls, or swimming in an old pair of shorts should obviously be avoided, but for some strange reason they do happen. Depending on what you want to achieve it’s possible buying all the kit you’ll need could prove quite expensive, but we can’t stress how much this money is worth spending.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but if you want to train properly you’re going to have to rest properly as well. A study published in the Journal of Neurological Science found that intensive training without sensible rest periods can cause inflammation and even muscle fibre necrosis, both of which hinder the development of muscle power and durability. These rest periods will vary depending on your workouts and skill level, but it’s safe to say that if you are starting every training session feeling worn out or in pain then you need to be resting more.
Letting boredom creep in
The biggest enemy of any training regime is boredom. Getting bored and fed up with your training is a sure fire recipe for disaster, and will often end with giving up completely. This is why variety really is the spice of life when it comes to training for any challenge or event. A study at the University of Florida proved just that, finding that the most satisfactory method of exercise is a combination of structured yet varied sessions. If you are a runner, find a new route. A swimmer? Try outdoor swimming. Or just give a completely new sport a go – anything to keep your training entertaining.
Forgetting the 10 per cent rule
The 10 per cent rule states that a training regime should see a 10 per cent increase in intensity, distance or amount every week. If you stick to the same training regime without making any changes, you might enjoy an initial confidence boost as your training gradually becomes easier. This is a common training mistake, and you’ll soon begin to notice your progress becomes slow or even non-existent. Remember, the ten per cent figure isn’t set in stone – as long as you are making some sort of consistent and steady progress, you will enjoy the benefits.
With the previous point in mind, there is a fine line between pushing yourself and being reckless, and misjudging this line is a common mistake of many people who are just starting out in their training. Between 1990 and 2007 one million Americans injured themselves because of lifting weights that were too heavy for them, and a massive 82 per cent of those were men. Knowing your limits and how to safely increase them is a surprisingly tough skill to master, but will benefit your training (and physio bill) no end once you do.
Have you recently taken on a challenge and decided to do it the ‘natural’ way? Big mistake. Just because people have been training like that for hundreds of years, doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Beuna Vista University conducted a study into training gadgets such as heart rate monitors, which showed that they consistently improved training sessions at all levels. For example, with a simple heart rate monitor you can try out all sorts of training sessions, such as threshold workouts, interval training, and even optimum recovery sessions. We’d be mightily impressed if you could do all of that accurately by ‘gut feeling’ alone.
Eating the wrong things
If you’re training seriously for a challenge or event, then you need to get serious about your diet as well. All too often people make their training harder than it needs to be by cutting back on food in the hopes that it will make them healthier. Training hard requires a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates, fats and micro-nutrients, and things could get tough if you aren’t getting enough of these. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll want to avoid the post-session binge. Replenishing your depleted energy stores is important, but if you fill this gap with junk food you could find that all of your training is going to waste.