When new athletes approach me to help structure their training one of the first things I do is gather a thorough background on the athlete. The background gives me information about past performances and training. Here are the three most common training mistakes I see.
1) Too many race specific workouts – This will bury an athlete. Your body cannot always perform at its best and when you ask it to week after week, you are bound to start suffering. This suffering may come in the form of an injury or an inability to improve as a runner. You cannot push every workout. Your high intensity workouts should comprise about 10 – 30% of your total mileage, depending on the time of season
2) Racing too often – If you are looking for breakout performances, you should not be racing throughout the entire year. You need to focus on specific components of your fitness throughout the year. Racing year round will cause you to neglect the other areas that are crucial to success as a runner. It is far more beneficial to supplement your training with an off season strength program rather than just more racing throughout the year.
3) Not enough miles – This will vary from person to person, but I frequently meet athletes who simply are not doing enough base miles in the off season. As the season approaches, this problem is usually compounded because this athlete typically starts to do too many race specific workouts as a way to get ready for their next race. Without the proper base, very little improvement will occur. Gradually build your base over time, increasing mileage by 10 – 15% per week. Remember, you need to phase out your high intensity workouts while increasing mileage.