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5 common mistakes runners make during race training (and how to avoid them)


Robin Arzon

If you’ve laced up for a race of any length, you may know that nothing zaps endorphins faster than a growling tummy at the starting line or nasty blisters at the half-way mark. But with the proper gear, training, and race-day routine, those (and other) common runners’ woes can be easily avoided—thus making your finish line photo way more Instagram-worthy!

To help you prep for a fall full of 5Ks, half-marathons and obstacle races, we enlisted C9 by Champion Ambassador, star trainer, and ultra-marathoner Robin Arzon to give us the 411 on mistakes you don’t want to make this season.

Want a head start? Arzon will be leading a fun, challenging training run at our third and last Surfside Salutations event in Montauk on Saturday, August 22 (with a braid bar, DIY skin care, C9 leggings, and more!), and there’s still time to grab a coveted spot.

Either way, check out Arzon’s super smart take on five common mistakes runners make during training, below, and how to avoid them.—Sarah Sarway

1. Experimenting on race day. “Stick to what you know works well for your run, and use your training to test new things. This includes everything from what breakfast you eat to your running top. Think about how you’ve fueled for your training runs. You’ll want to eat the same foods that have worked in the past. Testing out a new Gel or Power Bar on race morning can result in an upset stomach.”

More reading: The 5 best and worst nutrition bars

2. Trying to do too much, too soon. “Start where you’re at, not where you WANT to be. This is essential for avoiding injury and unrealistic expectations. If you haven’t been running, you haven’t been running. That’s okay, so just be honest with yourself. Start with the first step, not what your PR was a year ago. You’ll get back there. Overuse injuries aren’t cute.”

3. Not eating the right foods. “You can’t out-train a bad diet. Fuel for greatness 80 percent of the time, and use the remaining 20 percent for your favorite snacks and treats.”

More reading: 3 breakfast recipes that pack your morning with protein 

4. Using the wrong training plan. “Think of your training plan as a pyramid: Build your base now, and gradually increase your mileage by 10 percent each week. For example, if you’ve been running once or twice a week for 30 minutes, take it up to 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes until you build your base. Once you have a base of easy miles, you can fold in speed, stamina, and long runs. Adding speed work too soon can risk injury. Be easy.”

5. Ignoring your body. “Listen to your body. Your eating habits may have changed with the increased demands of training. As you decrease your mileage to prep for race day (about 20 percent of mileage a week), remember to eat only when you are hungry, not just because you’ve made a habit of meals before or after training runs. Also note: 10-milers don’t require the same fuel as 4-milers.

To sign up for Robin Arzon’s 45-minute running workshop at our August Surfside Salutations event, click here