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Four mistakes women make when increasing their running distance

Are you gearing up to train for a race, or simply want to run further? Avoid these common mistakes with our top tips below!

You've learnt to run and now want a new challenge. You may have taken the plunge and entered your first race, or simply set yourself a goal to reach a new milestone. Great! But now what?


It's easy to get carried away when increasing distance, and if not done safely this can lead to injury and - gasp - not running while you recover! No-one wants that, so we've put together the most common mistakes we see when women increase their distance.


Tip #1 - Doing too much too soon

We know what it's like... you sign up to a race or set yourself a new goal and you just want to get started. You're feeling motivated at last and you're ready to grab your trainers and get out the door. You tell yourself you're going to just run as far as you can and see how you do, but could that be detrimental rather than beneficial?


Our body is a complex machine and it can only take so much stress at one time. If we put too much stress on the body it will simply overload and break (yes, we're talking injuries). The good news is that your body is very good at adapting if you give it time, so rather than doubling your distance in one week flat, you should be looking to increase your distance by 10% each week.


Tip #2 - Recovery is key

The second most common mistake we see in women increasing distance is not allowing enough rest time. You should be looking to have a rest day between runs to allow your muscles time to recover. You should also ensure you are adding regular stretching into your routine - we advise at least one 30 minute full body stretching session a week.


"Stretching regularly is a key player in avoiding injury with your running." – Katie, Personal Trainer & Run Coach

Tip #3 - Just doing long runs

You want to increase distance, so every run you do should be going further and further, right? Well, not quite.


Our bodies thrive on variety, so just having long runs in our training plan won't actually help to increase our distance. Instead, allocate one run a week on being a 'long run', then add in some base runs (this is a shorter run at a comfortable pace), development runs and strength work into the mix too.


What is a development run? This is a type of run where you push your body to work on a different area of fitness. Development runs could include hill sessions, sprints, tempo runs and surges to name a few!


Tip #4 - Not following a programme

This may all sound quite complicated, but it doesn't need to be. We know it is tempting to just set off each week and try to go further, but we recommend have a programme to follow written by a running coach. This ensures that you are increasing your distance at a steady pace whilst taking precautions to avoid injury.


The Athena Improvers Programme is a great place to start. This programme builds your distance for 6 weeks, but also equips you with tools and knowledge to continue to develop your running after the programme has finished. Find out more here.


So there you have it...

Preparation is key with increasing your distance, and having a plan to follow to ensure you're not doing too much too soon is a great way to avoid any costly mistakes that will have you on the bench for a few weeks. Get in touch with us to find out more about our programmes and how we can help you to increase your distance safely.

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