If you’re so new to the Singapore running scene you didn’t know that the Sundown Marathon starts after dark or you think The Colour Run refers to your laundry, give yourself a break! You’re going to make mistakes. Even veteran Singapore runners do. But the great thing about mistakes is that you can use them as teachable moments, understanding that most mistakes can be corrected. The following five are the most egregious in our opinion, so if running is your passion, undertake a gut check and see where you stand on each!
Mistake #5: You dismiss the importance of the right gear.
Running in the wrong shoes can not only hamper your performance, but do serious damage to your feet. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in cosmetics, but don’t be seduced by price, color, design, brand or even the recommendations of others. Only you know what fits and what doesn’t—and only you know which type of running you plan to do.
And don’t stop with shoes. The most underrated piece of running gear is a pair of proper sports sunglasses. It is the 2nd most important piece of gear right after shoes as glare from the sun can result in various symptoms that impede runs, causing you to run below peak performance levels. This is even truer for runners with myopia who require sports prescription sunglasses. You should also always have your eye gear evaluated by experts to get a correct fit. Unfortunately, there aren’t many places in Singapore that provide such services. One option is international brand, Rudy Project, which just set up local stores not too long ago. The good thing here is that all of their outlets have an experienced professional who can do the fitting and evaluation for you.
Mistake #4: You do too much too soon and wind up wondering why you can barely walk.
Being zealous has its benefits if you’re an over-achiever, but if you hope to stay healthy and be a player on the Singapore marathon scene and abroad, you’ve got to ease into your running program by using both your head and your body to acclimatize both to your lifestyle change.
You might not believe how many people lose interest in running because they never took their mum’s advice about taking it slow and not over-doing. Need a benchmark? Take the advice of marathon professionals: Increase your runs by no more than 10-percent each week to avoid burn out and injury. Slow and steady equals finish-line victories in the long run!
Mistake #3: You skip rest days.
Next to wearing proper shoes and sunglasses, your body demands ample rest between strenuous activities, which is why rest days are built into the plans and schedules of every serious Singapore runner. Even running at a slow pace impacts bones, and when you add rugged terrains to your conditioning and competitive routine, that stress is compounded with each footfall.
Skip rest days and your body will try to compensate, possibly throwing off your gait or causing permanent injury. You could develop poor sleep patterns. If you pair your propensity for skipping rest days with over-training, you increase your chance of being permanently disabled. Skipping rest days takes a toll on mental health, too. In concert, push yourself unmercifully and even your heart muscle could suffer.
Mistake #2: You chalk up cross-training as a needless waste of time and effort.
You crave variety, even if you don’t realize it, and nothing changes things up like acquiring balance through a fitness regimen that supports your running program. What happens if you do nothing but run and don’t cross train? You could become bored, thus inviting overuse injuries and your chances of quitting running can escalate dramatically.
You won’t run as well because you’ve neglected other muscles. Variety really is the spice of life; it’s the fuel that feeds your brain when tedium sets in as a direct result of looking at the same scenery or using the same muscles to the exclusion of others. There’s a reason cross-training is recommended by every serious running coach, running journal and publication on the planet: it’s essential.
Mistake #1: You don’t properly care for yourself.
Does mistake number one jar your sensibilities? It should. You think you take care of yourself, but if you’re honest, you could be guilty of one or more of the following:
- Do you insist on comparing yourself to other runners? This behaviour can lead to feelings of inadequacy which has the power to undermine all of your positive running and non-running efforts, so stop doing this now!
- Do you run without having a goal or plan in mind? Whether it’s a training goal to qualify for an upcoming marathon or you strive for a personal best, without having a solid goal or plan that you can explain to others in a few short sentences, you may be rudderless. Goal setting sustains enthusiasm and keeps your eyes on the future.
- Do you ignore your personal safety? Do you run at night in clothing and shoes not embellished with reflectors, ignoring lightening during a rain run, refuse to listen to your body when it begs for hydration or “run through the pain” when your gut says stop? Consider the ironic contradiction: You commit yourself to staying healthy through running, but if you ignore your personal safety, how do you reconcile the two?
Are there only five mistakes Singapore runners make? Of course not—any more than Australians, Malaysians, Vietnamese or Filipino runners limit their mistakes to five—but according to credible resources and experts, this list of five covers basics and knows no geographic boundaries. That conclusion leads us to ask you an intriguing question on this topic: If you could add a 6th Mistake to this list, what would it be?