I used to take a lot of advice when I first started running and racing. I did the same with parenting and writing and I eventually realized that with enough experience and a ton of common sense, you figure out what works best for you and most advice is horrible and useless.
Today I’m joining forces with some women who have amazing racing advice. We know because we have taken all the horrible racing advice and learned from it. So, in the vein of “don’t make the same mistakes I did” I present to you the worst racing advice I ever received:
RUN THROUGH PAIN
Full disclosure – this is advice I gave myself. This is probably the single worst thing you can do whether it’s in training or an actual race. Pain (real, throbbing swelling, hobbling PAIN, not discomfort) is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed before it gets worse.
Lesson: You want to run for years, not days. Have long-term thinking and you will run far for life.
SET THREE GOALS
I just recently realized this was horrible advice after listening to Stan Beecham’s book Elite Minds. It makes perfect sense to me now that if I set up an A, B and C goal then I’m just giving myself an out instead of focusing on exactly what I want to achieve. Beecham gives several examples of elites who set goals, and achieved them, but then wondered why they didn’t make it to the next level. Your mind is a very powerful tool and it will do whatever it’s told.
I wrote all about it for Women’s Running since I’m a sharer and want to make the running world a better place:
NO CAFFEINE BEFORE THE START
Please remember that I am old and I ran my first 5k about 15 years ago when there was not a lot of scientific evidence to back up claims on pre-race fueling. In fact, it was more just word of mouth from the fastest runners to us towing the line in 12th place. Yes, I came in 12th in my first 5k. Anyway, someone along the way told me to have little or no caffeine prior to racing, even though I was (and am) a two cup of coffee a day girl. For some reason, I listened to this advice for a very long time and only in the past five years or so did I start consuming my regular coffee before a race.
I have not noticed a considerably difference but I definitely feel better when I have my morning cup of joe, regardless of racing. And, I used to get painful headaches after the race since it had been too long without getting my caffeine fix. I was also possibly dehydrated but that’s a whole other issue.
If you need more proof to indulge in a pre-race buzz:
5 Truths About Running And Caffeine | Runner’s World
Caffeine and Running – How Coffee Can Help You Run Faster | RunnersConnect.com
If that is not enough bad advice for you, there’s more! There’s also some really good advice thrown in, for all you optimists out there. Take what you will and leave the rest…
What would you add to my list?
What is the best advice (running or otherwise) you have received lately?