As athletes, we all make mistakes in our training and racing journeys. However, it's important to learn from these errors and find solutions to prevent them from hindering our progress. In this informative guide, we will explore ten of the most common mistakes athletes make and provide practical solutions to help you avoid them. By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your training and racing experience while achieving your goals effectively.


Unrealistic Goals:

One prevalent mistake is setting goals that are beyond reach, leading to disappointment and loss of motivation. To overcome this, set challenging yet attainable goals. Balance big, long-term goals with smaller, short-term ones. Seeking guidance from experienced individuals can also help you set realistic goals.


Increasing the training workload significantly without allowing your body to adapt can lead to injury or burnout. Understand that pain is not the objective of every session and that moderation is key. Gradually increase distance or intensity by approximately 10% each week to avoid overexertion.

Ignoring Experience:

Neglecting advice from experienced individuals can limit your growth as an athlete. Actively seek out the opinions and insights of others through coaches, clubs, online forums, or training buddies. Valuable information and different training techniques can help you overcome weaknesses and elevate your performance.


Neglecting Rest:

Many athletes underestimate the importance of rest in their training regimen. Plan rest sessions into your training week and treat them with the same importance as other workouts. Additionally, avoid consecutive hard workout days to allow for proper recovery. Rest weeks can also be incorporated into your training plan to prevent overtraining.

Missed Sessions:

Attempting to compensate for missed sessions by adding extra workouts or increasing the distance of other sessions can lead to injury or poor performance. Create buffer periods in your training plan to accommodate additional workouts if needed, without sacrificing rest periods. Avoid the temptation to "chase" missed sessions and focus on the next scheduled workout instead.

Lack of Specificity:

Training specificity is crucial for race-day success. Ensure that your training mimics race conditions, including pace, nutrition, and environmental factors. Incorporate workouts that simulate race scenarios and practice using the same nutrition, equipment, and clothing you plan to use during the event. Participating in "B" races can also provide valuable practice.

Pacing Mistakes:

Deviation from a well-thought-out pacing strategy can lead to early fatigue and suboptimal performance. Plan a race pace strategy, breaking down target times for specific milestones. Starting slightly slower than your target pace and gradually increasing speed can result in a more successful race.

Proper Tapering:

Improperly managing the taper period, which involves reducing training intensity before a race, can hinder performance. Plan a specific taper period when designing your training plan and prioritise it after inserting your main race. Treat tapering like any other session to ensure adherence and maximise performance on race day.

Last-Minute Changes:

The period leading up to a race can be filled with uncertainties, causing athletes to make impulsive changes to their training, equipment, or nutrition. Instead, research what will be provided during the race and practise with those specific brands in training. Avoid major changes in the last few weeks and stick to what has been successful during training.

Race Selection:

Participating in numerous races can lead to burnout and negatively impact key events. Select races strategically by identifying your main event (A race) and a few secondary races (B races) to practise different aspects. Prioritise performance and peak condition for your A race while using B races to refine strategies and gain experience.