Home > Running Injuries > Paying the Price of Over Ambition

Paying the Price of Over Ambition

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Progress Rhythm Development Breathing

Discipline both during running and throughout the planning stage of development is a major factor in determining the level of achievement that an individual makes. Just as losing your physical rhythm and concentration on the move is going to impede progress, the same is true if you deviate from the path set out in your programme.

Every runner is in a hurry to get better. In that, you are no different from anyone else. Indeed, there is no greater motivation on a cold winter's morning than the thought that taking the easy option and missing the day's training will not only impede progress but take some of the shine off what you have already achieved.

But this hunger to progress should not mean you start accelerating the rate of training, believing that increasing speed, distance or intensity ahead of schedule will mean you reach your goal quicker. In fact, it can all too often leave you having to start all over again because the body was not ready for the new demands put upon it and injury was the result.

Rapid Progress

Because many runners start from zero i.e. they are beginning exercise after a long time with their metaphorical feet up, the first few week's usually constitute a period of rapid progress, the long walk's translating into medium paced jogging without too much complaint from the muscles and tendons. Now that the body is once again happy with regular physical exercise, it is time to start seeking further improvement, but at a slow and controlled rate, so that you are comfortable with the physical demands of a particular speed and distance before going on to the next stage. In short, the learning curve that initially ascended at a spectacular angle will begin to plateau out. Upward movement thereafter will still be apparent but at a much more modest rate. This is the correct approach.

Oxygen Efficiency

However, if you ask your body to do too much too soon, the problems will arise. For a start, you will find the going tough, which will initially translate into tension as you try to live up to your over expectations. The tension will mean you will start to lose your rhythm. As a result, in the upper body your arms will not be working in tandem with your breathing, oxygen efficiency will decrease as your breathing becomes shallower; thereby making it even harder to find that extra performance you wanted. In other words, a vicious circle. Losing rhythm in the upper body is likely to extend downwards into the hips and legs, affecting posture with possible consequences for the thighs, calves and ankles. Not only will your legs suffer if incorrect posture causes misalignment, the lower back will be in the firing line, too, exposing the sciatic nerve to possible damage.

Even if your body survives this over ambition, the mental stress and strain of completing the course will mean that next time, you will be less inclined to go for a run because of the bad memories the last one left you with.

How to rescue the situation? Simple. Forget you ever thought you could take a shortcut, and get with the programme again. And if you're ever tempted to stray once again, remember how painful it was last time. That will ensure you don't get ahead of yourself ever again.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Tammy
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, also trying to find out if Swansea groups still going? Thanks.
    7 October 2018
  • Rach
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I live in the Wolverhampton WV8 area and wondered if you have any activities running close to me please? Thank you Rachel.
    3 September 2018
  • Ali
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi Vic. Try Potters Trotters. They used to meet at Northwood years ago, but now meet at Staffs Uni on Tuesday and Thursday. They…
    30 August 2018
  • Cathryn
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there a beginners club in Torquay for women over 50
    31 July 2018
  • VikingMermaid
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there still a group in Dawlish (S Devon)? I used to run with WRN ca 10 yrs ago here (leader was Sarah, who was a real…
    26 June 2018
  • Vic
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, Any running clubs in stoke on trent? Northwood area? Trying to rehab and lose weight after slipped disc surgery last year.
    13 June 2018
  • Bigsare
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there. A group in Exeter still and when and where do they meet please
    2 May 2018
  • Verity
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi. I ran with WRN over 10 years ago and was registered with UKA. I am now trying to join another club. Can my link to WRN be…
    22 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Ha, ha - predictive text! Passing my message on - thanks
    7 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi there I’m looking to reconnect with the Swansea group but can’t find the details. Any chance of either padding my message on or…
    7 April 2018