The 10 most common training mistakes

8. February 2022

Foto: iStock/jacoblund

Systematic training suggests you can plan for success. But things don’t always go according to plan. It’s therefore all the more important to avoid the most common training mistakes.

1. Too little recovery

Regeneration after a tough training load is essential for the body to gain strength. Because only during a break will your performance improve. Habitual cyclists often improve when they train less and recover better, because they can then train harder and more effectively during their next training. Recovery is important on a weekly basis, but also over longer periods of time. A rest day each week is analogous to a relaxed month at the end of the season each year. It enables you to catch your breath and recharge your batteries.

2. Too irregular

Continuity is an extremely important factor in endurance training. Once you have recovered, you should introduce the next training stimulus. If this doesn’t happen, a continuous improvement in form is unlikely. In order to improve in the long term, you need to train constantly. While sporadic bursts of training can introduce top stimuli, this is no substitute for the continuous progress achieved through regular training.

3. Too many competitions

You can't be in top form all the time. Too many competitions will put you at risk of burn out and you won’t be able to recover sufficiently between loads. When you compete frequently, you need a very solid foundation that is built up steadily over the long term. Alternatively, you can specifically prepare for one or two main competitions and use other competitions as preparation purely to improve your form. With this method you can distribute the load better than if you compete in two races every weekend.

4. Impatience

Building up your form takes time, and it only develops continuously at the start. As you get better, your performance tends to improve in waves, taking five to six weeks to noticeably change. It takes patience to reap the rewards of training. If you test yourself on every trip and always push yourself to the limit, you won’t reach your top form. Patience is especially important after increased loads such as training camps. Give yourself time to adapt to the training stimulus.

5. Too monotonous

Always running the same route at the same pace bores both your body and mind and does not provide a training stimulus. Vary the route distance and pace to achieve new adaptations. Continuously build your form, for example, by regularly increasing the distance and extending the speed intervals, etc.

6. Not enough sleep

Don't skimp on sleep in order to train longer. During sleep, the repair processes take place, turning tired muscles into strong legs.

7. Training when ill

Illness is stress for your body. Don't pack more on top by training when you’re ill. If you are ill, you should use all the resources available to get healthy again as soon as possible. That's the best thing you can do for your form.

8. Not specific enough

Competition-specific stimuli help you to prepare for an event. Always training at 30 km/h and then trying to compete at 45 km/h will not work, and if so, only under severe pain. Deliberately anticipate the loads of the competition. Not necessarily over the entire distance, but at least in stints. The closer the competition gets, the more specific the training should be. Ideally, the puzzle pieces in training will then come together to form a complete work of art on the day of the competition.

9. Underestimated everyday stress

Training isn’t the only thing that makes you tired. Everyday tasks do too. Keep an eye on your overall load and reduce the training intensity when stress factors outside your sport are high. Then use your sport as a source of new strength.

10. Orientation to others

Every athlete ticks differently. While there are proven methods such as the load and recovery sequence, everyone has to discover their own level of tolerance. Instead of peeking at the heart rate of your fellow athletes, develop your body awareness. What is good for you, what isn’t? Pursue your own strategy and sharpen your body awareness.