Ultrarunning Mistakes: A Running List Of Running Failures

When you first start out running it seems like you have such a clear path ahead. It’s hard to discern any obstacles in your way because you’ve never traveled the path before

It’s only when you start traveling down it, do the challenges begin to reveal themselves. They can be unique to the individual or universal to the act itself. Either way, they can be valuable lessons for those looking to travel the same direction.

The old adage “You don’t know, what you don’t know” can come into play when looking to become an ultrarunner. The following list will be an ongoing look at the ultrarunning mistakes I’ve made so that others can avoid them.

Don’t Run In Barefoot Shoes Unless You’re Used To It

Mistake: Running in zero-drop shoes when first starting out
Problem: Injury due to training in zero-drop shoes.
Lesson: Transition to zero-drop shoes and make sure you have the required mobility to do so.

This was at the beginning of my training, just getting into running, I found myself away from home with only my pair of Vivobarefoot shoes. I wanted to train and though I knew running in barefoot shoes could be a little risky due to my body not being used to doing it, I decided to go for a run anyways.

Well, surprise, the next day I woke up, went to stand and a shooting pain lit up my right foot. I had completely cooked my right achilles and calf.

I spent the next two weeks not running, only lifting weights due to my foot constantly aching. Finally, I eased back into training with a new respect for ankle mobility, foot health, and zero-drop shoes.

The lesson here is twofold.

  1. Don’t run in barefoot shoes unless you have the mobility to do so. Even after walking in mine for over a year I lacked the mobility and strength in my ankle to run in a zero-drop shoe. Now I’m working on my mobility issues and transitioning to a zero-drop shoe.
  2. Listen to your body – if something feels tired or strained, give it rest and enough time to recover. If not, you run the risk of prolonging the injury or possibly making it worse.


Mistake: Battery saver turned on.
Problem: Strava/Fitbit fails to track the route.
Lesson: Make sure the battery saver on the phone is off.

This one can lead to some frustration. The first couple of times I tried to track my runs on Strava via my Fitbit, it would fail to show my route.

Though this is a small issue and not essential to training it can lead to some aggravation nonetheless.

The solution was quite simple. Because my phone was on “Battery Saver” it would turn off the GPS and fail to track my route. Quickly turning this off ensures your GPS is on and if using an App or tracker that connects to your phone – location data will now be recorded.

Ultrarunning Mistakes

All of these are to be taken as lessons in the end. Mistakes made, addressed and adjusted so they won’t come up again. It’s all part of learning a new skill and as long as you use them to improve yourself they can be framed in a positive light.

By sharing them here, hopefully, they can be avoided by others.

What are some ultrarunning mistakes you’ve made? Share in the comments below so we can all look to avoid them.

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