7 Mistakes New Runners Make
I have been trying to get a friend of mine to start running for months. He keeps telling me he wants to get in shape, loose a few pounds, and improve his overall well-being. We’ve talked about the benefits of running and how much cheaper it is than joining a gym, but for some reason he’s still having a hard time.
After analyzing why he hasn’t found his stride (pun intended), I narrowed it down to seven things he’s doing wrong. My guess is that most new runners suffer from some of these things as well. Here are solutions to seven common mistakes new runners make:
1. Set A Goal
Without a clear why, you’re more likely to get bored and quit. Dropping a few pounds or staying in shape aren’t specific reasons enough. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Realistic, and Time bound (SMART). For example, “Run the Get in Gear 5k on April 27th in 35 minutes or less.” That’s a SMART goal.
2. Get a Plan
Once you’ve set your goal(s), find a training plan and stick to it. There are several great training plans for all distances. Without one, you may give up because you feel like you’re not making progress. Having a plan helps you chart the progress you’re making day by day.
3. Buy quality Shoes
You shouldn’t run in the same shoes you’ve been mowing the lawn in. Running in old shoes, or ones that do not match your foot type, invites injury. We’ve written about this before, but start by asking a specialist at one of our many great local running shops.
4. Take it slow
Overtraining is a major reason beginners stop running. You may feel good at first, so don’t push it! You could get injured, definitely sore, or feel burned out. A basic beginner plan eases into running until you can run 3 miles, 3-4 times per week. Add 1 mile to one of those runs every week to progress.
5. Don’t Quit Too Early
Anything worth doing takes time. Many people expect to see results far too quickly. Give running at least 12 weeks. Knowing that time frame will help prepare you for the journey ahead. Remember, this is a lifestyle choice; hang in there!
6. Make time to Run
What gets scheduled gets done. You live a hectic life; work, family and school demand your attention. If you don’t make time for physical activity, you’ll face health problems down the road. Think of running as an investment in your future. Try running in the morning, over lunch, or right after work. You might even try running to work to save time.
7. Run with a friend
Find a friend and go for a run. Misery (or in this case euphoria), loves company. If you don’t have a running partner, check out the Twin Cities Running Experiment or other Minnesota running clubs. At the very least, keep a running log so you can track your progress. Hold yourself accountable!
Although these tips are geared towards beginners, seasoned runners may benefit from some of this advice as well. After you’ve been running for a while, you may have forgotten your why. You should always set a goal – even if that goal is to get out the door three times a week to clear you head!