As everything goes, when you’re a beginner starting out at something, you are bound to make mistakes on your journey – and running is no exception. These mistakes are learning opportunities and lessons in disguise but learning these lessons beforehand can save us a lot of time and help us reach our goals much faster.
1. Going too fast too soon
Most beginner runners aren’t familiar with the concept of trying to strategise their run and “running” in a nutshell simply means to: run! But when you’re a runner and plan on covering long distances, it’s really important to not go all in all at once and rather let your run resemble a slow burn. Remember, you’re not a fizzing match on fire, you’re a slow-burning candle. You have to reserve your energy (and your breath) to last you the entirety of your run, not just the first 5 minutes.
So slow down! In the beginning jog at a pace where you can still talk without losing your breath. If you don’t feel that burning you get when you usually run, don’t worry! That just means you’re less likely to end up fatigued and exhausted much sooner than you’d like to.
2. Not maintaining a good running form
Having poor running form one of the more common running mistakes. Many beginners often make, which usually leaves them feeling fatigued and injured. Not only does a good running form prevent injury but there are ways you can help yourself run faster and longer without feeling burnt out. There are things you can do to help your breathing and reduce the chances of soreness after your run.
Read our article on how to have a proper running form to have an injury-free run!
3. Breathing mistakes that leave you out of breath in minutes
Learning how to breathe right is half the struggle for new runners. Breathing right is so important because it is so much easier to run when you’re not gasping like a fish out of water for breath. There are ways you can breathe to make sure more oxygen is being taken up by your lungs and then supplied to your muscles so you can have a much less tiring run! Breathing mistakes are massive running mistakes!
Read our article on how to breathe properly when running so you’re not out of breath!
4. You are allowed to rest
Naturally, when we pursue new things, we want to get good at them and we want to get good at them fast! But our minds and ambitions tend to run faster (pun intended) than our bodies do and before we know it our body is struggling to keep up. Even with the headspace and ambition, there is a chance you’re overworking yourself – especially as a beginner. And this is one of the biggest running mistakes.
So give yourself a rest! You don’t have to run every single day to get good at running. Running a few days a week is just as good if not better. Even if you don’t feel like you need the rest, your body certainly will, especially if you’re just starting out. Your body isn’t used to this sort of exercise, especially because running really pushes your stamina and heart to give their best.
So take a day off if you need to. Take a day off even if you feel like you don’t need to, and let your muscles and your cells repair. Even if you’re mid run and just feel absolutely exhausted, you don’t have to push yourself every single time. Stop and walk briskly until you’ve caught your breath again – you are allowed to rest.
5. Wearing old worn-out shoes
We’re not saying to invest in the most expensive running shoes when you’re just starting out and as nice as it would be to just grab a pair of old worn out shoes and hit the track, sometimes that can be pretty disastrous. When your shoes are old and worn out they don’t provide the same grip, comfort or protection that you need when running. Especially as a new runner since your feet aren’t used to it just yet.
You’re more prone to aches, blisters and ankle injuries which can really spoil your run and maybe even prevent you from running safely again until these injuries heal. Big running mistakes alert!
So do your best to try and get your hands on a pair of running shoes in good condition (they don’t have to be brand new) and this way you can make sure you’re not injuring your feet during your runs.
Check out our guide on things to watch out for when buying running shoes.
6. Not tracking your progress
It can be easy to forget to track our progress when we’re so busy with mundane day to day things of life. But it is so important to track your progress – especially in the long run. How you choose to track your progress is completely up to you.
You can journal how your run went, you can track your distance or your speed or even how long you could run for each day. By tracking your progress, you can see how much improvement you’ve made over time. Believe me you’ll need to see it on those days where you just feel like throwing in the towel and giving up.
By tracking your progress not only can you get better goals for yourself in the future, but you can also give yourself a pat on the back when you see how far you’ve come. You can even use your progress to motivate you as well as plan for the future.
A way to help you track your progress if you’re a little lazy or disorganized, is to get a fitness tracker. It does all the tracking for you! You can track your distance, your timing and your speed. Plus, to top it all off it keeps a record of your heartrate as well as the calories you burned during your run. This way you are kept up to date with everything going on with your body.
7. Not eating the right foods
Just as it is really important to put the right fuel in your car, it is important to fuel your body with the right foods. You need to be supplying yourself with all the energy and nutrients you need to run.
By not eating the right foods you’re putting yourself at a great disadvantage as you might end up not having enough energy for your runs. Running is a cardio exercise and requires lots of energy! On top of that its important to eat foods that will allow you to nourish your muscles so that you’re able to get stronger on your runs – and it gets easier!
Read our article on foods you MUST add to your diet if you’re a runner!
8. Not having the patience
Getting good at running takes time. You’re not gonna run for 2 weeks and become a marathon runner. Being a runner isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. And lifestyles take time to develop. Over time, you will get stronger and your runs will get easier. You’ll become the master of running forms and using your lungs to breathe just right on your runs. Running will start to feel as easy as walking and all the other benefits that will begin to pop up in your life will be there to show for it.
9. Not stretching both before and after
This isn’t just important its important for anyone who works out. Stretching before a workout helps losen up those tight muscles and joints which in turn makes your workout easier to do and go more smoothly.
Similarly, stretching after, helps with soreness (reducing it significantly) as well as flexibility and aches. So make sure to spare a few quick minutes for stretching before and after your runs!
One of the more overlooked running mistakes is – Overstriding. Overstricing can put you at a major disadvantage when you’re starting out as a runner. Not only does your impact with the ground after each stride become stronger, but you’re much more likely to exhaust yourself quickly and even injure yourself in your joint areas. If you feel yourself straining with each step, chances are, you’re overstriding. Thats a sign to slow down, reassess your form and your breathing and take small steps.
11. Not drinking enough water!
Running (especially outdoors) is a killer cardio workout! And it can leave you sweating buckets before you know it. By not making up for all of that by staying hydrated and drinking a lot of water, you can quickly exhaust yourself! This puts you at risk of dehydration and fatigue – which makes it very, very hard to run.
After you start running you should be drinking more water than you did before. If you struggle to remember to drink water, you can find many apps on the appstore that act as reminders to make sure you drink water throughout the day.
So keep a water bottle with you at all times (including when you’re going on your run) to remind yourself to stay hydrated.