Common Mistakes Made by New Runners (And How to Fix Them)
Running can be a fairly easy sport for many people to take up. It is seen as requiring minimal effort and investment to get started. For those looking to run short distances, this is sometimes true, however those looking to take on running seriously and run marathons and ultra-races must put in this extra effort. It is very easy to make some common mistake when beginning to run. The mistakes that new runners make can generally be lumped into two main categories: not being prepared and overworking oneself. This is not an all-encompassing list of mistakes runners make, but they are some of the most common mistakes.
Part One: Not Being Prepared
Not Having the Correct Shoes
This is one of the most common mistakes people make, often times through no fault of their own. The shoes that you wear are very important for comfort and endurance during a run. Your old tennis shoes may have worked for 15 minute warm ups on the treadmill on the gym, but they are not appropriate for a longer run. On the same page, know what type of surface you will be running on. The shoes you want to wear while running on pavement are different than the best shoes for running on trails.
Solution: Make notes of how much you plan to run and on what surface. For beginners running shorter distances one good pair of shoes should suffice. If you are training for a longer race it is also a smart idea to have a few pair of shoes in rotation. RunnerClick has already compiled a list of great running shoes for beginners.
Eating Poorly Before a Run
Nutrition is key for any type of workout; however, it plays an even larger role with running. Along with fueling your body for the run, you must also take in account how the foods in your body will feel in your stomach during the run. Queasiness is a very common side effect in new runners because they planed their diet to fuel their bodies, but they may not have taken into account how well the food agrees with them.
Solution: There are many resources available online and in books that list foods to eat and foods to avoid before a run. However, it is most important to listen to your body to find the best pre run meals for you.
Not staying hydrated
Running is an endurance sport with a consistent loss of body water throughout the workout. Without rehydrating on a constant basis, your body will respond adversely with cramps, fatigue, and other ailments. Beginner runners usually go on shorter runs, but this does not mean that your body needs any less hydration. It is easy to go out for a run without remembering to drink before your run.
Solution: It is always a safe bet to drink water before and after you run. For those running longer distances a soft flask or hydration pack may be a good investment.
Constantly Running the Same Route
This was a trap that I fell into when I began running. Near my house there is a 100 or so mile trail that I could run to from my apartment. The problem was the only thing I ever ran were the few miles of the trail near my house and it got old quickly. This is a mistake a lot of new runners make. Humans need change and excitement in their life, especially when doing something they love. Running the same route can become monotonous and boring.
Solution: There are running paved running trails everywhere, you just have to look! Just be sure to have some device with GPS so you don’t get lost.
Not Planning for Chafing
Make no mistake about it, chafing will occur if you run long enough. The first parts of my body to ever chafe on a long run were my nipples which was a shock to me. I had not prepared for this at all. But other parts of your body can and will chafe as well, including your thighs and underarms. This generally only happens on longer runs, so if you are starting out slow and working your way up to longer runs be sure to keep this in mind.
Solution: Chafe cream, baby power, and band aids. You can also try to prevent chafing by buying clothing specifically designed for distance running.
Part Two: Overworking Yourself
Running Too Much Too Soon
Rest days are crucial in any exercise regimen, and running is no exception. Many new runners try to run every day, and work their way up to longer and longer runs without ever listening to their body and taking a break. Runners also make the mistake of running too far too soon. If you are not used to 10 mile runs, then it is not the best idea to be running 10 miles a day from the get go. As with any sport or skill you must practice and work your way up.
Solution: Create a training plan that includes sufficient rest days. Also, listen to your body, if you haven’t planned a rest day but your body is telling you that you need one skip the run.
Ignoring Other Forms of Training
Many people who want to become runners believe that to become the best runner they can be all they need to do is run. But running, just like every other sport, requires a combination of cardio and weight training and dynamic stretching. Weight training will help you build muscles used for running, and yoga will help to improve flexibility in your joints.
Solution: Be sure to stretch before and after runs and incorporate days of weight lifting and/or strength training in your training schedule. Both short distance and long distance runners should be varying their training.