Although starting running can be one amazing experience, there are some common running mistakes beginners do, which can make this experience less enjoyable. If you are a new runner and you love your new hobby, I would gladly suggest you pay attention to these mistakes because you don’t want to find yourself injured or unhappy with your running state.
I will try to identify the most common mistakes beginners do and give you a solution on how to fix them. And don’t worry – I am aware of these things because, just like you, I have been there and I want to help and prevent you from learning things the hard way.
Now, let’s start with some friendly runners tips created specifically for all running newbies!
1. Choosing proper running shoes
When I started running, I was wearing just basic sneakers, definitely not running shoes. I will tell you this – a huge mistake! My legs were hurting, but I assumed it is just my body adapting to the new activity I have chosen. How silly.
Later on, I figured there is something called “running shoes” and once I got a pair, it was such a relief! My running became so much more enjoyable and my body felt good again. Nowadays, the internet gives us so much knowledge but when I was young, this issue wasn’t that obvious as it sounds now.
Quick fix: I hope everyone is benefitting from the resources we have in 2021 and invests in good running shoes.
2. Choosing proper running gear
Not only the shoes are important, but also your overall comfort. Some people like to dress up more and some people prefer to run with less, but what matters the most is the quality of the clothes you choose. Based on your current weather, choose materials that can dry fast, keep you cool, or are waterproof. This can make a huge difference in your running because you want to keep your body temperature right.
Quick fix: go to your local running store and find the good-fitting running gear that will make your run enjoyable and fast!
3. Trying to do too much
When you get into running you may be tempted to quickly increase your mileage or the volume of kilometers you run per day/ week. But be patient! Doing too much when you are not ready is not good for your body. You can easily get injured. Furthermore, the incorrect running program or lack of any program may slow down your athletics progress.
Quick fix: Be patient, use our Virtual Running Coach provided by Vitesse Running and listen to your body. It is always good to start from the beginner/fat-burning category and move forward gradually to 5k and upwards. Our coach will quickly adapt to you and find the proper volume for your fitness level.
4. Going way too fast
I’ve seen so many new runners who run way too fast consistently for their level. Do not get me wrong here – it is great to have days when you run fast, it is even necessary. But you don’t need to run fast EVERY DAY. Moreover, it is not healthy. It can cause you to end up injured or extra tired consistently. This is not good for your running, neither for your health overall. Running can be very taxing on your body and immune system if done improperly.
Quick fix: If you are a new runner don’t try to run fast more than two, a maximum of three times a week. If you feel lost here, you can again turn to our Virtual Coach who will provide and suggest the right intensity for you.
5. Not understanding what recovery really means
Running easy is a definition that everybody understands differently. I would like to divide running into recovery and easy days. For example, easy runs will be those that feel good and relatively effortless, and some days I may even be surprised that those easy runs are also fast-paced simply because I feel good.
On other hand, recovery runs are the days when you run with the simple purpose to RECOVER, which generally means SLOW running, even if you feel like flying for the day.
Quick fix: Save your energy for later, when you have a workout, tempo, sprint, fartlek or long run. Use the recovery days for their purpose – to RECOVER. The pace is irrelevant here, it is about going as slowly as you can to allow your body to recover completely.
6. Adding too much variety too soon
You are new to running but you’ve seen so many different options of workouts. You are excited and you want to try it all and you throw a workout “here and there”. Sounds exciting but it is critical that your program has some STRUCTURE and relies on consistency. Without these two, you can either get injured or over-exhausted.
Quick fix: Rely on your program. It will take time and you will have an opportunity to try different types of workouts each week. To make them work to your advantage, you have to follow a specific structure that will build you as a runner consistently.
7. Not fueling properly
Yes, nutrition is CRUCIAL! We have talked and we will talk about that a lot on our blog.
I often see people skipping snacks and post-run fuel because they want to lose weight or just because they lack the knowledge on how to properly cover their nutritional needs. If your goal is weight-loss, you can have a very good result even if you snack before and after a run. This is the time when your body really needs all the nutrients. Not eating enough calories around your runs will make you feel dizzy, tired, and not recovered for the next day.
Quick fix: In general, make sure you fuel prior to your run and immediately after. Aim for some simple carbs before the run and some form of carbs + protein right after.
8. Not hydrating enough
This one is obvious. You lose a lot of fluids on the run so you need to take them back into your system, otherwise, you will get dehydrated and this is something you don’t want for yourself. It will impair not only your running performance but your health as well.
Quick fix: Drink enough fluids and add some electrolytes to your drinks (yes this is really important).
9. Not sleeping enough
Many of us stay awake around midnight or later. But if you are a runner and if you are running a lot currently, sleep is your best friend. Sleeping is extremely critical for your recovery and energy levels. If you sleep less than 6-7h a night, you need to get better with it immediately.
Quick fix: If you struggle to sleep during the night, take more naps during the day. Avoid drinking caffeine later in the day and turn off your electronic devices around an hour before bedtime. A good book is a good alternative to help you fall asleep.
10. Running way too much on a hard surface
I don’t know why but almost every beginner I know runs on asphalt or tartan mainly. Yes, they feel fast but they should be used purposefully for your workout days, not for everyday use. They can cause a lot of injuries and leave your legs tired and heavy if you use them daily.
Quick fix: Do your easy and recovery days on a grass field or dirt road. This will save your legs and longevity in the sport.
11. Getting obsessed with running
Yes, running is awesome. It can be a life-changer for many of us. But we get easily trapped and running becomes more of a burden than a joy. If you are getting too much into it, you may become way too moody if you have a bad running day. You can get obsessed with your running paces and weekly volume. You can start to experience negative emotions and feel like a failure if you don’t race up to your potential. Before you know it, you start to isolate yourself and overthinking your running situation. I would say that most of us have been there at some point (including me!) This is not the relationship you want to have with running.
Quick fix: Don’t forget to enjoy running. Although there will be bad days and races, they are there to teach us something and makes us stronger- not to destroy us. If you feel like your running is getting too intense, back up and give your body more rest. With the right program, you will achieve what you want. It is just a matter of time, consistency, and a positive attitude.
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