Running can be a rewarding, lifelong activity for people of all ages. Its health and wellness benefits are numerous, and the fact that it requires minimal equipment means just about everyone can participate. Often the hardest part for new runners is taking that first stride.
To ensure a safe and effective starter training program, be careful to avoid these common mistakes.
Over-exerting – Doing too much too soon can result in exhaustion and injury, if not careful. Be okay with starting slowly to your abilities, and you’ll reach that 5K in no time!
Not taking a break – Similarly to doing too much too soon, thinking you need to run every day to meet your goals couldn’t be further from the truth. Running is high-impact, meaning rest days are very important.
Running inconsistently – Running too sporadically, or taking too many rest days in a row, can harm your training program. Be consistent while you build endurance.
Wearing the wrong gear – Just because the shoe says it’s meant for running doesn’t mean it’s perfect for your body. A good pair of shoes is the most important piece of running equipment, so getting fitted by an expert is key.
Sticking to the same pace – After you’ve gotten comfortable with your pace in the first month or two, gradually increase your speed and/or duration of runs to keep that momentum going.
Not strength training – It can feel good to stick to only running, but in order to get the maximum benefits (and better prevent injury), cross-training with another form of exercise will fully condition your body.
Training through pain – That small annoyance or discomfort is not something to simply “work out.” Take a rest, ice, stretch better. You don’t want that little pain to become something larger.
Comparing yourself to others – Everyone had to start somewhere. Remember where you currently are in your training, and stick to your personal goals. You’re already better than you were yesterday.