Running is a very simple thing to do. Generally, there are things you pick up over time but the act of running is easy. As humans, we just do it. As we become experienced, mistakes are made. Mistakes can be minor like wearing cotton, not wearing sunscreen when it’s hot, and forgetting to bring a headlamp. On the contrary, they can also be dangerous. For example, you could wear the wrong kinds of socks, resulting in bad blisters. The wrong kind of shoes can cause foot injuries. The good news is a lot of mistakes are largely avoidable with a little research. In an effort to help new runners avoid such mistakes, here are five mistakes every new runner should avoid.
Doing Too Much And Not Doing Enough Often
It’s January 1st. At the New Year’s party, you made a resolution to run one hour a day. In truth, you haven’t run a straight 5 minutes since you were in high school PE! A few days have passed and the workload is too much. On the 3rd day, you decide to sleep in because the workload is too much. You do that on the 4th day. Two days become two weeks. Two weeks become two months. Don’t be afraid to be seen starting small! In other words, focus on your fitness levels and set reasonable goals. Truly, I cannot stress this enough! Even 10 minutes a day makes a huge difference! To summarize, do less if you have to but stick with it!
Wearing The Wrong Shoes
If there is one thing you should never cheap out on as a runner, it’s your shoes. Above all, running is a sport that utilizes your feet. Sometimes we take our two feet for granted. For this reason, many runners (including myself) end up with terrible injuries to the tendons, feet, knees, hamstrings, and more. My advice is to go to your local running specialty store. Although it may cost slightly more, your feet (and your pockets) will thank you in the long run. Of the five mistakes every new runner should avoid, this is the most avoidable!
While it’s true that running will make you a better runner, you don’t have to only run to become a better athlete. In addition, running is a very high-impact sport that can be mentally taxing. There are many low-impact alternatives that can work the same muscle groups, such as biking, hiking, weightlifting, and swimming. Unsurprisingly, many pro runners have race season down to an art. In other words, they focus more on running during the period in which they have their major races of the year, but focus on other activities during their “off-season”. For me, that off-season includes dialing up my strength training, biking, and hiking.
Not Setting Goals
Personally, I’m a goal-setter. Over time, I have learned that it’s the journey and not the end result. Set goals to find that journey. Maybe you want to run 10 minutes. Maybe you want to run your first marathon. Perhaps you want to do your first trail race. To this end, having a goal in mind that you can break down into smaller tasks to achieve will give your running purpose and direction. Goal-setting only has to be good enough to keep you growing. Ultimately, the goal is entirely your choice.
Not Having Fun
Running is such a simple thing to do. It brings so much joy. In truth, training at a high level means discomfort and not liking what you do all the time. While this may be true, running still brings me joy in the unconventional sense. Even during a hard race, I smile. With a great community and two amazing feet, running can bring you fun anywhere! Just give it a shot!