Beginner Runner Beware: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

So you’re a beginner runner–that’s great! You got your new sneakers and are ready to hit the road. But be wise as you begin: Here are six mistakes to avoid as a beginner runner.

So you’re a beginner runner–that’s great! You got your new sneakers and are ready to hit the road. But be wise as you begin: Here are six mistakes to avoid as a beginner runner.

1. Not building gradually

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting something new. You’re committing to doing something good and healthy for yourself! More is better, right?

Not so. There is truth in the adage “too much of a good thing.” If you run too much, too quickly, you’re setting yourself up for injury, setback and discouragement.

Gradually increase your mileage and frequency of running. Its important to give yourself rest days.

2. Treating every run like a race

As a beginner runner, run at a pace that is comfortable for you. You don’t have to run fast to reap the benefits of running.

Performing too many runs at a hard effort can leave you burned out as well as lead to potential injury.

Start slow and steady. Build a good base first. Down the road if you plan to do a race and want to actually “race” it for a time goal, build speed work into your training.

But again, the miles should be comfortable at first before you even consider speed work.

3. Competing against others

As a beginner runner, you should not compare yourself with others. Compare yourself with yourself.

Everyone progresses at different rates. Your goal(s) should be centered around you doing better for your own sake initially.

A “race” for many recreational runners is not really a race against other runners, but an event that they participate in. Wrap your head around completing the event or the distance feeling good. Work on a time goal later.

4. Wearing sneakers until they’re “dead”

Replace your sneakers once the cushioning starts to go and before you start having pain from shoes that no longer offer any support.

Sneakers are typically good for 200 to 500 miles. It’s a good idea to keep track of how many miles you have on a given pair of sneakers.

Signs you need to replace them:

  • The cushioning at the heel is compressed on the in or outside
  • The tread is wearing off on the sole
  • You’re suddenly experiencing pain in both feet during or after a normal distance run.
  • You’re experiencing pain in both knees during or after a typical distance run.
  • You’ve worn them for 500 running miles already.

Depending on the type of sneaker you wear and how you run, you may need to replace closer to the 200 or 300 mile mark.

5. Wearing the wrong sneakers

Please, please, please go to a running shoe store and get fitted!

For one, make sure you’re wearing the right size. You need at least a full thumb’s width of room in the toe box beyond your longest toe (typically your big toe). For many, their running sneakers are a half size bigger than their casual shoes.

Trust me on this. Your feet, and more specifically, your toenails, will thank you for wearing the correct size.

Secondly, make sure you’re wearing the right level of support based on your foot structure. Flat feet, high arches, or neutral arches? A sales rep at a running store can direct you to which brands or styles would work better for you.

6. Overestimating your calorie burn

As a beginner runner, you may notice an uptick in your hunger. This is normal. Hunger typically increases with any new exercise or activity that you begin.

It’s ok to eat a little more, but not a lot more. I’m talking like 100-250 calories, not like a cheeseburger dinner with fries. Just because you started running, doesn’t mean you can, or should, eat anything you want.

This is especially true if you’re using running as a mode of weight loss. You want to be in a caloric deficit, not eat everything you burned and then some.

Your body will adjust to this new activity level and the hunger will subside.

If you start getting into longer runs (60 to 90 minutes or longer), then you need to consider fueling strategies, but that’s another topic entirely.

Avoid these mistakes to be a better runner

Follow these six easy tips to do things right from the get-go. You’ll be stronger, healthier and pain free. And ultimately, these things are what all runners want for a successful running journey.

Now get out there and put your sneakers to the pavement!

More tips, LIVE trainings and running advice

For more info as well as FREE live trainings, PDF downloads, advice and support on your running journey, join Running Community for Moms on Facebook! Just click HERE to become a member!

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