4 newbie running mistakes you can easily avoid

November 3, 2015

Running can be extremely challenging for beginners, and it is difficult to prevent hang-ups from wearing you down. However, since running provides endless psychological and physical benefits, here are the five most common mistakes beginners make and how you can avoid them.

4 newbie running mistakes you can easily avoid

1. Obsessing over times

All runners want good times per kilometre or per run. But new runners often obsess over their running times much sooner than they should, which can easily result in injury and frustration.

Trying to increase speed too soon can cause some of the worst running pains, such as pulled quadriceps.

The quads are often hurt when running speed is increased too fast — either during a single run or in general. Injury to the quadriceps is usually quite painful and can make even walking difficult for a while.

Increasing your speed too quickly can also cause shin splints and problems with your knees.

2. Ignoring injuries

If you have nagging aches and pains, listen to your body and take at least a day or two off before you continue training.

Most injuries get much worse — not better — if you continue to run right through them.

Rest days are important for beginners, especially after a very hard run. And remember to observe rest weeks, during which you drop your distance down to 50 percent of your normal amount.

If you can't stay still while nursing an injury, try cross-training activities such as swimming or use an elliptical machine. Just remember that impact cardio exercise is not your friend if you have a significant running injury.

3. Improper fluid intake and nutrition

To prevent side aches during a run, some beginners make the mistake of avoiding fluid intake.

Side aches can be annoying, but they are usually the result of either excess fluid or improper breathing technique. Take deep breaths through the mouth and drink water in moderation to prevent side aches.

In addition, you should never let yourself begin a run without attaining adequate hydration.

As for nutrition, some newbies eat too much when they begin training. They mistakenly believe that they'll run off all the calories and carbs, so food choice is irrelevant.

But, while running is great for burning off calories, it isn't an excuse to load up on bad food.

Other beginners make a mistake that's just as bad: they don't eat enough. Inadequate nutrition causes injuries and fatigue, and it can potentially lead to some severe health problems. Find the right balance in your diet to get the most out of your running.

4. Poor shoe choices

The wrong footwear can kill your progress as a runner and cause avoidable shin and knee injuries. Do yourself a favour and go to a running-shoe store.

This extra pair of shows may seem like an unnecessary expense, but the staff at these retailers are trained to determine the proper shoes for your exact running style and foot type.

Enjoy the "king of exercises"

Famed martial artist Bruce Lee called running "the king of exercises," and the benefits of the activity are immense. But, as with anything that can have a lot of benefits, it's also important that you build yourself up slowly. Doing so can help you avoid common mistakes and injuries that new runners often make.

So, if you're taking up running, keep these four newbie mistakes in mind — and avoid them.

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