Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people have decided to take up running as a way to remain active and fit. If you’re a new runner, you’re busy learning the ins and outs of the sport, but without proper guidance, it can be easy to make rookie mistakes. Some of these mistakes are relatively harmless (you might overdress one day or not eat enough and bonk on another), but others can lead to injury, which will bring your young career as a runner to an unwelcome halt. Here are five classic mistakes that many runners before you have made, so take note and do your best to avoid them in your own training.
Take it easy
A lot of new runners are eager to run quickly, and it’s reasonable to assume that you should run fast to get faster. While it’s true that speedwork is a necessary part of any runner’s weekly schedule, it’s extremely important to take it slow on your easy days. Forget about your pace, take your ego out of it and enjoy the run. Listen to some music or a podcast and save your legs for your next hard session.
Be careful not to overdo it in training. Rest days are just as important as any other part of your training schedule. They give you the chance to recover, both mentally and physically. If you don’t take those days off, your body will eventually force you to stop, whether that’s due to injury or illness. Take it easy, enjoy your rest day and be ready to hit the track, road or trails again tomorrow.
Remember your strength sessions
A good training schedule includes strength sessions. You might not think hitting the weights are necessary for runners, but a bit of work in the gym is very important for injury-prevention. You can’t go to the gym right now, but the Canadian Running site has many articles on at-home strength routines that require little to no equipment.
Curb your expectations
When you start something new, an entirely world of possibility opens up to you. This can be super exciting, and while it’s important to set goals, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s great if you want to hit a certain 5K time this year, but you have to work up to your goals. You can’t expect to go from not running at all to hitting a sub-20-minute PB in a matter of weeks or months. Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself and work toward them patiently. You’ll get there eventually, but if you try to rush it, you could burn yourself out.
Focus on yourself
Apps like Strava and other forms of social media are a great way to connect with other runners, but don’t compare yourself to the people you follow. If you focus too much on other people, you’ll stop feeling good about what you have accomplished and instead worry about the things they do better than you. Do yourself a favour and forget about everyone else.