I always get so pumped when I hear that one of my friends has started running. Of course, I want to be that super annoying person that wants to instill all the knowledge of running on them to make sure they have the most perfect running experience.
I try to restrain myself because who really wants to hear all of that before you’ve had a chance to fall in love with the sport. Once you have, there are no limits to how much you can talk about running. Right?
Anyways, there are always five things that I tell newbies NOT to do as a new runner.
1. Set yourself up for burnout.
As tough as it is, you need to start slowly. Most likely, you heard from a friend about how awesome running is and you were inspired to run. That person may be running four, six or 10 miles at a time. It may be tempting to jump in and start going at it with the same intensity. However, this can set you up for failure in two ways: 1) injury and 2) burnout.
I had a friend in Florida who told me he was going to start running. I suggested that he start running 10-15 minutes three times that week, and build it up slowly. What did he do that week? Ran one hour a day for the first two days, got super sore and tired, and that was the end of his running journey.
So, think about your workout in term of minutes. Don’t do miles… not yet. Once you can run 30 minutes consistently, then transition to talking in terms of miles. Start slowly. If you aren’t used to running, do 15 minutes a few times a week. Build that up gradually. It doesn’t seem so bad if you can just spend 15 minutes a day…
2. Say “I’m not a real runner.”
This is the phrase that drives me up a wall! I hate when I talk to new runners who are like “well, I’m not a real runner.” What do you mean you aren’t a real runner? I have heard people say that they don’t feel like they are a runner until they get to that point where they don’t hate running. I don’t think that’s true.
3. Buy all the gear.
Fuel belts. Gu. Compression socks. Fancy shorts. Visors. Foam Rollers. There is a LOT of stuff that is marketed to runners. And so many newbies think that in order to walk the walk (or is it run the run?), they have to buy it all. Not true. Start off with a pair of good shoes (good shoes are so important!), some comfortable gear depending on your climate and you are good to go!
Once you get into the sport, you’ll figure out what extra gear you need. Most of the time, your aches and pains will dictate what you decide to buy… or simply convenience. I do recommend that one of the gear items you invest in sooner rather than later is a Road ID or something similar to make sure you can always be identified.
That doesn’t mean you can’t dream of all the stuff you may need in the future…
4. Sign up for a marathon.
I am not saying that you can never run a marathon, just don’t do it the day you start running. You are putting unreasonable pressure on yourself and taking the fun out of the sport! You’ll have this huge thing hanging over your head and not be able to fall in love with the sport.
So yes, you can sign up for a marathon. Just wait. Give yourself at least 3-4 months to just RUN. Try a 5k or a 10k. But don’t even think about signing up for that marathon before you’ve been running for that long. Plus that will help you build up a good base which is essential to training for a marathon.
5. Forget about building ALL your muscles.
This has been a REALLY big focus for me lately, and let’s be honest. It should have always been a focus. Bottom line: Having strong non-running muscles can make you a better runner.
Make sure you are spending at least two days a week strength training your arms and core, and consider other cardio exercises like spin or swimming on your cross-training days.
What advice do you have for new runners?
What’s the #1 thing you wished you knew when you started out running?
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