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3 Mistakes I Made When I Started Running, and What I did Right

When I ran my first mile three years ago my only goal was not to stop.  I also intended it to only be 1 mile.  I never expected to run it very fast and I never thought I’d go over a mile.  But I was in a Fitness Challenge with a mom’s workout group, surrounded by runners… And I’ve decided it’s just contagious.  I quickly made a 5K goal for myself.

3 mistakes I made when I started running, and what I did right

As a beginner runner I made a few major mistakes.

1.  I Broke the 10-Percent Rule

  • To increase your milage safely, and decrease your chances of injury, you should only run 10% further than the week before.   For example, if you ran 3 miles last week, you should only run 3.3 this week.

When I began making race goals for myself I was so excited I just went out and started running.  I did not do any research on how much or how far I should run.  I didn’t hire a coach or find a program online, I just went out and ran.  I mean it sounded so easy, you want to run further, you just go out and run further!  I had no idea that I was setting myself up for failure.  Not mentally but physically.

  • As I learned in Physical Therapy 6 months after I began running– there is a 10-Percent Rule.
  • My body began to break down because I was not increasing my milage correctly.  And then I ended up injuring myself and going to Physical Therapy and I had to take 6-weeks off in the middle of my training.

2.  I Didn’t Research Running Nutrition

  • You need nutrition during a run, especially when you begin increasing your milage past a 5K.
  • I would hit “a wall.”  When you hit a wall when doing any workout, you feel like you can’t finish.  All of a sudden you feel like you just can’t take another step, you might slow way off your goal pace, or find you’re extremely hungry or thirsty.

It’s important to realize that you are burning A LOT of calories when you are running and as you increase your milage your body needs to refuel in order to keep your goal pace and go further.  When I began running I had never done any activity out of a gym and did not realize that there are a whole new set of requirements to make sure your body performs at the level you wish it to.

3.  I Didn’t Stretch!

  • This is SO simple and even seasoned runners make this mistake.
  • It is important to stretch every day.
  • Yoga a few times a week is wonderful and my Physical Therapist recommends 45 minutes twice a week to develop overall body strength and flexibility.
  • Stretching will not only make you a stronger athlete but will also prevent injuries.

What I did Right:

  • I went to a running store and got fitted for a running shoe.
    • I found out I was wearing a sneaker a whole size too small and that I needed a shoe that would correct the way I landed while running.  I highly recommend getting fitted for a running shoe before increasing your milage.
  • Most importantly–  I found a group of friends to run with!
    • Having accountability when you have to wake up at 5 am was key to my success!  I still need to meet someone for a run to make myself go do it.  Plus, it’s amazing how fast a long run will go when you are talking to a friend.  All of a sudden you don’t realize you’re running faster, going further, and actually looking forward to that Saturday morning run.


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