Where are my new runners at? You know who you are, you found me after countless hours of pinning "How To Make Running Easier" articles or reading millions of "My First Half Marathon" race recaps. How you feeling new runners? Excited? Annoyed? Pre-Occupied? A little hesitant? Yeah that's all normal. Been there! (Still go there.) Let's discuss some of the common mistakes new runners make:
1. Worrying About Pace.
Am I to fast? To slow? What pace should I be at?!?! WHAT'S NORMAL? Stop worrying about your pace! Stop it! Do I care if you're clocking a 6 minute mile or a 12 minute mile? No. No I don't so why are you? If you're a slow runner guess what, you're only going to get faster. If you're already a fast runner, well, I've got nothing for you because I don't know what that's like. Set small, manageable weekly goals and take it one step at a time. Don't worry about anything except working towards being able to run from start to finish without walking.
2. Over Thinking It.
Are you heavily invested In online articles? Do you spend your spare time reading every single article Runner's World has to offer? Take a step back and snap out of it. Will being informed help you? Yes. Will obsessively consuming every piece of running information help you? No. You are holding a one way ticket to overwhelmed-ville USA. Take a step back and just focus on the basics. You have to walk before you can run right?
3. Message Boards.
I have a personal vendetta against message boards because I don't believe anyone should be allowed to hide behind anonymity online. If you want to make any sort of comment you should have to identify yourself. And I've yet to see a message board that wasn't full of people complaining or ripping people apart. If you want to become a member of a supportive online community of runners, I love it. Do it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or some social platform where you engage and build friendships with real people who you'll eventually meet because that's what runners do. We meet each other online and try to meet up at a race. Join the #RunSelfieRepeat movement or the amazing #WeRunSocial movement. There's no reason to be anonymous in the running community. Just don't you dare go on a message board. Don't you do it.
4. Taking It A Little To Seriously.
This is your reality check new runner. Snap out of it. Are you out for a world record? Is your career running? No? Then find the balance between pursuing your personal best and having the time of your life. All work and no play makes for really tiresome runners. Aint nobody got time for that. Pump the brakes super serious runner.
5. Running In The Wrong Shoes.
Yes it is possible you are wearing the "wrong" shoes. Will it kill you? No. I ran the first two months of my running life in shoes that were a size and a half to small. I didn't know any better! Go to a really good specialty running store to get analyzed and fitted. And don't spend more than $125 on shoes. For more information on how not to spend a million dollars on shoes, CLICK HERE.
6. Relying on Energy Gels and Sports Drinks.
Running supplements and fueling is very confusing. Here is the best piece of advice I can give you, everyone fuels differently and you have to find what works for you. But a general rule of thumb is that you shouldn't use sports drinks if you're running less than 60 minutes and you should only use energy gels for runs longer than 90 minutes. We use energy gels because your body depletes its' glycogen stores after 60-90 minutes of running so energy gels help your muscles stay fueled. For more fueling and supplement 101 CLICK HERE.
7. Not Having Fun.
This is self explanatory. You have, have, have to have fun. Will every run be fun? No. Most runs are not going to be fun. But you have to schlep through the tough runs to be able to enjoy the fun runs. You have to have fun! And if you're not having fun, surround yourself with fun runners.
8. Doing To Much.
You're not invincible new runners and you have to take care of yourself. Remember slow and steady wins the race. I know you want to go far and fast as soon as possible but one thing running will teach you is patience. You have to be patient with yourself, patient with your running, and patient with your training. Good things come to those who wait. Stay injury free. Go slow.
9. Running For the Wrong Reasons.
Tie your running to a goal. It doesn't matter if that goal is being able to run 1 mile without stopping or to run a marathon, run for a goal. A goal can be to clear your mind, to run 3 days a week to maintain your health or to find that 30-60 minutes where you can escape your significant other and/or kids. Goals will hold you accountable when the going gets tough and the last thing you want to do is go for a run.
New runners this is a list of goals you need to hold close to your heart.
- To Not Quit.
- Have Fun.
- Self Improvement.
- Get fit and healthy.
- Build confidence.
- Get Stronger.
- To feel like a runner.
- Make someone jealous. (OK maybe not this one...but I'll be honest, a part of me stuck with running so I could be like "Yeah, I run marathons now. So if you want to make someone jealous you have my support.)
The hardest part about becoming a new runner is sticking through those really shitty first couple of weeks and/or months. But set a goal, try to have fun and remember that it's in pain and discomfort that change lives. You're limitless and if you don't believe me, running will prove it to you. It only get's easier. (Kind of...)
What's some advice you would give to new runners? Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.