Beginner Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

December 11, 2023

Coming into the new year, many people may want to take up running as a new hobby in an attempt to kickstart 2024 on the right track. With this in mind, I asked experienced runners if they had any tips or advice for newcomers to the running community, and what beginner mistakes to look out for and avoid.

I took my idea into the Dublin Marathon Runners group on Facebook and received incredible feedback. ‘Running every run as hard as possible - I know I done this for a long time until a friend pulled me up on it and explained the benefits of running slow to run fast. Changed my whole perspective.’ This piece of advice definitely holds a lot of weight. It can be easy to think that you must run as hard and as fast as you can to build up fitness and reach PBs, but this runner says that it changed his whole perspective on running when he began ‘running slow to run fast’.

Another contributor told me the importance of a good running coach. ‘Get a coach and follow a plan, if there’s no target race in the near future a coach will map out a good baseline training, correct your running form, and most importantly, a good coach will give you tough love!’ It’s a great idea to get that experience that a running coach provides early on. Even if it is just until you feel comfortable in your own form and fitness, the coaches are trained and know what they are looking at. They know how to get the best out of you.

The next couple of contributors emphasised the importance of taking breaks not being afraid of running slow or even walking. ‘One of the key things is not to be afraid of having an easy week. Beginners always want to keep upping milage every week and so do some coaches with beginners. An easy week is vital every third or fourth week to allow the body to recover and then go again into three hard weeks. This is a mistake almost all runners make and when you keep pushing it eventually leads to injury or fatigue. Always remember your rest day could be your most important training day of the week but it may also be the most difficult to do.’

‘Building up is slow, and it’s perfectly okay to take walking breaks. Don’t be worrying about the “pro” sprinting past you!’ This is a vital piece of advice. When you are starting out, experienced runners are bound to pass you out. Don’t let that affect you or your confidence!

Hit your stride in 2024 and keep these tips and pieces of advice in mind when tackling your own running journey!

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