We’ve all been there – we want to start exercising but we’re not sure how. We figure jogging is a good place to start, but we’ve never really jogged before. We start asking ourselves questions like “How fast should I go?” “What shoes should I wear?” “Am I even using the proper form?”
Eventually all of these questions lead to mistakes. Luckily, here’s a list of the five most common ones and how to fix them, so you can start jogging and not have to worry.
Starting too fast
The most common mistake new runners make: going too hard, too fast. By not easing into it, you end up exhausted much sooner than expected, and the tail end of your run becomes a wind-sucking session. This can make running seem too hard, which can lead you to quit your program all together.
Solution: The key is pacing yourself; running is a sport in which progress is especially slow and gradual. If you’re running outside, downloading a pacing app like RunKeeper (free, iTunes and Google Play) can help you keep track of your speed. Start off at a moderate pace, and gradually increase throughout your run. This will make for not only a more enjoyable run, but it’s also the key to building endurance.
Wearing the wrong shoes
Maybe you’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating. You may think because your feet feel okay, and you’re not getting blisters, you’re in the clear. But poor-fitting shoes can cause all sorts of unexpected problems: ankle pain, hip pain, even shoulder pain, and so on. This is why I think of the wrong shoes as the “silent killer” of running programs.
Solution: The best advice is to sidestep this from the get-go. Hit your local running store and have them fit you for the proper shoes. They will look at your gait and see what areas of your feet take on the most pressure while you walk and run. The right shoe will take your runs to a whole new level.
Setting unrealistic goals
It’s very easy to get caught up in what others are doing and try to match up with them, especially when it comes to running. But remember: the only person you should be competing against is yourself. If you’re a brand new runner, trying to run a 5k straight through right off the bat is likely going to leave you feeling discouraged. It’s okay—even recommended—to start with an even smaller goal, like running a mile. And then move forward from there.
Solution: Start with a realistic program that will help you build the strength and endurance to reach your running goal. For example, start with a run/walk program that allows you to take rests in between each set of running. Over time, you’ll build the endurance to run all the way through with no breaks.