By Tina Haupert, Health.com
Given that it’s so easy to take up the sport, a lot of beginners jump right into running without actually knowing what it takes to establish a healthy routine. Many make a number of common mistakes, which can interfere with training or lead to injury. If you’re just starting out, keep these things in mind to help you increase your chances of running success.
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Doing too much too soon
One of the biggest mistakes newbie runners make is doing too much too soon. Picking up a new hobby like running is no doubt exciting, but novice runners need to ease into the sport by building up a mileage base before increasing the distance, intensity, and frequency of their runs. Slowly easing into a training program will help reduce the risk of injury, so you can continue on with your new running routine. Many experts suggest increasing your mileage by no more than 10% each week.
Not taking rest days
Beginners might think they need to run every day (or nearly every day) to meet their fitness or weight-loss goals, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Running is a high-impact activity which can be really hard on your body, especially for novice runners whose muscles and bones haven’t yet been conditioned for such intense exercise. So it’s important to give your body ample rest between workouts. Follow a training plan that includes rest days.
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Not wearing the right gear
While it may be true that you don’t need expensive equipment to take up running, it’s important that you wear proper gear for your workouts. The most important piece of equipment for running is a good pair of running shoes, so be sure to do some research before you purchase a pair. Visit a running specialty store and ask an employee to fit you for a shoe. They will analyze your gait and then recommend a few options in your budget. Also essential: A supportive sports bra.
When newbies take up running, they typically dive head first into their training with run after run. Running definitely makes you a better runner, but not if your regular exercise routine lacks variety in the form of cross-training. It’s important to mix up your workouts so you’re not always using the same muscles, which can put you at risk for overuse injuries and ultimately derail your efforts.
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Running through pain
Running can be uncomfortable at times, especially for new runners. That feeling is all part of becoming a better runner, but pain is a different story altogether. If something hurts when you run, you need to stop and treat the pain. Remember: It doesn’t make you less of a runner if you listen to your body to keep it healthy. Don’t run through pain unless you want to end up on the sidelines.
Comparing yourself to others
When you’re just starting out with running, it’s tough not to compare yourself to others. You’re excited about running, so you’re probably reading running blogs, magazines, and message boards where you might start to feel inadequate about your own mileage or running pace. Instead of getting down on yourself, remember that every runner was once a beginner and use their success as motivation!
This article originally appeared on Health.com.