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Whether you're taking your first steps or looking to improve your technique, you're in the right place. Running isn't just about moving fast—it's a journey of self-discovery and accomplishment.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of running, from avoiding common pitfalls to maximising your potential.

Why running is great for you

Running isn't just about breaking a sweat—it's a powerhouse of benefits for both your body and mind.

Running boosts your cardiovascular health, strengthening your heart muscle and improving circulation. Over time, this can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

It aids in weight management by torching calories like few other exercises, making it an effective tool for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Running reduces stress by melting away tension and releasing endorphins that leave you feeling relaxed and content.

It enhances mood, acting as a natural mood booster that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, leaving you with a sense of euphoria and well-being.

Regular running improves sleep quality and duration, ensuring you get the rest you need for optimal health and performance.

Running increases energy levels, leaving you feeling more energised throughout the day and banishing that mid-afternoon slump.

It strengthens the immune system, enhancing immune function and reducing your risk of illness and infection.

Running fosters social connections, whether you join a running group or simply hit the trails with a friend, strengthening bonds and fostering a sense of community.

It builds confidence by achieving your running goals, boosting your self-esteem and confidence in your abilities.

Running contributes to longevity by improving overall health and well-being, adding years to your life to enjoy the activities you love.

10 common mistakes new runners make

Starting out as a runner is exciting, but it can also be tricky. In this section, we'll talk about the typical mistakes new runners make. By understanding these slip-ups, you'll be better prepared to kick off your running journey smoothly.

1. Skipping warm-ups and cool downs 

Skipping warm-ups and cool downs is a common mistake among new runners, but it's one that can have serious consequences. Without a proper warm-up, muscles are tight and prone to injury, while skipping the cool down can leave muscles stiff and increase the risk of soreness and injury. 

Warm-ups get the blood flowing and mentally prepare runners for their workout, while cool downs allow the body to gradually return to its resting state and aid in recovery.

Incorporating these simple routines into a running regimen can make a world of difference in both performance and overall well-being, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable running experience in the long run.

2. Overtraining

Overtraining is a pitfall many new runners stumble into, often fueled by enthusiasm and a desire to progress quickly. However, pushing too hard without allowing adequate rest and recovery can lead to burnout and injury. Overtraining occurs when the body doesn't have enough time to repair and adapt to the stress of running, resulting in fatigue, decreased performance, and increased susceptibility to injuries like stress fractures, muscle strains, and tendonitis. 

It's important for new runners to recognize the signs of overtraining, such as persistent fatigue, decreased motivation, irritability, and disrupted sleep patterns, and to prioritise rest days and gradual progression in their training regimen to avoid falling into this common trap. By listening to their bodies and finding a balance between training and recovery, new runners can enjoy sustainable progress and long-term success in their running journey.

3. Ignoring proper form

Ignoring proper form is a mistake that can lead to inefficiency, discomfort, and even injury for new runners. Running with incorrect posture, stride, or breathing techniques can put unnecessary stress on the body and increase the risk of issues like shin splints, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. 

Proper form not only helps runners move more efficiently and with less effort but also reduces the impact on joints and muscles, leading to a more enjoyable and sustainable running experience. New runners should focus on maintaining a relaxed posture, landing lightly on their feet with a midfoot strike, and breathing deeply and rhythmically to optimise their performance and minimise the risk of injury.

4. Neglecting strength training

Neglecting strength training is a common misstep for new runners, yet it's a vital aspect of a comprehensive training regimen often overlooked. Running predominantly engages lower body muscles, but without complementary strength training, muscle imbalances and weaknesses can arise, heightening the risk of injury. Incorporating strength exercises targeting areas like the core, hips, and upper body not only bolsters overall strength but also improves stability and prevents overuse injuries such as runner's knee or IT band syndrome. 

By integrating regular strength sessions into their routine, novice runners can fortify their bodies, enhance performance, and ensure a balanced and resilient foundation for their running endeavours.

5. Not listening to your body

Not listening to your body is a common mistake that can have serious consequences for new runners. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a running routine and push through discomfort or ignore warning signs of fatigue or injury. However, failing to tune into your body's signals can lead to overexertion, burnout, and even injury. 

Your body communicates its needs through sensations like pain, fatigue, and discomfort, and it's important to heed these signals and adjust your training accordingly. Whether it's taking a rest day when you're feeling particularly tired or easing off the pace when something doesn't feel quite right, listening to your body is essential for staying healthy and injury-free as you build your running stamina. 

6. Wearing the wrong shoes

Wearing the wrong shoes is a mistake that can wreak havoc on a new runner's journey. Ill-fitting or unsuitable footwear can lead to discomfort, pain, and even injury, as they fail to provide the necessary support and cushioning to absorb impact and protect the feet. Running in shoes that don't match your foot type, running style, or terrain can increase the risk of blisters, shin splints, and stress fractures. It's essential to invest in proper running shoes that offer adequate support, cushioning, and stability for your individual needs. 

Visiting Rebel Sport for a professional fitting or consulting with a podiatrist can help ensure you find the right shoes to keep you comfortable and injury-free on your running journey. Remember, the right pair of shoes can make all the difference in your running experience, so don't underestimate their importance.

7. Poor nutrition and hydration

Neglecting proper nutrition and hydration is a common misstep that can significantly impact a new runner's performance and overall well-being. Fueling your body with the right nutrients and staying adequately hydrated is essential for maintaining energy levels, supporting muscle recovery, and optimising performance. Without the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals, runners may experience fatigue, cramping, and decreased endurance. 

Similarly, dehydration can impair physical and cognitive function, leading to decreased performance and an increased risk of heat-related illnesses. To avoid these pitfalls, it's crucial for new runners to prioritise a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, and to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day and before, during, and after runs.

8. Setting unrealistic goals

Setting unrealistic goals is a common trap that many new runners fall into, often fueled by enthusiasm and a desire for rapid progress. While it's natural to aim high, setting goals that are overly ambitious or unrealistic can lead to frustration, burnout, and even injury. New runners may set goals that are too aggressive in terms of pace, distance, or frequency of training, which can result in feelings of failure or disappointment when they aren't met. 

Instead, it's important for new runners to set SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound—that align with their current fitness level, lifestyle, and long-term aspirations.  

9. Comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is a common trap that new runners can easily fall into, but it's one that can sabotage your motivation and enjoyment of running. Each runner has their own unique journey, with different starting points, goals, and abilities. Constantly measuring yourself against others can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and demotivation, especially if you perceive others as faster, stronger, or more experienced than you. 

Instead of focusing on external benchmarks or comparing yourself to others, it's important to embrace your own progress and celebrate your individual achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Remember that every run is an opportunity for growth and improvement, and that your journey is yours alone.

10. Neglecting recovery

Neglecting recovery is a common oversight among new runners, yet it's a crucial aspect of any training regimen that directly impacts performance and injury prevention. Running puts stress on the body, breaking down muscle tissue and taxing the cardiovascular system. 

Without adequate recovery, the body doesn't have the opportunity to repair and rebuild, leading to fatigue, decreased performance, and an increased risk of injury. Recovery encompasses various strategies, including proper nutrition, hydration, rest, and recovery modalities like stretching, foam rolling, and massage. 

Shop beginner’s running essentials at Rebel Sport

By tackling common mistakes like skipping warm-ups and ignoring proper form, new runners can set themselves up for success. Remember to listen to your body, set achievable goals, and celebrate your progress.

Ready to gear up for your next run? Check out Rebel Sport for all your running needs.