You said you wouldn’t, but you’ve jumped on board the running bandwagon. It’s everywhere right now, so it’s pretty hard not to get involved – everyone’s doing it, right? Whether you’re Week 1 or Week 10 into your new running regime, the advice here is the same – don’t get caught in the injury cycle before you reach your first 5km.

Taking the time to make yourself familiar with these common mistakes made by new runners will hopefully help you avoid being side-lined!

Mistake 1 – Too much, too soon
After the initial struggle with running, you will suddenly start feeling bursts of euphoria on completion of a run session, AKA – the ‘Runner’s High’. You feel satisfied, less anxious, relaxed and all is right in the world. Pretty soon you want to experience this feeling more and more, but don’t get sucked in!
  • Avoid it – Follow the plan Stan! Hopefully, you’re following the advice of a fellow runner or running coach (nudge, nudge) and they have provided you with a plan realistic to YOU. Do not divert from the plan! Doing too much, too soon will surely lead you down the path to injury. Ignore the seductive voice of the Runner’s High and stick with the program.
Mistake 2 – No rest for the wicked
I can hear you thinking “Enough with the Runner’s High already”, but it’s about to rear up its ugly head again. It’s also responsible for not allowing yourself to rest, and rest, you must! No rest means inadequate recovery, which you guessed it – leads to injury!
  • Avoid it – Take your rest days! It’s as simple as that. As I said, once you’re in the swing of things, your brain will say “NO” to resting, but you need to listen to the voice of experience here (i.e. me!) and tell your brain that you WILL rest. Rest allows your body to recover fully and be ready to face the roads or trails again another day.
Mistake 3 – If I ignore it, it will go away
The third big mistake new runners make is allowing a slight niggle to develop into something far worse, all the while still keeping up with their training demands in the hope it will disappear. It may well go away, but then again, it may not.
  • Avoid it – To avoid niggles in the first place, my advice is two-fold:
1. Get strong – Seek out a run-specific strength class or the advice of a physio to help you build strength in areas necessary for running.
2. Relieve your muscles – A regular remedial massage or dry needling will help release hard-working muscles as will getting friendly with a foam roller and in the case you do get a niggle, get it seen to ASAP by an expert, do not let it linger!

When you first start a new exercise regime (and after the initial shock to the body), it can become addictive. The rush of endorphins and the fabulous Runner’s High leave us wanting for more and more. Following the advice above will hopefully keep you running on the ‘injury free’ road.


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