MISTAKE: Jumping In Too Quickly
If you’re fresh off the couch, give yourself enough time to train and prepare. “The first week looks great because your body is fresh from not being active, but during the second and third week, the body starts to break down,” says Jenny Hadfield, running coach and author of Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life with Running. Doing too much too soon can lead to common overuse injuries such as shin splints, knee injuries, IT bands, overall fatigue, and burnout.
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FIX: Integrate Running Into Your Cross-Training Routine
If you’re a pretty active person but a new runner, you’ve probably got the cardiovascular fitness but haven’t mastered the biomechanics of impact running. So give yourself 6-8 weeks of running 3-4 times per week on a regular basis before jumping into a half-marathon training program, says Hadfield. Your best bet: weave running into an activity you’re currently doing. Turn a 40-minute bike ride into 15 minutes of cycling followed by 10 minutes of running and finished off with 15 additional minutes on the bike. Because our bodies are designed to come back stronger in response to small amounts of change, once you’ve hit your groove, you can start increasing mileage slowly. Increasing your mileage by increments of 1-2 miles at a time can be made as long as the pace of the run is 2 minutes slower than a runner’s marathon time, says Galloway.