8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running

The importance of regular exercise are well-documented – benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, elevated energy levels, disease prevention, and a enhancing your mood. Many people turn to running as their chosen form of exercise because it seems easy to pick up.  Being aware of these eight common mistakes would have helped my fitness when I started running.


1. Not following a running schedule

Keeping track of your progress is one of the best ways to keep motivated and it just takes a little patience and organization.  New runners will vary in their initial distances, speed, and progression, so it is crucial to create a schedule that is adapted to your running needs.

Solution: Individualize a running workout schedule.


2. Not consuming enough protein

Consuming carbohydrates are important when running long distances, but new runners tend to forget about their protein consumption.  The function of protein is to repair tissue damaged during runs to aid in the recovery process. You should be consuming 0.5 – 0.75g of protein per pound of body weight

Solution: Add healthy protein powder to your favorite recipe.


3. Using improper footwear

Many of the aches and pains from running can be solved by the equipment on your feet.  Your gait is affected by this essential piece of running gear.  Proper footwear reduces the occurrence of common running injuries like twisted ankles, blisters, and shin splints.

Solution: Buy a pair of shoes meant for running.


4. Not fueling correctly after running

With any rigorous exercise, your body is in urgent need of refueling.  Muscles are the most receptive to rebuilding glycogen stores within 30 minutes after exercise, so you will want to consume both carbohydrates and protein immediately after a run.

Solution: Bring a natural and healthy sports drink to consume right after running.


5. Giving up too fast

Running is a great way to lose weight, increase energy, and lower the risk of multiple health conditions.  However, many beginners who rush into their first runs start by hating the exercise.  Start off with a distance that you are comfortable with, then gradually increase the distance.

Solution: Ease into running by starting with a reasonable distance.


6. Not getting enough iron

Iron-deficiency can affect all runners and is especially common in females who have heavy periods, causing fatigue and reduced endurance.  Symptoms include extreme fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath.  Many runners don’t realize that they are anemic until they begin to push themselves in a run.  

Solution: Consume iron-rich foods or take iron supplements.


7. Not drinking enough liquids

Many runners misjudge the amount of liquids lost during a run or worry about cramps, resulting in a lower liquid intake.  This limits running performance and increases the dangers of dehydration.  Sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade are useful for longer runs of over an hour to replace electrolytes, but are unnecessary for many new runners. In addition, many sport drinks are high in sugar and other additives.

Solution: Drink 16 – 24oz. of water before and after each run.


8. Justifying unhealthy snacking 

“I can treat myself because I just finished a run” is the wrong attitude towards your nutrition.  Yes, running will help you burn more calories, but your hard work shouldn’t put to waste!

Solution: Make a healthy and tasty snack for your post-workout treat.

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