4 Common Beginner Running Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

From training NFL athletes to people trying running for the first time in adulthood, I have been in a unique position to spot common beginner running mistakes that impede progress, increase the likelihood of injury as well as decrease motivation. 

In this post we detail four common running training mistakes.

Why Run?

Some people train for a sport, while others run as a way to deal with mental distress or as a coping mechanism. Whatever your reason is, make sure you run for your own benefit. 

Running to “prove people wrong” or justify your level of fitness to others seldom works long-term, and will likely not build positive reinforcement. 

Running to burn calories for the sole goal of weight loss is possible, but there are better ways to lose weight long-term. 

So, with that mini rant over, let’s move on to common mistakes that beginners make.

Too Much of a Focus on Distance

Couch to 5k programmes, marathons, charity events and Parkruns set out with a single goal of completing a set distance. In these examples, it is most often a 5km event. However, it can be disheartening to get to this level, especially if you are a beginner. 

Beginners or new runners often find themselves physically exhausted after a 10 to 15 minute run. You might relate to this. You set off at a strong pace, feel good for the first 2-3 minutes only to find your heart rate continues to climb for the entire duration of a run. 

We recommend increasing your training duration over a period of time rather than focusing on distance. The primary goal during the beginner phase should be to accumulate training volume – or in simple terms, spend more time on your feet. 

Running too hard

Do not worry about your pace, or screenshotting your runs for the validation of others on social media. 

It sounds cliche, but one of the main goals during the beginner phase should be to enjoy the process. This is difficult to do when you feel like you struggle to recover from workouts or can only run once per week due to soreness. 

Running is a new stress on the body and this is especially true if you are overweight, sedentary or returning from a long hiatus. 

Keep in mind that the faster your pace, the more stress you are putting on your body. 

Start slow, remain injury free and build resiliency so that you can handle additional training demands in the future. 

Incorrect footwear

Poorly fitted shoes or shoes lacking adequate cushion or support can increase the likelihood of injuries such as runners knee pain, shin splints and plantar fasciitis. 

Check out this article where we provide some shoe recommendations. If you are new to running, you might be shocked to learn that a decent pair of running shoes might run between €100-200. Look at this as a long-term investment into your health rather than an expense. 

Lack of Strength Training 

Simple strength training exercises help supplement a running routine, allowing you to progressively run further, at a faster pace and push towards a long term goal. However, beginners tend to start strength training after a muscular injury. 

Injuries can be frustrating, especially if you are at a point where you are just building momentum. The good news is that it does not take much work to increase strength. 


These common beginner running mistakes that new runners make impede progress, increase the likelihood of injury as well as decrease motivation. 

Learn from others common running training mistakes and prioritise gradually building daily and weekly running volume. Complete intervals or jogging and walking, and focus on running at a pace where it feels easy to moderate. 

Choose good footwear and begin to implement strength training to your weekly routine. You can look for specific strength and conditioning classes for runners, add home based workouts or simply add a couple of body weight exercises to your running warm-up.