Starting out a running routine can be exciting until you realize that your enthusiasm has waned — sometimes just minutes into a hard run. Before you start dreading your jogging sessions, make sure you don't make these mistakes.
- Keep checking your watch: When you first start running, it can be easy to want to know how fast you're going and how long you have left. But keeping tabs on the ticking seconds can be discouraging, especially if you're already feeling exhausted by the first mile. Don't worry too much about how fast you're going — in fact, ignore that treadmill display or running watch for the most part, and only check on it periodically.
- Ignore body signs: Feel a twinge in your lower back or a dehydration-induced headache? Now's not the time to power through. To prevent injuries that can sideline your new running habit, pay attention to how you're feeling — grab water if you're thirsty, and stop if you're feeling injured anywhere. Be sure that you're stretching afterward as well in order to prevent day-after soreness and flexibility issues.
- Push yourself too hard: All-out sprints are great for some short runs, but if you're a beginner, it's better to start off slow. Don't worry about if you need to slow down even more — just because you're taking walk breaks doesn't mean you're not a runner. Try it yourself: this 300-calorie walk-run workout is perfect if you're just starting out.
- Compare yourself: Everyone has a different pace, so don't feel bad if you aren't keeping up with that seasoned runner who just passed you. While it can be fun (and beneficial) to run alongside someone who challenges your time, when you first start, your focus should be on finishing those miles, not winning a race.
- Pick the same route: You love that lakeside loop for its views and lack of inclines, but running it every time you head out isn't going to make you a better runner. Make sure you switch up your route to keep things interesting and challenge new muscles; you'll be more likely to stick to your running habit if you keep switching things up.
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