Five Common Running Mistakes

Whether you are completely new to running, or are a seasoned runner, you have likely been guilty of falling into the trap of making some of the most common running mistakes.

By the end of 2020, more than seven million people in the UK were actively running with those statistics helped by how many people took up the activity during lockdown. That means that even if you aren’t a runner yourself, it is highly likely that you have a friend or family member that is an active runner

Many new runners soon abandon their new-found hobby as the drive and passion just aren’t there after those first few runs. They aren’t alone, with Strava finding that half of runners don’t actually like running, which begs the question as to why they run in the first place.

Some people just don’t like running, the same as they don’t like any sport – and that is okay. Others lose their love because they make common running mistakes that get in the way of their enjoyment. Here, we list five of the most common running mistakes for you to avoid to help you get out there and put one foot in front of the other.

Going Too Hard/Far Too Soon

If you have never run before, or you are just getting back into the sport, there is no shame in completing short-distance runs. That means stop scrolling through Instagram and feeling inadequate because everyone seems to be completing half-marathons in the morning before heading off to work. Everyone is on their own journey; it would be like expecting someone who has never kicked a ball in their life to play football like Lionel Messi – it isn’t going to happen.

New runners fall into the trap of trying to up their distance or pace far too soon. There is nothing wrong with alternating running and walking to get you started, it all counts and it’s far better than sitting in front of the television. By all means, push yourself, but keep your goals realistic with baby steps. Be kind to yourself and celebrate what you have achieved.

Inadequate Footwear

Your gym trainers and running trainers should not be the same. Many runners wear the same pair of trainers for both and they shouldn’t – you should have a dedicated pair of running trainers, worn exclusively for your runs.

Wearing the wrong, or worn out, footwear is simply asking to pick up an injury. As a good rule of thumb, running trainers should last between 300 and 500 miles. When you begin to notice the rubber wearing out at the bottom of the trainer, which reduces how much of the impact of each stride is absorbed, this is when it is time to invest in new trainers. No ifs, no buts, no continuing to wear them until they fall to pieces.

Wearing inadequate footwear is one of the most common running mistakes and it is why many give up running, citing injuries such as knee and foot pain that could have easily been avoided. If you are serious about running, don’t overlook the value of having an appropriate pair of running trainers.

Running Every Day

You can’t have a day off and need to be seen to be getting out there every single day, right? Wrong. Of course, you don’t, and neither should you. Every elite athlete has rest days, and so should you, as this helps your muscles to recover and grow stronger.

It can be tempting, especially with many running apps offering achievements for unbroken streaks, but resting is good for you on a physical and mental level, especially if you are a new runner. Getting out and hitting the road every day will soon become boring, particularly if you tend to run the same route.

Even if you don’t want to rest completely, adding in cross-training days in the gym (or playing a different sport) is healthy and will improve your running performance. If you are the type of runner that chases down PBs, then switching up the odd run for a gym session will yield positive results that will keep you motivated for your runs.

Comparing Yourself to Others

This has already been loosely touched upon, but it certainly warrants its own section. You need to stop worrying about how far or how fast other runners are going! You are not competing with them.

All runners are different and have different capabilities. Some are just naturally better at running than others, and that’s okay. You should never feel ashamed of a run because it was shorter or slower than someone else’s, and generally, those in the running community are supportive of other runners and will be more likely to congratulate you on getting out there and either hitting your personal goal or getting one step closer.

As well as comparing performances, you should also stop comparing how you look whilst running to others. Again, Instagram (and social media in general) can be the route of all evil here as it can seem as though everyone else looks great when they are running. Remember that the right filter can do a lot of heavy lifting and, let’s be honest, who is going to post a picture of them looking like a hot sweaty mess? Exactly.


As with any sport, nutrition is important and for runners, their bodies must be fueled correctly. Long-distance runners should have an intake of around 20 calories per pound of bodyweight for between one and one-and-a-half hours of running a day. This should be increased to around 23 calories per pound of bodyweight for up to two hours of running.

Foods with a low glycemic index that slowly releases energy will help you to feel fuller for longer. The night before a long-distance run, you should eat plenty of healthy carbohydrates to provide plenty of slow-releasing energy for your run. As part of a marathon plan, the week prior will see the runner carb-loading to fuel their body for the race at the end of the week.

You should also avoid running on a full stomach, especially after consuming a large meal. Your body needs time to digest the food and going out for a run straight after finishing a hearty roast dinner will not make for a good time. This is why a lot of runners try to get their runs done during the morning rather than during the evening.

This is far from an exhaustive list of common running mistakes made by new and seasoned runners, but it is a good place to start if you are struggling. As with any sport, it isn’t solely about the trophies but more so for the enjoyment – though it is only natural for runners to want to extend their collection of race medals and commemorative t-shirts!

Visit our online shop