When You Start Running, Don't Make These Mistakes

New runners often have a vision of what the perfect run looks like: Leaving the house and heading onto the trails or roads, floating effortlessly with perfect form, wind in your hair and sun on your face. While those moments can be part of the joy of running, as a new runner, you might need to ease in to your new fitness regimen. To borrow a cliché, you need to walk before you can run.

The biggest mistake new runners make is heading out of the house, breaking into a run immediately, and trying to push the pace — and the distance — on the first run out. This, unfortunately, causes many new runners to head back home feeling sore, potentially even injured, and ready to quit the sport altogether. "Running is exhilarating and empowering, but it can also be exhausting and draining," Timothy Lyman, Director of Training Programs for Fleet Feet Pittsburgh, told NBC News. You may want to consider starting with a run/walk regimen at first, alternating between walking and running pace and slowly decreasing the time spent walking as your fitness builds. At least take some time to walk in the beginning of your workout as a warm-up, even if you're committed to running the rest of the time!

What other mistakes do new runners make?

Avid new runners might also think that if they want to be better at running, they need to run every single day. However, even elite-level runners know that at least one rest day a week is critical for recovery. "Taking a rest day also allows your body to absorb the training you have been doing and you may actually see a fitness boost following a day of rest," coach Annika Braun explains to McMillan Running. It might sound strange, but taking time off can actually be incredibly beneficial for your fitness and your enjoyment of running.

As a new runner, remember that moderate effort is always going to be better than going to extremes, as you gain fitness and build your mileage. In general, avoid the 'too's,' as running coach Tom Cragg explains to Runner's World: "Too much training, building it too soon, running too hard or too often — 'too soon' is a big, red, flashing light with 'injury' written on it," he writes. If you start feeling like you're running too hard, too fast, too much, just pause, take a deep breath, and slow down.