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5 Mistakes First Time Runners Make (And How To Fix Them)!


For the last couple of months I’ve taken up the sport of running and doing races! At first it was very daunting to just say, “I want to lace my sneakers up and go running”. Sounds Dumb….but maybe you’ve felt scared or nervous about starting to run as well. Today I want to share some of the mistakes I’ve made as a first time runner and how to fix them to help you be more successful on your new goal (and better performance on races)!

And if you do start running, hit me up below on the comments section and let me know how it’s going!

Let’s get started! 


1. Overdo it in training

This is so easy to do — not least if you’re going from no running to ALL running. But you are excited, adrenaline is pumping, you’ve set high expectations. Just Remember your heart, lungs, joints, muscles and mind need time to adapt, recover and get used to the stresses and strains of running. Start easy with just three short runs a week and very gradually build up the distance, pace and frequency of your sessions. That means starting early. Give yourself six weeks to prepare for a 5K race and at least six months to prepare for a marathon.

Your heart, lungs, joints, muscles and mind need time to adapt to the stresses and strains of running. Don’t Overdo it as most of us do! 

2. Get the dress code wrong

There’s nothing worse than being distracted by uncomfortable clothes and painful chafing. I have a specific “race kit” for this exact reason. It’s a set of comfy clothes I have worn over and over again and feel awesome in. I only wear them to race and believe me, it saves a lot of hassle when it comes to choosing kit.

Find the best shoes for your stride and wear them on at least ten runs pre-race.

Your choice of footwear is just as important. My all-time favorites are my Nike Pegasus but don’t be drawn in by the marketing. Find the shoes that fit you best. If you invest in new running shoes it’s important to wear them in first — they could be the incorrect size, rub or just generally feel horrid on your feet. Go to a good running store that will analyse your running gait to find the best shoes for your stride and wear them on at least ten runs pre-race.

3. Upset your stomach

The day of the race is not a time to start experimenting in the kitchen. Make sure you’ve trialled and tested your routine from waking up, eating breakfast and setting off on your run so you can follow that exact template on the big day. Likewise, be cautious with energy bars or drinks. If you haven’t tried them in training, don’t suddenly load up on them at the start line or you could spend most of the race wishing you had a porta-potty nearby. My perfect race day breakfast is a bagel with peanut butter  and a banana and two glasses of water, but what works for me, it might not do it for you. I like to keep my stomach light. Oats with fruits also work incredibly well.


The day of the race is not a time to start experimenting in the kitchen.


At least 80 percent of the calories you consume in your pre-race meal should come from carbohydrates. Keep your protein and especially your fat and fiber consumption low. These nutrients take up space that is better utilized by carbohydrates. Also, avoid gas-producing foods such as onions. Eat 2-3 hours before your race starts.

4. Get over excited

With all the adrenaline flowing on the start line it’s easy to be carried along with the crowd, go out too fast and suffer big time in the middle and end. Same in a fun run by yourself. We get over excited wanting to break records and then pay for it minutes later.

It’s much more fun to overtake all the people you let pass at the start of the race.

The best way to guard against this is to practice your target pace over half a mile and 1 mile distances so you know what it feels like to run at that speed. Better yet, use a fitness tracker or sports watch to monitor your speed and stick to a pace you know you can sustain. That way you’ll be able to overtake all the people you let pass you at the start of the race — it’s much more fun that way. My favorite tracker is my Garmin Forerunner 235. But there are many brands out there that are great.

5. Drink too much (or too little)

Most of the hydration you need for a race should be done the night before. Gulping down lots of water just beforehand can lead to a stitch and discomfort. Instead, if you drink lots the night before (and by drink, I mean water!) you’ll feel so much better in the morning.

Unless it’s a scorching hot day, you don’t really need to drink much during the race. If a race or your run lasts less than 75 minutes I won’t drink during it at all, so only if you’re running a half marathon or going on a long, slow training run.

After a race try to have a chocolate milk or Iced Green Tea to kickstart recovery.

Once you pass the finish line, then it’s important you drink up — try to resist the congratulatory beer until you’ve rehydrated properly. After a race I always have a chocolate milk or Upbeat for some protein and carbs to kickstart recovery, and a bottle of water to replace fluids. Only then is it time to celebrate.



Here You have them! 5 common mistakes I’ve made that are very common, and how to fix them. Running or jogging can be scary for many, but it’s fun and empowering when done right.

Getting regular Chiropractic Care has made a big difference on how my body recovers after every run. I would highly recommend coming to our office so your goals can be met easier.

Love you guys,
Dr. Sam Clavell

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As a chiropractor in Austell, our whole mission is to give you the tools to become a better version of yourself. If any pains or aches are bothering you, please make sure you reach out to us!


2 Join the Conversation

  1. Caleb Spackman says
    Oct 23, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. Ill probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

    • Sam Clavell says
      Oct 23, 2017 at 4:08 PM

      Thank you Caleb! Good Luck Running!!!

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