I am getting more and more questions from friends interested in running. Most beginner mistakes relate to doing too much mileage too quickly, improper pacing, and not recognizing the need for proper equipment.
Below are some tips I found through research and my own experiences as a beginner (which I still am):
1.Train, don't strain: "A major mistake is that beginners try to run too fast!" says Budd Coates, Health Promotions Manager at Rodale, Inc., and four-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. "They get completely out of breath, their leg muscles scream, and, naturally, running isn't fun under those circumstances. So they get discouraged and quit. Instead, they need to begin at a pace that is about the same as a fast walk."
2. Walk/Run: Unless you are coming from a strong (and recent) background in another physically demanding sport (cycling, martial arts, tennis, basketball, soccer, cross-country skiing), don't jump right into a running program. Instead, begin with a walk/run program.
3. Run for time not miles at the beginning: Typical training goals for a walk/run program would be four times per week, 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per session. "The biggest mistake that beginning runners make is they tend to think in mile increments--1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles," says Coates. "Most of them aren't ready for that; they need to think in minutes of running, not miles.
At first keep your runs short and slow to avoid injury and soreness so you do not quit.
4. Slow Down: If you are breathing too hard slow down or walk a bit until you feel comfortable again. The "talk test" is a simple way to judge your pace. If you are running at a pace that is comfortable enough to allow you to talk with a training partner (but not so easy that you could hit the high notes in an Italian opera), then your speed is just fine for the early stages of a running program.
5. Pick a Convenient Route: Pick your route close to home (out your front door)—the more convenient it is the better chance you will have sticking with it.
6. Find a beginner training plan for your first race.
7. Keep a training diary.
8. Pick up a book or two or three on running.
9. Vary your training routes: This will prevent boredom and prevent your body from getting acclimated.
10. Run fast after you develop an endurance base.
11. Build rest into your schedule: Rest is just as important of an element as exercise in your fitness plan.
12. Forgive yourself: Over-ambitious goals usually lead to frustration and giving up on your fitness plan. If you miss a goal or milestone let it go and focus on the next opportunity to get it.
The Mgt. 100 Beginner Running Tips
Will-Weber, Mark. "First Steps"