Running is one of the most straightforward and most accessible forms of exercise out there. It’s simple. Just step outside of your home and start running. No gym memberships, no joining fees, just you and the open road.
Yet as quick and easy as it is to take up running as a hobby, so many new runners abandon their new pursuit as quickly as they find it. Here is a list of reasons why runners quit; avoid these 15 mistakes at all costs!
There are multiple reasons why new runners quit. There are physical reasons like injury, poor technique, and overtraining. Then there are the psychological aspects, boredom, the burden of expectations, and not seeing the results you want. All this and a range of other factors like weather, hidden costs, and a lack of support contribute to many runners quitting.
Lack of Motivation
Let’s face it running is hard. It is tough to get off the couch after a hard day’s work. The last thing you want to do is run a 10K. The driving force that caused you to take up running in the first place can quickly dissolve under the pressures of modern life.
Even people that truly enjoy running have trouble motivating themselves at points in their life. Once this motivation has gone, it can be tough to get back.
With running being so easy to pick up, people rarely think about how their training can affect their bodies. As a result, it is very easy for inexperienced runners to hurt themselves and develop injuries.
If an injury occurs, running is sidelined. This breaks the habit of running, and it can be hard to reestablish that habit and get back into the swing of things.
Then there is the added fear that running may re-aggravate the injury and potentially make it worse.
No one likes running in the rain (rain gear guide) or the cold, especially beginners. The sight of a downpour of rain or the prospect of running in either freezing or boiling hot temperatures can be very offputting. The discomfort that it causes instantly springs into your mind.
In some instances, beginners trick themselves into thinking that running in such conditions can be hazardous and use it as an excuse not to go running.
Weather, especially during the winter months, when everything is darker, wetter, and colder, provides an easy excuse for people to stop running.
Related: How To Run In The Cold Safely
Pushing Yourself Too Hard
Beginners have a tendency to be all or nothing. They do not know the boundaries when it comes to how much their body can handle. If they push themselves too hard, it can lead to an injury, overtraining, or just not enjoying themselves as much as they used to.
While running seems relatively straightforward, it is a lot more technical than you think when you break it down. With most beginner runners starting without proper guidance or an understanding of the correct technique, they develop poor technique.
Sometimes this technique can improve over time. In other cases, it can lead to injuries, muscle imbalances, poor mobility, strains, and pulled muscles. When poor technique causes pain or soreness that runners have not left before, it can be misinterpreted as an injury or aggravation, and they stop running as a result.
Running is as much a mental challenge as it is physical. Running long distances can be psychologically taxing and really mess with your psyche as your body is pushed to its limits.
This psychological aspect of running is something that beginners rarely take into consideration. Consequently, when they encounter a mental barrier when running, they see it not as something that can be overcome but rather as a sign that they need to stop.
These mental barriers can affect the psyche of a new runner and make them hesitant to want to continue running.
Not Following A Running Program
A proper running routine is a surefire way to help you reach your running goals. Inexperienced runners follow no such programs, nor do they think such a thing exists. Most beginners run for as long as they can until they cannot run anymore and repeat the process throughout the week.
Such practices are an inadequate way of training. Not only is it pushing your body to the absolute limit each time you run, but it can lead to a deterioration in technique, injury, and overtraining.
Not following a running program can also affect new runners psychologically. Not sticking to a plan can lead to erratic shifts in performance. When new runners do not see the improvements they want, it is very easy for them to give up.
Overtraining is a common occurrence in almost every sport. It is prominent amongst beginner runners who have no prior knowledge or understanding of the sport.
Typically new runners throw themselves headfirst into running, excited at the new hobby they have discovered. They run as fast and as hard as they can each them they decide to go out. They also believe that running more often will lead to more weight loss and better performance.
This mentality leads to overtraining. Overtraining occurs when the body does not have adequate time to recover. This leads to soreness, tiredness, and a decrease in performance.
When faced with the symptoms of overtraining, instead of scaling back on their intensity, new runners give up altogether.
Related: How Do I Know If I’m Overtraining?
When running long distances, it is easy for the mind to become distanced and wander. At a certain point, it becomes hard for beginners to focus, and they lose interest.
It doesn’t even have to happen while you are running. If you run the same routes and distances day in and day out, which many beginner runners do, it is easy for boredom to settle in.
Due to their lack of experience, most beginner runners do not know about the different forms of training. Effort and fartlek training are methods that they simply have not heard of. Instead, they stick to the same routine and become bored very quickly.
Related: What is a Fartlek running session?
Lack of Support
Running is a very insular sport. It is easy to lose motivation, become disinterested, and give up with no one by your side.
With most beginner runners starting on a whim, most novices lack the support system to help them keep going even when they do not feel 100% up to it.
This isn’t always the case. Some beginners start running with a friend or even a group of friends. However, when one person drops out, it can have a domino effect. If one person stops running, the others have a tendency to follow suit.
Not Seeing the Results you Want
As a beginner, you see results fast. If you do everything correctly, runners can see everything from weight loss to personal best times. Inevitably these improvements will stall.
When faced with a slowing down in progress, people forget how far they have come. They become frustrated at the lack of process. Instead of pushing through, they give up entirely.
Life Gets in the Way
Running is a hobby, sometimes more important things come into our lives. It can be friends, family, a new job, or something else that takes precedent overrunning.
This is especially the case with new runners. With the habit of running just beginning to form, if something more important comes up, it is the first thing that falls to the wayside.
It is Expensive
It may not seem like it, to begin with, but the price of running can quickly add up. A decent pair of running shoes, high-vis jackets, running team memberships, and competition fees. It all adds up.
These unexpected costs can be offputting to new runners, especially those who took up running to avoid paying for a gym membership.
Comparing Yourself to Others
It is easy to be jealous of someone who has years of running experience and who is far ahead on their running journey than you are.
Comparing yourselves to others leads to self-doubt and a lack of motivation. If you are not beating others, then what is the point in running at all. It is this sort of toxic mentality that causes new runners to give up.
Taking on Too Much Too Fast
When starting out, it is easy to get overexcited. The prospect of entering a marathon or half marathon can be a challenge that new runners eagerly sign up for without a second thought.
For most beginner runners, these challenges are something that they are not ready for. After making the commitment, they push themselves too hard and do not achieve what they had hoped. Demoralized by not performing as well as expected (or not finishing altogether), beginners lose confidence and motivation and give up.
Check out my Ultimate Beginner’s Guide FAQ
If you’re completely lost and need some help jump-starting your running hobby/career – check out this Beginner’s Guide to Running – FAQ (completely FREE)
These are just a few of the reasons why runners quit. All of these physical, psychological, and emotional challenges are faced by every runner at some time in their lives. The key is not to give up.
With the proper programming, correct technique, and equipment, along with and a tight-knit group of like-minded and enthusiastic runners behind you, any beginner can survive the initial challenges of starting running and can transition into enjoying their new hobby.
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