Running Coach Answers Beginning Runners' 3 Most Common Questions

People who start running inevitably get bitten by the "running bug," and soon get addicted to that amazing feeling of accomplishment that accompanies successful races and strong workouts.

Have you ever noticed that sense of achievement you feel when you knock out a good tempo run, or crush a long run? It's incredible.

And many runners try to get more and more, often succumbing to overuse injuries and mental burnout because they make some classic beginner mistakes. After coaching hundreds of runners and running competitively for 15 years, I want to answer three common questions that I hear from new runners.

Avoid these mistakes and you'll be a smarter runner with fewer injuries and faster race times. Who doesn't want that?

More: Prevent Running Overuse Injuries in 6 Steps

"I just ran a 10K in 60 minutes. How soon can I finish one in 40 minutes?"

Stretch goals are important, and every runner should strive to be a little better today than he or she was yesterday. Whether that's running faster, being more consistent, or preventing more injuries, improvement comes in all shapes and sizes.

And as runners, one of the universal traits of running races is the thought, "I could have gone a little bit faster."

More: How to Become a Consistent Runner and Nail New PRs

But being realistic is important to staying grounded in your current ability level. Strive for improvement but understand that enormous leaps in performance will take a lot of hard work and time.

Instead of focusing on the end goal, focus on the process of training: be smart with injury prevention, run progressively higher mileage, and aim for incremental improvement in every race. Soon these little goals will add up to significant progress over time.

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