1. Set aside your ego. "An athlete who is very proficient at swimming or weight lifting may feel intimidated at first if running does not produce the same level of performance," says Cournane. "With new runners making the transition, I work with them on mental skills and setting aside their egos, at least temporarily."
2. Stay flexible and open to adjustments. "I prepare 11 different schedules for my 5K, 10K, half and marathon training groups," reveals Cournane. "Of course, the mileage differs and intensity levels are based on the individual's adaptation to training, both to mileage and pace." If you're not able to keep up with your plan; if you're feeling exhausted and have heavy legs when training, you might need to cut back a bit on intensity or volume for a week to give yourself more time to adapt.
"Regardless of fitness level, I advise newbies to tune into their bodies," advises coach Hadfield. "Some might need more time to progress, so they can hold the training at week two for 2 to 3 weeks instead of jumping to week three, for example."
3. Run with friends and/or training groups, but run at your fitness level. Running with others can be very beneficial—it's motivating, social and can hold you accountable for putting in the miles on days when your desire wanes. However, training with others can also be frustrating if things get competitive or you're repeatedly pushing yourself outside of your current fitness level.
"You see this all the time in charity training groups: Runners all join as beginners but the athletic talent is very different between people. So you have two runners who train together and, all of a sudden, one just takes off," says exercise physiologist and USATF-certified running coach Greg McMillan. "One person might adapt to the training more quickly and the other one doesn't, and it's frustrating for the one who isn't as talented. It just shows that we're so different and you can't just lump us together."
4. Do your own training. "Don't follow the schedule or advice of your spouse, co-worker, friend or training partner. For maximum benefit, focus on you and where you are currently," advises coach Cournane. "I tell my runners not to compare themselves to the runner they were 15 years ago, or the runner they will be in six months. Each runner should train according to current levels of experience, time available for training and realistic goals. And each runner should reset goals based on objective criteria throughout the training cycle."race.