Starting a Running Program: Why Do So Many Fail To Make The Mark?

It’s a sad fact that around 80% of people taking up running for the first time will give up within four weeks of training. Although the wish to improve fitness or lose weight is evident, there is obviously something going wrong with their training program to result in such a high drop out rate.

This article looks at some of the reasons why people fail to continue running.

Lack of planning or preparation is I believe a major factor. Invariably the decision to start a running program is acted upon very quickly and often without the proper running shoes or apparel. Running any reasonable distance in shoes not designed for the activity will cause discomfort and could put off the novice runner.

Likewise, running in clothing meant for the gym does not lend itself towards an agreeable run. Today’s hi-tech running apparel will take the sweat away from your body and cause minimal friction with the more sensitive parts of your body. Money spent upfront on good quality running gear can not only make a difference whilst running but also ensure the commitment if you have spent good money on your kit.

Although we are familiar with the idea that we should get a check-up from our doctor before taking up a physical activity, few will ever do this. Yes it is probably a result of an industry fearing litigation, but a large percentage of people taking up running are doing so because they are unfit. Your doctor may recommend other light exercise first before graduating up to running.

Impatience and a desire for quick results is another reason so many fail to progress past the fourth week. Many will attempt to run too far and fast in the first sessions and experience pain and discomfort. It is no fun running in this condition so it’s not surprising they soon stop altogether. A slow gradual build up of distance and speed will ensure that interest is maintained as new targets are met each week. This approach will also avoid the unpleasant sensations of burning lungs and aching limbs.

Running is an excellent activity for lifelong fitness and personal development. A few simple preparations combined with patience will take you through those first crucial weeks of training and onto a lifetime experiencing the pleasures of running.

Roy Palmer is a teacher of The Alexander Technique and has studied performance enhancement in sport and running for the last 10 years. More information about his unique approach to running can be found by clicking running for beginners.