Common Mistakes New Runners Make (Part 2) – Frequency

New runners contact me for many reasons, often asking for help with pacing, breathing, and managing shin pain. However, most runners really need help with the same thing — creating a balanced training plan.

I build my plans around four main factors: (1) Intensity, (2) Frequency, (3) Volume , and (4) Response.

In most cases, when I help runners avoid making common mistakes in these areas, their original problems resolve, their enjoyment increases and their performance improves. Over the next 3 weeks (as well as last week), I will elaborate on each of the 4 factors. This week, I will focus on:

Frequency describes how often a runner trains. The American College of Sports shannon mcginn 2Medicine recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Although this is the recommended minimum, it does not mean new runners should start running for 30 minutes 5 days per week. Instead, assess how much exercise you currently get and work up from there. If you do not exercise at all, start with 10-20 minutes 3 times per week. Be sure to alternate days off with training days. Build up your run time over several weeks, then add more training days per week. If you are already an active person, realize that even a generally fit person not used to running will need time to adapt. Less is more at the start of any new program. I often start my newest runners at 3 days per week and build up gradually.

Next Mistake: Volume


Shannon McGinn is an RRCA Certified Distance Running Coach and the owner of Creating Momentum.

She is a life-long runner, becoming more involved in racing after surviving cancer. She considers herself a marathon and ultramarathon specialist, earning several USATF National Championship top 10 or better placements in the 50k and 50M distances. She has not missed a day of running since December, 2011.

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  • Kim

    It’s been quite some time since this article, will part 3 be coming soon? I’ve really enjoyed reading this authors articles. Both have helped me see where I may be going wrong in my running. Anxiously awaiting more…


      Hi Kim, thanks so much for your input! Shannon really does great work and we’re very fortunate to have her as a writer at Run Jersey. This series got a little delayed due to some other time-sensitive material we needed to get out. Stay tuned as part 3 and 4 are not far away!

      • Kim

        Fantastic, thank you Corey!

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