Running is a fantastic workout, combining cardio, ab blasting, and leg sculpting. But, making rookie mistakes can cause a lot of pain and no gain! We’ve listed the five biggest running blunders to avoid.

Don’t: Create unrealistically high goals
Your body needs to get used to your new workout, so you should start slowly. Try running in intervals: Run for five minutes, walk for three, then run again and walk again. Keep repeating the pattern and increase your running over time. If you just take it a day at a time, your body will thank you!

Don’t: Use just any sneaker
You’ll want to find the perfect pair of running shoes to prevent injuries and stress. Try checking out a running store where they can assess your feet and determine what will work best for you. After you find the perfect pair, make sure you replace them before you wear them down too much. General rule of thumb: replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles, or every six months.

Don’t: Use bad form
Using good form can prevent you from getting injured. Some tips: keep your arms relaxed and your elbows near your hips. Use your full range of motion and swing your hands all the way from your ear to your butt.

Don’t: Workout by only running
You won’t reap all the benefits of your hard work if you don’t round out your workout. Lift some weights, try some jump training, and do some yoga.

Don’t: Skip the cool down
No matter how short your run was, it is really important to always cool down and stretch out. Your muscles are tight and stiff and your heart is pumping, so start by walking at a comfortable pace for a couple minutes to calm your heart rate. Then, stretch out your muscles and ligaments to prevent injuries. If you cool down and stretch, it helps your body heal so you can hit the pavement again sooner!