Want to know what the problems are? Read on...
Going too fast.
My beginners generally have a very different idea of 'running' to mine. They see Mo Farah trotting out his 60 minute half, and think that running is all about going as fast as you can. Here's a little secret (shh, don't tell...) : no-one starts running and goes at it like Mo. Except maybe Mo, he probably was always speedy. For the rest of us mere mortals, that don't have a natural aptitude for running, we do something different. We do that thing that some people disparagingly refer to as 'jogging' (tsk). We take it steady. When you start out, the most important thing is to build a base of endurance that you can then develop. So take it really slow. Once you can run far, it's easy to get faster. Really. But you need to train your heart, lungs and legs to get that base level of endurance. So stop going at it like Mo. Nice steady little trot is all that's needed. Trust me, this happens at every single group, we spend the first three weeks slowing people down, and the last two weeks speeding them back up. To quote one of our fabby run leaders, Luke: 'it's not about doing it fast, it's about getting it done'.
Not doing it enough.
'Do I really need to do it three times per week'. Pretty much, yes. You can get away with less in the first few weeks, but then this tends to sneak up and bite you in the bum when you realise you've not built up the base level of fitness to increase from. Do it often. Have rest days between. But keep on doing it. Miss one or two and it's not a disaster, but get complacent and you'll not keep up once the rest of the group start doing decent mileage. You need to commit.
Giving up too soon.
Running is not supposed to feel nice. You're supposed to feel like you can't breathe and your lungs want to explode out of your ribs. Not too much (see 'Going too fast'). You're supposed to feel a bit nauseous. It's normal to get unpleasant chafing. It's normal to go bright red. It's normal to sweat like that. If you always enjoy running, then you're probably doing it wrong. Don't give up. Come out with the group and we'll get you round. Even if I have to chatter you into submission for distraction (want to hear about my cats and recent culinary experimentation? Fab). If you stick with the programme, you will succeed. I promise.
Always, around week 5, I get someone phoning me in tears. They 'know' that they can't do the longer run that week so they're going to give up. Usually the longer run is the Friday session. So I persuade them to come along just one more time while we're still doing the shorter ones to say goodbye to everyone. And then sneakily do the long one without them noticing. Your head is your biggest enemy to completing the programme. Your head doesn't want to do this running stuff. It tells you that your legs can't do any more. That your lungs will explode. It's usually wrong (I've not had any exploding lungs yet, anyways). It's the most frustrating reason for people dropping out, as it's something that we really struggle to overcome.
You need to believe. You need to believe that you can do it.
Or, if you prefer, you need to believe that we can get you to do it. Because we can.
You need to believe that you're a running ninja. Because you are.