1) Check your running shoes condition. Are they old? Running shoes are typically good for 400 miles or about 6 months. When in doubt its best to buy new shoes. Go to a professional running store, as they will fit you properly. Bryn Mawr Running Company, Philadelphia Runner, North Wales Running Company and Runners High (NJ) are a few really good ones.
2) When running on the road always run into traffic so you can see oncoming traffic.
3) If you're running on a treadmill adjust the incline to 1% to mimic outside running. Treadmill running is in fact easier because there is no wind resistance and the ground is moving away from you.
4) Consistency is king. The world's best coach says, "If you can run four days a week, every week, you are going to get 90 percent of the benefits of training seven days a week."
5) Feeling stiff and sore after runs is normal. Often times stiffness and soreness maybe worst the second day after a run. Using a foam roller or message stick will greatly help relieve muscle soreness.
6) Rest days are just as important as workout days. Be sure to include rest days to allow your body to recover and adapt. This is how you get better. Stress your body then rest your body and repeat.
7) If you miss one run or workout continue plan as scheduled. If you miss two runs/workouts in a row, reduce next run by 15%. If you miss three runs/workouts in a row consult a coach or experienced runner.
8) Often times you're better off increasing intensity then increasing distance. To increase intensity you can either pick up the pace throughout the run or run short fast sprints in the middle of the run.
9) Sleep! Try and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Your body recovers while you sleep. Sleep is the number one most effective recovery tool. Second is good nutrition.
10) Every so often you'll feel like not running. It's completely normal. Get dressed put on your running shoes and tell yourself you'll just walk or run 2 miles. In most cases once you're dressed and out the door your motivation will come back.
11) Hydrating in the winter is often more important then in the summer because the air is dryer and your body's desire to drink is less.
12) Find a running partner. One of the best things you can do for your running is finding a running partner. They will motivate you, hold you accountable and help make long runs go by quicker.
13) Mix up the pace. On days you feel good run a little faster. On days you're sore or just not into run slower. Let your body tell you how fast to run.
14) Eat and/or drink something after you run. This is best done within 30 minutes after you workout. Your body needs nutrients to recover. It's always best to get nutrients from food. Try bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sports bar or a smoothie.
15) Try keeping a record or "log" of all your runs. This can be extremely motivating to look back at all the hard work you've done. Key data points to capture are: distance, time, how you felt and weather. Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and I can email you a log.