You asked me
Jeff answers your questions
Is there a perfect goal distance for a first-time racer?
The 5K (3.1 miles) is definitely a doable goal for a beginner and most areas or communities have plenty of options at this distance, the most obvious being weekly Parkruns. Pay attention to how your goal event is marketed: the words ‘fun run’ usually mean the event is untimed, so if you want to know your official finishing time and see how you measured up, choose another race.
What’s the most common mistake made by firsttime racers?
With the excitement of the day it’s all too easy to start too fast. To avoid this mistake ensure your first mile is your slowest, with more walk breaks than you usually take (if, indeed, you take them at all). By not using up too much energy early on, you can enjoy the feeling of passing people at the end without sprinting. Your goal should be to finish cross the line with a big smile and a great sense of achievement.