It is a daunting idea isn’t it starting running! That was how I felt 20 weeks ago when I decided to sign up for the Great North Run and start running! I am sure I am not alone in that until this point my only real experiences of running were primary school sports days and cross country at high school. Both of these always filled me with dread, I was never a runner, I hated any sports at school especially running! A few times during my weight loss journey I attempted to run but each time gave up after a couple of runs, because I hadn’t really got a plan and didn’t know where to start.
Since starting running many of my readers have asked me for advice to start running themselves. As someone who is also pretty new to running I feel I can give you an honest view of what I feel is important. Someone who has run for 20 years may give you different tips and different ideas but their experiences will also have been different. My suggestions may not be for everyone and I am no expert by any means but I am writing this to share my experiences. Hopefully this post will help some of you guys that want to run but just don’t know where to start or maybe like me lack confidence and worry about other peoples opinions of you running.
|Remember this when you see other runners!|
1. Safety First – I completely understand if you wish to run on your own at first, I did for quite a while to build up my confidence. I ran around a local reservoir as it was so much quieter than the streets and I was terrified of someone seeing me running and laughing! The reservoir I ran/walked around is quiet but not too quiet so I felt comfortable that there were enough people around for me to be safe. I also wore an attack alarm on my wrist and always told my partner Stuart where I was going. I used an app called Road ID too which tracks where you are and from a distance Stuart could always see where I was which gave us both peace of mind.
Basic but adequate running shoes each of these
pairs was under £25
3. Don’t run before you can walk! – Start by walking and then gradually add bits of running in, there is no rush it is much better to build up gradually than rush and wear yourself out, injure yourself or get disappointed when you cant run 5k in a week! There are lots of couch to 5k apps or groups that will help you build up gradually if you like to be given the guidance. If you’re anything like me though and you don’t want to be told what to do then you can just run and walk alternately slowly building up. Don’t aim for miles and miles, start with a mile or two and slowly add to the distance as you feel comfortable.
The sort of clothes I run in now, my attack alarm on my wrist,
my waist bag for my keys, phone and inhaler.
5. GPS watch, app, stopwatch? – I think you need something to show you that you are improving because in the early stages it is easy to feel like you have a long road ahead and are not improving when in fact you are. Whilst I now have a GPS watch (A TomTom Runner) that I regularly forget to start and stop, I started out using a free app and still use it if I forget my watch. There are many apps out there the one I preferred was Strava as you can add friends on it when you’re ready and give each other kudos for runs! By using an app like this you can see your average pace improving as you run more and track the distances you do. It is great for keeping you motivated to improve slowly! There are free apps on smartphones for this and most people have a smart phone now but if not running the same route with a stopwatch would still show you improvements.
A Screenshot from Strava showing the
information it gives you, pace, elevation, distance,
a map of route, moving time.
7. Look after your health – I have asthma and never ever run without my inhaler. I found running made my asthma worse initially but after numerous trips to see my doctor and changes to inhalers I now feel it is under control and didn’t need my inhaler once during the 13.1 miles of the Great North Run! Everyone is different and will have different health issues and everyone with asthma for example will respond to different treatments. Listen to your body and if you are not well do not run, if you are struggling when out on a run then make sure you stop. In the long term your health is the most important thing, don’t push yourself too hard and listen to your doctors advice! Keep hydrated and find what works for you regarding eating and drinking before a run so you are well fuelled but make sure to leave enough of a break to avoid getting a stitch!
|Never ignore your health!|
|After a run recently when I was called fat.|
10. Enjoy it – Most of all the main thing about running is to enjoy it, there will be times when you don’t feel like going out for your run but you soon enjoy it when you go out, there will be times it rains and you get drenched. These days are natural but as long as on the whole you are enjoying it keep going, however slow you feel you are progressing if you are enjoying yourself that is all that matters. If you don’t enjoy it then maybe it isn’t the right sport or exercise for you, or maybe you need to find a way you would enjoy it more like looking for a different route, a running club to join or listening to some music whilst you’re running.