Watching a marathon on TV or greeting a runner every morning as they speed past your house can both be situations that make you consider taking up running. No one will ever tell you it’s easy, but they’ll undoubtedly share that it’s worth it.
Continue reading for five top tips to help beginners enter the world of running successfully.
Get the right gear
Running with poorly fitting footwear or an unsupportive sports bra can prevent you from making the right start to your running life. Head over to a specialist running store to have your gait analysed. This usually involves running on a treadmill.
Video footage will reveal how your foot strikes the floor, indicating the type of footwear that will best suit you according to under, over or neutral pronation. Proper socks are vital, too, to prevent painful blisters.
The best ones I have ever had are twin skin ones; they feel a little odd until you get used to them, but they are fantastic. For us women, it is crucial to strap our close friends in tightly by wearing the right kind of sports bra for high impact activity.
Start with a jog, not a sprint
It’s tempting to set off on your running journey expecting your body to be almost car-like in its ability to move from 0 to 60 in a few seconds. However, steady is certainly key for beginner runners, especially if your fitness levels are low.
None of us can become Usain Bolt overnight, so be prepared to take your time and gradually improve your pace and stamina.
For some of us, we may not be able to stick to running at a slower (many runners name this a ‘sexy pace’) speed for a mile or two, and that isn’t a problem. If that sounds like you, you may wish to consider building intervals into your routine.
Try thirty seconds or even one minute of running followed by a few minutes of walking. As your fitness levels improve, try gradually increasing the amount you run and decrease the walking time, to two minutes running, one minute walking, for example.
In fact, if you are thinking about employing the help of an app to motivate you and keep you on track with your running, many advocate the use of intervals. Try Public Health England’s One You Couch to 5k app, where you could have Sarah Millican or Jo Whiley spurring you on.
You wouldn’t expect a car to be able to drive on empty, so don’t think your body will be able to. If you’re running early in the morning, try to make sure that you have eaten a decent meal the night before and taken on at least a glass of water.
If you’re keen to have breakfast beforehand, ensure it is around two hours prior to striking the pavements. Try porridge for a slow energy release or for a smaller appetite, a banana may work well for you.
Try running with a friend
Having the support of a close friend or family member can be just what is needed when it comes to sticking to something that we might not really want to. Just like a diet, we know it’s essential to lose weight, for example, but we may feel that it is too difficult, too long a journey or too boring.
Someone else running alongside you, spurring each other one, can be so beneficial to your progress. I’ve tried running with people of the same ability and those who are better.
In fact, there was little difference because both types showed me the support and encouragement that I needed. I found myself running further distances and for longer times with others than I would have managed alone.
I have a real love-hate relationship with running. Some days, I feel like I could run forever, pounding out my worries as I do. On other days, each step is an effort, like running through treacle. However, I know that perseverance is key, and the endorphins I get from running are worthwhile. Enjoy!
My running journey
More you may find helpful
To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets and lots more check out my comprehensive Weight Loss section. Check out exercise for weight loss here.
Other running articles you may find helpful
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Running workouts for weight loss