It is a daunting idea isn’t it starting running! That was how I felt as a non-runner 20 weeks before I decided to sign up for the Great North Run! Until this point, my only real experiences of running were primary school sports days and cross country at high school. These tips for starting to run should help you as they helped me!
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. Each time I gave up after a couple of runs. I hadn’t really got a plan and didn’t know where to start.
Since starting running many readers have asked me for beginners advice. 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. Their experiences will also have been different.
My suggestions may not be for everyone and I am no expert. Hopefully, this post will help some of you guys have the confidence to start.
I completely understand if you wish to run on your own at first. For quite a while I did this to build up my confidence. Personally, I ran around a local reservoir as it was so much quieter than the streets. I was terrified of someone seeing me running and laughing!
I ran/walked around and there were enough people around for me to be safe. For every run, I 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. It tracks where you are and from a distance, Stuart could always see my location when I set it.
Remember if you are running at night to buy suitable kit for night running including reflective gear etc.
Whilst you don’t need expensive trainers to run you need to be comfortable. To avoid injury trainers designed for running that support your feet in all the right places are ideal and need not be expensive.
The first running trainers I had were £17.99 and were fine. One day I swapped from them to my “normal” trainers and that day I hurt my knee. I couldn’t say for sure it is linked but has only used running trainers since.
If you have any health conditions ask your doctor for advice. Many you can still run with including varicose veins.
Don’t run before you can walk
Start by walking and then gradually add bits of running in, there is no rush.
There are lots of couch to 5k apps or groups that will help you build up gradually if you like to be given guidance. If you’re anything like me though and you don’t want to be told what to do then 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.
I first started running in basic leggings, a loose top and a lightweight jacket which did the job just fine.
A supportive bra is a must, but again this doesn’t have to be expensive. Everyone’s body shape is different as long as you are supported and comfortable you should be fine!
GPS watch, App or 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. 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! 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!
Set yourself goals
I found having goals was a great motivator and encouraged me to keep going. Every time I accomplished a goal I had set myself I felt great. It doesn’t have to be a big goal like a half marathon, my first goal was to be able to run completely between two particular bins I passed on the path around the reservoir! Of my tips for starting to run this is one of the most important in my opinion.
I have asthma and never ever run without my inhaler. I found running made my asthma worse initially. After numerous trips to see my doctor and changes to inhalers I now feel it is under control. Found I didn’t need my inhaler once during the 13.1 miles of the Great North Run!
In the long term, your health is the most important thing. Don’t push yourself too hard. Listen to your doctor’s 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!
Ignore other runners
You are running your own race as such, it doesn’t matter if you see another runner who is running faster than you, it doesn’t matter if you have to walk parts and worry people will see you and wonder why you are not running. This is your journey and you are building up to be the best you can be. What everyone else does isn’t important!
If you ask any runner I would imagine most of them have at some point been ridiculed, verbally abused or whatever you want to call it. I was recently out on a run and twice had men in vans shout at me calling me fat. I know I am not fat, I am a size 6-8 now which clearly is not fat.
These people will call anyone anything they like, by calling me fat I hope it shows you that these things they shout are automatic and designed to make you feel rubbish and everyone experiences it. If they are not out there running they have no right to an opinion about those who are! Be prepared for these things and try to remember they do not know you and are not important in your life. Do this for you no one else.
If you remember any of my tips for starting to run remember this one!
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 listen to some music whilst you’re running.
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