Thinking of getting into running?

March 4, 2013 1:05 pm

running shoeOne of the most common New Years resolutions is to get fit, an idea that may already be done and dusted for a lot of people within the first few weeks of January. Plenty think they’ll just ‘take up running’, but these peter out pretty quickly thanks to icy weather and those short, short days. Of course, many will give up because winter is the worst time to start and end up thinking  it’s because running is awful, not because most normal people do not want to exercise in sub-arctic levels.

If you’re thinking of giving it another go or just a bit curious, then spring is defintely the best time to get back on the bandwagon. The days are getting longer and it’s actually almost light when we wake up in the morning, so most of us feel like we have more energy. Additionally, there are many health benefits involved that are not just to do with losing weight: it’s good for your heart and respiratory system, it can help you sleep better and reduce stress levels, to name a few. You don’t need expensive equipment, a gym contract or an instructor to tell you what to do, you just go.

Still interested? Here are some tips and ideas to get you started.

  1. It doesn’t cost much to start. While there is plenty of fancy equipment out there to aid you, the bare minimum you really need is a good pair of trainers. To begin with a normal pair is fine, but as the distances grow you might notice some discomfort and rubbing. I’d recommend going to a shop, such as Runners Needs or Sweatshop, where they can do a gait analysis and find the right type of shoe for your feet and to suit what type of running you do.
  2. Try out a club. Meeting others and chatting away about experiences can help inspire you and you might even make some new friends too. It might be scary showing up to a smaller event at first, so you could try Parkrun, which is one of the best known running communities out there. It’s a non-profit organisation that sets up timed 5k runs around parks in the UK (and the world) . All you have to do is download a bar code, turn up and run.
  3. Find an interesting route and make sure you do it outdoors. I used to run indoors at my gym on a treadmill. I wondered why so many of my colleagues were absolute nutters and loved it so much. This is because when you go outdoors it does not feel as if you were running as far because you are not facing a timer and instead paying attention to your surrounds. I live in London and love using it to explore different areas, especially around the central parts that are completely deserted in the morning. It’s like sightseeing, only slightly,erm, faster. The website Run my Route is amazing for this. On here you can measure your routes in kilometers or miles, see what other people have created and even start a training log.
  4. You may find yourself hating it at times. Blisters, snotty noses, abhorrent feet and sore muscles are all part and parcel I’m afraid. Not every run is going to make you feel amazing or be a breeze. It is going to be arduous and painful and tiring, but that is where the best part follows. The harder to have to push yourself, the more proud you will be, especially if you hated it at the beginning. A year ago I couldn’t even run for two minutes, I despised running and was only doing it to get fit. Now I’m two weeks away from participating in my first half marathon and actually, dare I say, quite look forward to my weekend long runs.
  5. Set yourself a target. It seems like such a simple thing, but I think it’s really important to always set yourself something to achieve. It will leave you feeling so proud of yourself and perhaps even give you the confidence to try other new activities, or see just how self determined you can really be. You don’t have to join a race though, maybe just trying getting to the end of this NHS Couch to 5K programme would be enough. However, there are races all around the UK at all times of the year that can be found on this website – Running Diary. If you’re thinking of doing one I would recommend a race in autumn, which means that you have plenty of time to train throughout the lovely weather and it won’t be too hot on the big day.


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