Fitness: New to running?

Now I’m definitely not an expert in this field, but I’ve been running (albeit on/off) for the past three years and I thought it could be helpful to write about the things I’ve discovered along the way! These are not at all to be taken as ‘rules’ and certain things will work for certain people… You’ve just got to find what works for you, and I hope these offer a little insight!

#1 – You don’t need expensive gear.
Having a good pair of running shoes is important (i.e not converse or the like!), but you don’t need to spend up to £100 on them! Find out whether you have high/low/normal arches and then get a shoe with suitable cushioning! Sports shops can help you with this, and some will even check your gait to get that perfect shoe. I’ve always used Sports Direct for my running shoes, and the most expensive didn’t top £35 for New Balance (my personal favourites!), so it’s not unreasonable! Try a few brands on and see what feels the best for you.

With clothing, I think the only necessary expense is a good sports bra. Now I’m lucky and can get away with cheap ones as I don’t need much support at all, but if you’re on the bigger side – they’re worth the expense!

I always got caught up with wanting the ‘proper’ tights, tops, jackets and whatever else, but you don’t really need them. I think it’s nice to feel good in your sports wear, but even places like Primark now have cheap stuff to buy! You don’t need all Nike or whatever brand is popular. (They’re expensive!)

#2 – Find your motivation.
Now what I mean by this, is discover what helps you to run. Some people don’t particularly want to start running outside straight away, and that’s fine. Use a treadmill, and it’ll help you to get a good base. Transitioning to outside is something to watch out for – running outside is more difficult than running on a treadmill. You’ve got the landscape to think about (hills that don’t seem like hills until you’re running them!) and the weather, as two factors. Don’t let that put you off though! For me, running outside (the sunnier the better!) is a must. I get bored on a treadmill. Outside, you can find beautiful places to run. Parks, woods, fields, cities – the options are endless.

Another thing to think about is music. When I first started running, I needed to be listening to something. I actually discovered that listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks was perfect as each chapter was roughly between 25-45 minutes. The perfect length for a run! Now, I can run without sound, but I have started to make my way through my HP audio books again! (I’m up to PoA!)

#3 – Go at your own pace.
Far too many times I have become obsessed with other people’s times, and realised that my fast wasn’t actually that fast in the world of running. Does it really matter though? Not really. Comparing yourself to others can make you feel a little discouraged, so just focus on yourself.

#4 – Find a club or group.
That said, joining the athletics club at university has really helped me with my running attitude! They’re all faster than me, but I found that their workout really pushed me and I wanted to improve. Finding others to run with can really help with motivation. Many times Monday has arrived, and I haven’t felt like running at 6pm. Knowing that others on the team were running got me out of the flat and running with them! Most groups will cater to all abilities, so have a look and you may be surprised!

#5 – Enter yourself into a fun run!
These races are a great way to gain experience, and there’s no pressure to run it all the way! You’ll also be helping charity at most of them, so why not?! There are plenty of different races to take part in, the race for life and the colour run are just two that I’ve done. I’ve actually done the race for life 3 years on the run now, and I love it. There’s an incredible atmosphere and people of all abilities. I think entering yourself into a race, no matter what type it is can give you a goal and maybe help you to keep going. I’ve entered myself into a 10k this year (it’ll be my second) and that’s what’s making me want to run!

#6 – Stretch!
This is an important point, and something that I often forget to do! (Bad, I know!) I’m always reminded that I haven’t stretched when I feel my calves going tight… Something that always helps me is yoga. I’ll usually just make my way through a small sequence of moves, focusing on my lower half. There are plenty of videos on youtube for yoga, and some especially for runners. It doesn’t take long, and you will definitely feel the difference!

So, there we go. My tips for running. I hope these do help a little. If you have anything to add, please do comment! It’d be great to see other tips/experiences!