Running is hard! Anyone who runs, who has ever tried to run, or who thinks they can’t run knows this only too well. If you’ve tried, but not succeeded at running you may well think ‘I’m not built for running’, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘it’s easier for them.’ The truth is running is hard!Anyone new to running will find it tiring, boring & maybe difficult to coordinate their breathing. You may hate the burning in your chest or the aching of your limbs. It’s important to remember that everyone has been here. Every runner has been a beginner at some point & it is easy to give up. But if you don’t, if you persevere, then once the running bug gets you, you will be so pleased you stuck with it because it will change your life.
How Can Running Help Me?
Running will help to manage your weight, helping to prevent diabetes, heart disease & obesity. It will improve your confidence as you become aware of what you can achieve & how strong your body is. It is also a great way to destress, to offer you some headspace & to improve your willpower & determination. It’s a great exercise because it’s free, you can practice anytime & you can take part alone or with friends.
You need a strong, determined mind & a good pair of running shoes. Many shops offer a service where they will watch or record your running style & then recommend footwear to ensure the most supportive running shoes for you. This is well worth the investment. A good pair of trainers will support your foot & ankle, helping to keep your hips & knees aligned when you run. There is little else that you need.
How Do I Start?
If your new to running, be sure you can walk 30 minutes at once, at a decent speed. Build up to this if needs be. Once you are comfortable with this, you can introduce one to two minute running intervals & gradually build from here. Allow your recovery periods/walking intervals to gradually become shorter & runs to get longer, until eventually you can run/jog for the full 30 minutes. There will likely be times when you’ll think you can’t do it; I remember them well. Stay focused, keep trying & you will get there. And when you do: it feels fantastic.
Once you can run for 30 minutes you are well on your way. You can work to increase speed or distance, or stick here if you wish. There are races you can enter, groups you can join: whatever you wish, to keep you motivated.
There are advantages & disadvantages to both & the truth is, you’re best running wherever you feel happiest. I mix it up & do some outside runs & some at the gym. The treadmill offers a more pleasant environment from the cold & rain. It’s great for hill training as you can choose & change the incline & is also a great way to train with friends of different ability. It can also be kinder on the knees than road running.
Road running offers a great variety of surfaces & also allows your body to work against the elements as you run. Both of these things allow your body to work harder than treadmill running. You naturally vary your speed & you may find outdoors running more interesting on the eye. The fresh air is also pleasant & it can be enjoyable to mix up your route to keep everything varied. Personally, I cannot choose between the 2. I enjoy both equally & enjoy the different challenges both bring. Long distance runs I enjoy outside, faster, shorter runs I prefer at the gym. There is no right or wrong, just see what you prefer.
You may want to invest in a pair of headphones to keep you company whilst you’re out & about. If you’re not running on a treadmill you may also want to download an app (such as map my run – for free) to measure your time & distance travelled. Other options are to invest in a fitness band, such as a Fitbit or Jawbone, however these will not be able to give you accurate race times & distances. Personally, I use both. I have map my run on my phone & I wear a Misfit Shine.
Don’t be shy to shout about your achievements. Facebook or Twitter offer a great ground for bragging about how far you’ve travelled & how quickly. The support you receive from social networks can be a great driving force & keep you motivated. It’s also a great way to keep a record of your previous runs &, if you’re competitive, gives you your time to beat next time.
How about we all take on a fitness challenge.
I challenge you to run (at least) 1 marathon in the month of April. No it doesn’t need to be done at once! You’ve got a whole month to add up those miles until you reach 26.2 miles.