The experience of going on a run and the sense of calm and joy that you feel when out running in nature, has to be experienced to be realised. But for some of us, getting out of the door to run for the first time or lacing up our shoes on a cold and misty morning to go out into the elements again, can be the last thing we feel like doing. Anyone that has faced these struggles knows that if you just jump in and get it done you can be amazed at the results, so we’ve put together this post on how to get into running for those who are completely new to it or for those who just want to get back into it.
Simply follow these steps
I was never good at P.E. at school, I was always the slowest at sprinting and cross country and one of the last to be picked in team games, so consequently I hated it. Fast forward to when I started college and friends around me would go out running for fun? This was a whole new concept to me. I had thought about running before but dismissed it, as I had never been good at sports or fitness in general and would get out of breath climbing the stairs. I was unfit. Then one morning a good friend asked me to go out for a run with her and I thought why not? So I laced up my old beat up training shoes and went out on that cold November morning, and it sounds like a cliché but I’ve never looked back.
It was hard at first, like I couldn’t catch my breath and I had a stitch and I wanted to give up, hard. But my friend was there beside me breathing normally, and just seeing her jogging calmly setting the slow but steady pace, that encouraged me to carry on. I knew with a bit of practice I could get to that. I realised that the pace that I thought was a good pace to run at, that I thought all runners kept to, was actually the speed that someone (fitter than me) might run a 100m sprint race. So not ideal for a beginner like me.
That day we ran for 20 or 25 minutes and it made me realise just how unfit I was. But after that first run we started to go out regularly, and I was able to build up my speed and stamina in a way that I never thought possible. I had finally found something physical that I was good at, and that was a triumph for me!
2. Find a buddy
Following on from No.1, finding a buddy to go running with can be extremely helpful, especially at the start. They can help you set a pace if you are a newbie so that you don’t start off too fast, nearly pass out and then never go running again. For me it helped set a pace for my runs and we would have a little chat as we started out our jog. (They do say that if you can manage to hold a conversation then you are going at the right pace.) Although let’s be honest, most of the time in the beginning I was too tired out to do anything but hang on for dear life and try and make it to the end. As I started running more and more, I would run alone and with other people but I think that if you can find someone to go with you at the start, then making a date with them can and will motivate you to get out the door on those early mornings when you’d really rather be in bed.
3. Get the right shoes
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a good pair of running shoes. They will be the tools of your trade and you will suffer no end of injuries trying to hobble on with those old beat up training shoes that you’ve had for years, which really weren’t made for running anywhere in. This happened to me and I truly could not believe the difference when I tried on my first pair of quality running shoes and did that little test jog in the shop! My favorite brand are Asics because they offer high quality at a reasonable price point. I am currently wearing the Asics Gel Cumulus 18 Running Shoes in Indigo (shown above). Alternative for UK readers here.
4. New workout clothes can help
Now the importance of getting new running clothes is not as pertinent to the physical aspect of running as the importance of getting good running shoes, however it can contribute to your overall running experience. It is more to do with your comfort level and if you are anything like me, having a nice new run top or shorts to try out on your next run, can increase your excitement about getting out there. Everyone has their own preferences as to brand, but I recently picked up some nice bits from Puma and I have a fair amount of Victoria’s Secret Sport and Sweat Betty active wear in my wardrobe. You can shop my picks here.
5. A good playlist is essential
Some people like to run to the sound of the birds (or the traffic) depending on whether you are lucky enough to be able to run in nature, whilst others can’t bear to run without their music on. I am a member of the latter club and find that when my favorite track comes through my earphones I subconsciously start to run with a little more spring in my step. This step completely depends on personal preference and to each their own, but if you do like to run with music then I recommend mixing up your playlist in time for your next long (or short) run.
6. Keep calm and carry on
The penultimate step invites you to keep going, especially when it’s hard, because the next time you go out and the time after that, it will get easier and easier. The first run will be the hardest and after that it will gradually become easier to do what you couldn’t even dream of doing in the beginning. You may start by running as much as you walk, or walking with spurts of running in between, but you will find that you can somehow start to run more and walk less. You will be able to run up that hill that has always challenged you without stopping, and all it takes is practice and time.
Tip: When you are nearing the end of a run, if you find you have anything at all left in the tank, aim for a sprint finish. It will be so tough at the time but you will find that it can help improve your speed and stamina, whilst ending your run on a high. I’ve been doing this more or less since I started, and this combined with hill training, has helped me improve my endurance and I am now preparing for my first half marathon.
7. Enjoy it!
Running is most of all great fun. It really is an adult’s lost link to playing outside, so just have fun with it. Some people will go on to run races and competitions and others will just keep it as a hobby. Maybe you think that running races might bring out your competitive side or perhaps that might take the fun out of it for you. Whichever way you go with it, there is something wonderful about the time you take for yourself to go out and run free. So whatever you do, breathe in each and every moment and just make it awesome!