I love to run, I’m no athlete and it’s not the only type of exercise I do but I can definitely give some advice to those starting out or finding it hard to progress.
Running is very unique, a lot of people run just to keep fit but at the same time hate it! If you don’t like running then don’t do it! Running can be very difficult and I work hard to keep my pace at a good level! I get asked quite a few questions about running so I thought I’d put it all in a blog post! 🙂
So the first time you go out for a run you will probably want to stop and give up very quickly, say 5-10 minutes in. You’ll be very out of breath and might be put off running for a while, if not, ever! So my first tip is interval training. Try intervals of walking and jogging to build up your fitness. For example walk for a minute, jog for 30 seconds, do this for 10-15 minutes. Each time you train increase the jogging time until you can jog at a steady comfortable pace for more than 15 minutes, this may take a while so just be patient! Then, keeping at this comfortable pace, you can start focusing on building up your distance. Intervals are great for all kinds of training, especially for beginners. You can mix it up however you like, and its a great way of progressing to a good pace in your own time.
- Don’t worry about your speed
A lot of people worry too much about how fast they can run rather than their pace and distance. If you want to be sprinting 100-400m then great focus on your speed! But if you want to be able to run 5k, 10k or more you really need to focus on the distance and your pace to begin with. Once you feel confident at running a certain distance then focus on improving your pace/speed. For new runners I think this is so important, otherwise you will run a mile and be knackered wondering why you can’t improve, but if you just go slower and focus on your distance and pace you will probably find you can progress better!
- Invest in some good running shoes
This is a must! Some people make the mistake of running in standard gym shoes or sport trainers that are not designed for running. It is so important that you wear good running shoes otherwise you can easily damage your feet. I love wearing Asics for running but there are so many brands to choose from. Everyone is different so every feet are different! My best advice would be to go to a running shoe shop and talk to a professional who can advise the best shoes for you. Invest in some running shoes and trust me – your feet will thank you!
- Run regularly
If you want to be a runner you have to keep it up regularly, there’s no doubt about that! With any type of exercise you can’t just train once or twice a month and expect progress. People ask me how many times a week they should run but this comes down to many factors including your current fitness level and lifestyle. If you’re new to running then I would stick to 1-2 times a week, then as your fitness levels increase you can do more. For me, I run 1-2 times a week but I also do other things so usually train 3-6 times a week, if I have a race then I usually change my training routine and include more running.
- Enter a race or start a challenge
I feel like no-one really understands running until they have done a race. If i didn’t do races I don’t think I would enjoy running as much. With running I love having something to work towards and I love mixing my training up by entering different kinds of races too. For example, my training for a off road hilly half marathon would be totally different from a flat 5k road race.
But why race? The atmosphere of races are great! With the crowds and spectators, running alongside other runners, and that feeling when you finish is just amazing…. You feel so proud of yourself, for what you have achieved and worked for and you realise what your body is capable of! (Plus you get a cool medal and sometimes a goody bag!). I definitely didn’t ‘get’ running until I started doing races. I don’t race for serious reasons like competing, I do it because I enjoy them, and when it comes to running I think thats the most important thing!
Don’t feel ready or confident to enter a race? Start a challenge! A running challenge is a great way to not only keep you motivated but a good way to progress! There are many challenges you could do, either search online or make one up yourself! My friend Sophie did a challenge of run a mile a day throughout may and of course she did it! (Go read her blog! Sophie’s Fitness Journey).
Feel like you have no energy when you run? First of all, what have you eaten that day? What have you eaten the day before? Just like with any exercise, how you fuel your body is so important. Take this into consideration when you plan to run, give your body what it wants and needs!
- Be patient!
You can’t expect to run a couple of times and be amazing! It will take time to build up, just don’t give up after one run and say ‘I can’t do it! or ‘I can’t run!’…. Everyone can run, and if you really want to take up running you have to be patient.
These are just my top tips and again I’m not an athlete or running coach but if you’re a beginner I hope that I have helped you in some way!