A Guide to How to Start Running

Time for change


So you want to start running…for weight loss, fitness, your own personal challenge or because everyone bangs on about it and you thought you’d give it a go! Whatever the reason you’ve made the best decision and one that will change your life for the better and believe me a choice you will not regret!

5 things you need and need to know to be a runner

  1. Trainers – the first item you will need to purchase and probably the most important. You can choose from a wide selection of trainers depending on the type of running you enjoy and best fits your lifestyle from trail to road – there is a trainer for you (you can probably buy it in every colour if you like too). IF you’re like me, you will go into a shoe store (like Office or Schuh and look at shoes or boots that you need, then see the price of the pair that caught your eye and then… you put them back on the shelf because they are no way worth that kind of money!?  However, I now walk into a sport shop, pick those lovely new road trainers…£150 no brainer, I must have them, no question, time to go straight over to the till to pay. This may seem like a lot, but maintaining good comfort when running, helping with your support, posture and finding shoes that fit your running style really is priceless and worth every penny (or pound)! This is how it works for me, your trainers will always be the most expensive purchase, but when you get the running bug you won’t even bat an eye at the price – trust me!
  2. Running Wardrobe – you really will only ever need a t-shirt and shorts/leggings to run, however, with ever changing seasons and English weather this is what you will end up buying: a buff or two, a forty quid bra that holds you down and holds you in to stop that painful bounce (if you’ve got a chest like mine), compression socks in varying colours, a bum bag or two, three or four running jackets for that English weather (windy, heavy rain, light rain), shorts, running tights, headwear (for all English weather) sweatband for summer, headband for wind, cap for summer or rain, bobble hat for cold, earmuffs etc etc special running socks that cost double of a normal pair, short sleeved tops, base layers, three pairs of gloves (because you’ll keep losing them), vests and long sleeved tops. As with the trainers these will form your most loved and expensive part of your overall wardrobe with no guilt and reason for explanation for purchasing…. you need it all, but if you don’t want to buy it all to begin with – just start with a t-shirt and some shorts or leggings.
  3. Injuries – you will get injured, we all do, you will pull a muscle or fall over in the woods or over a lifted drain like I did, taking 10 layers of skin off my knees and hands. It’s important to know it happens, it’s also a proud moment that you will tell everyone you meet that you have a running injury (because you’re a runner now).  Some injuries take time to heal, others you can plough on through but it’s always good idea to find a great physio to assist you, they will be able to offer you the best pleasure pain experience of your life. You will go because your legs feel tight and need a good deep sports massage. You go along looking forward to a massage….my advice to you is remember to breathe!!!! It’s the most painful thing that I have ever paid for but also the weirdest pleasurable experience.  If you live in the Forest of Dean, I can highly recommend Forest Physiotherapy – big shout out to Fiona.  The best advice I can give you is to warm up before you run and always cool down and stretch after each run.  We are all guilty of not bothering but it is so important for the prevention of tight muscles leading to injuries and time out.  Here is a guide to Warm up & post run stretches.
  4. Tech – Smart phone, GPS watch, earphones, heart rate monitors and lots more. They all have a place if you want to trace and track progress.  As some say if it’s not on Strava the run didn’t count… I will leave it up to you how you feel about that one.  I use a Garmin watch and love to look back at my workouts and see my splits, heart rate, aerobic training effect and VO2 max age (an indication of your cardiovascular fitness), I love stats and I like to see how each one varies and look back on the same runs to see the difference. I used to run with music on every run but when I moved to triathlons I stopped as didn’t want the faff in the transition fanning about with phones, earphones and arm or waistbands.  Now I tend to listen to podcasts or audio books on a long solo run.  Its personal preference however bear in mind that some races do not allow competitors to use headphones so If you plan to run in these races it would be good to run with and without so you’re comfortable with both.
  5. Motivators – We all need them, whether you’re a new runner or someone who has been hitting the trials for 20 years. Running is an addictive hobby and even though that is the case some days it’s just hard to motivate yourself to get out the door.  My advice is to PREPARE – if you plan a run before work or in your lunch break get your running kit out ready the night before so you can just get up and dressed or grab your kit bag to take with you.  Other motivators can be family, friends, running buddies or running clubs, make plans to run on days and times if you’ve committed to run with people or groups you are more likely to get out there.  Write your goals down, put rewards in place for reaching goals, try a few things and see what works for you.  As easy as it is to say “The weathers a bit naff I don’t fancy it” or “I just can’t get the motivation to go for a run” once you’ve laced up and done it you will be pumped you did it, don’t put yourself down a good run a bad run there all worth it!  You will feel incredible when you get back through the door after a run and feel a higher level of achievement having dragged yourself out the door.

So you’ve now bought all the kit and you’re ready to run but where do you start?..…you can join a 0-5k group, most running groups have these that are approx. 6-9 weeks, check out your local running group (most offer these for free), you can download an app to follow or just lace up and have go.

Here is a 0-5k plan you can use – print it off and put on your fridge or wall to keep you motivated

Happy running and we hope to see you at one of our Finish Lines in the near future!

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