Beginner’s Guide to Running
So, you’ve identified that you want to get fitter, leaner, meaner, more badass. But what to do? That gym membership costs a fortune and you have to put up with the dudes who lift weighs while drooling over themselves in the mirror – always uncomfortable. Tearing friends away from their Wii Fit/Twitter/significant others/booze to play any sort of team sport is damn near impossible. So what’s left? Running! But where do you start? Fear not amigos, I’m here to give you some tips.
Stop telling yourself you can’t do it
This is step one. How do you know? Have you tried? Probably not. And in all honesty, it’s easier to say that than to take a leap out of your comfort zone and just give it a go. It’s actually amazing what you can do if you just tell yourself you can do it. Change the narrative you have going on in that head of yours to one of positivity.
Get a gait analysis done
When you’ve located your ‘get up and go’, it’s easy to just whack on any pair of trainers and hit the road, but it’s worthwhile investing in the right pair. Head to a running shop and have a gait analysis. This is where they get you to run on a treadmill for about 30 seconds to analyse your running style, then they can recommend the best shoe for you. This is important as running in shoes that don’t support you properly could result in injury.
Strap your tatas down
Ladies, I cannot stress the importance of a good sports bra enough. The majority of women don’t wear a sports bra when working out apparently, which clearly means that everyone wants saggy fun bags when they get older. For the love of God, take care of your boobs! Don’t just leave them flailing around on top of your chest asking for help. My personal favourite is the Shock Absorber Run bra – straps the chesticles in for the ride like you wouldn’t believe. For more guidance, check out this blog post I did about sports bras. Fellas, I don’t know what you have to do to take care of your *ahem* regions while running, but from what I hear, chaffing can be an issue, as can bleeding nipples, so you know, invest in some talc and Vaseline.
Sign up for a race
Don’t think you’re ready? Well this gives you the perfect excuse to get ready! Be it a 5K, 10K or half marathon, signing up for a race, finding a training plan and sticking to it is a great way to keep your motivation going. Without that, if you’re just going for the occasional run with no real goal in mind, it’s easy to fall off and go back to the lure of the couch. Following a training plan also helps you build up your distances sensibly rather than pushing yourself too soon.
You don’t have to do it alone
I personally found ParkRun a great way to get started. They happen all over the country, a group of people meet in a park at 9am every Saturday, come rain or shine and run 5K. ParkRun was my first ever run. The people couldn’t be friendlier, they time your run for you and put it up on their website so you can keep track of your progress, plus it’s just nice to be around like minded people. All different levels and ages attend, so you have no need to feel self conscious. Also, research running clubs in your area – if you have trouble motivating yourself, it helps to know that at least once a week you’ll be running with a group. Or, just rope a friend in. I love to run alone, but over the past few months have taken myself out of my comfort zone and run in a group. Aside from anything else, I’ve come away with some wonderful new friends.
Track your progress
There are some great tools that will keep you informed of how you’re doing. RunKeeper and Nike+ being two of the more popular. You can download them as an app onto your phone and it will measure your distance, time, pace and lots of other fascinating stats that you will become totally mesmerised by. When I was training for my first half mara, I had no clue these things existed so was just running ‘blind’ so to speak. Once I started using Nike+, I got into my running much more. Tracking my own stats is great, but you can also create groups on the website and set challenges with friends etc to keep each other going.
Understand you will have bad runs
It will happen. I probably have more bad runs than good ones to be honest, but the good ones are so good I am constantly chasing that high. Don’t be discouraged by people who go faster than you, look better than you or clock more miles. Everyone started somewhere. Go at your own pace, don’t get too down on yourself after a bad run – make a note of what happened, chalk it up and know that tomorrow is a new day. The great thing about running is your only competition is yourself.
Now go get those trainers on and hit the streets!