How To Start Running – 7 Simple Steps To a Happier, Healthier You.

Believe in yourself

Never say never, you can do this, it may not be the best feeling to start with but stick with it, you WILL see the benefits. Medical research proves that running creates endorphins in your bloodstream which lift your mood and energise you, doctors say that it is very much like a mild anti depressant.

Use some structured training

Start off slowly and use either the couch to 5k app on your smartphone (it’s available on all platforms and there are lot’s of versions, the NHS one is brilliant) or join a local running group, there are many about all over the country, they are very welcoming, you’ll find the running community is very welcoming and inclusive. The cost is cheap, the app is free and a running club usually only charges a couple of quid per session, the price of a choccy bar (yes well a big one that’s why I run).

Join in on your local ParkRun (https://www.parkrun.org.uk/)

Parkrun is a free timed run or walk every Saturday morning at 9am and takes place simultaneously at over 138,000 locations all over the world with over 2 million registered participants! There is absolutely no pressure, many people walk the whole course. There are volunteer marshals to ensure everyone gets around safely and everyone is just so friendly, supportive and encouraging, it really makes you feel a part of something.

All you need to do is register your details on the website, it’s all free, and then print out your barcode. Your barcode is scanned at the finish line and your time is texted and emailed to you. When you first turn up there is always a beginner briefing and you won’t be alone, I have never been to a ParkRun without new people there.

Running with other people is so beneficial, you give up less easily, and it’s kind of a natural thing to do for us mammals, running with the pack. I have made some fantastic friends and I’m not usually the social type, I sometimes struggle in social situations but when running I just find it’s very different.

Remember how far you have come

When you start the couch to 5k app do what you can, don’t worry if you struggle, I did. If you do struggle just repeat the same weeks training again until you can complete it, there’s no rush, enjoy it, smile, it’s easier when you smile. Another tip for when you are struggling is to think back to how you were a few weeks ago and tell yourself “I am beating yesterday”, I still do this now if I am in a race and struggling or even just when having an off day in general.

Buy some proper trainers

If you find you like it, before you start building up too much mileage get some proper trainers. I started in a cheap pair of sports shop trainers, I just though trainers were trainers. I was wrong, there are many different types and also different types dependent on how you actually run, this is known as your running gait.

I strongly recommend going to a local specialist, somebody like Runner’s Need which is usually found within Costwold Outdoors stores. They have a treadmill and computer equipment to ensure you have the right trainers, this will stop you causing yourself any injuries. If you are a bit shy or struggle socially or are anxious at all that’s OK just go for what’s known as a cushioned shoe, it will help adsorb the impact as you begin to run and start using your muscles in a different way.

The most common injury with runners just starting out is shin splints, this is a pain in your shin when you run and can be caused by the impact of running especially when your legs are not used to it. You have to remember that every step you run you are putting four times your body weight of impact through your legs. Proper trainers may be more expensive (around £60 upwards) but they are most definitely worth it.

Warm up and cool down

Ensure you warm up at the start and stretch at the end of every run, a warm up could be a walk you steadily build up, just take it nice and gentle. At the end of the run it is advisable to stretch out your muscles, this will help to stop any aching in the following days.

To stretch your calves stand on a step with the ball of your feet and your heels hanging over, try to hold on to something for balance and then lower your heels, you should feel the stretch at the back of your leg. To stretch your upper legs, whilst holding onto something and with your legs together swing your lower leg back and hold onto to your shoe where your laces are, pull your foot slightly back and you should feel the stretch.

I would say though that I am not a coach or qualified in any way so I would recommend joining a club where a coach will help you with this or watch some videos online.

Drink plenty

Our bodies are made up of 70% water, ensure you keep hydrated during the day leading up to your run or the evening before if you are running early, this will help your muscles work better, then ensure you replace any lost fluids after your run, this will flush out any lactic acid in your legs and help reduce any aching in the following days.

I hope that this has been of some help to you and if it has please let me know commenting below or pop me an email at gavin@runningfromtheblackdog.com . Also please let me know of anything else I can help with, I’m no expert but hopefully I can share with you what I have learnt so far. I can answer on any questions on here so others can also benefit.

Thanks,

Gav.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.