Rewind the clock back 15 years and you will find me; overweight, unfit, unhealthy and in no means anything resembling a runner. Anyone can be a runner, if I can, then you can too. I started my fitness journey jogging and walking as a way to lose weight, get a little fitter and be a little healthier. I could barely run to one street lamp before I needed the walk break to the next but I persevered and slowly but surely the walk breaks were needed later and at some point I morphed into the runner I am today.
I wish I’d had someone to take me under my wing and give me a few tips about how to embark on this improved me but I had to learn the hard way. But you don’t! You don’t need to look a certain way, have a certain body shape or have any experience. All you need is your body, a pair of shoes and a purpose; a why.
Everybody’s why is different. Perhaps you want to get fitter and lose some weight like I did (initially), to achieve a goal like running a certain distance, to experience adventure like I do now, to push yourself to achieve more than you thought possible (also now me), to get outdoors, to be able to run with your dog or your children or just simply because you can.
So how do you get started?
- Firstly as the famous saying goes…
Just Do It!
- Get the right shoes for you, visit a running store local to you and the team there should talk you through the options, get you trying on a few pairs and even going for a short run in them either outdoors or in the treadmill. Buying from your local store also means if the shoes don’t work for you, as in they cause you blisters or other pain, you can take them back.
- Wear comfortable clothes that make you feel good, don’t worry about having to look a certain way or wear certain brands just feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. Everyone’s different, some people like vest tops others prefer a short or long sleeve top, some will like tight fitting clothes others prefer loose clothing, short or long it’s totally your choice.
- Get a schedule and stick to it! Consistency is key here. There are some great online and/or apps of ‘Couch to 5k’ plans that set you a very realistic program to follow taking out the guessing work of how and when to increase both the amount of time you run Vs walking and increasing the distance covered without overdoing it.
- If you’re a social butterfly look to join a local running group, there are loads of beginner groups out there and joining other people on a similar journey to you will give you some friendly inspiration and give you a reason to turn up. (Following social distancing guidelines in your area of course). Park Run, a free weekly timed 5k run, is also a great way to be in a running community that truly welcomes all levels of fitness from runners going for personal best fast times to those that walk the entire 5k.
- Enjoy rest days as well, you need to give your body a chance to not only recover but adapt to your new training.
- Nutrition & Hydration – Look after your body by feeding it healthy and nutritious food and stay hydrated to allow your body to fuel and recover from your runs to make you stronger,
- Make yourself accountable by sharing your goals with your partner or a friend. Did you know only 8% of people achieve silent goals, 33% if you write your goals down and if you share these goals with someone then staggeringly you are 65% more likely to achieve them!
- Have fun.
The path to running is not always easy, some days will feel easier than others but stick with it and you might just surprise yourself!