10 Tips for Beginner Runners
Starting running can be intimidating and, well, let’s be honest, hard work. But if you persevere it DOES get easier and you WILL start to enjoy it. Here’s how…
Get a plan
You may be just starting out and not considering a specific race yet, but you still need a training plan. This will make sure you’re pushing yourself but not doing too much too soon and risking injury. Find one that starts at the level you’re at now.
Having a distance you want to achieve will keep you motivated. If you have a big goal like running a marathon, set intermediate goals to tick off as you go – such as a 5k race, a 10k, a half-marathon and then the big one.
Tell you friends, tell your family, tell your colleagues – tell everyone that you plan to run a marathon. Saying it out loud will make you commit more fully to it and you may get some much needed encouragement.
Record your progress
After each run write down in a diary how far or how long you ran for and how you felt. Instead of just focussing on the goal ahead of you, look back at this regularly to see how you’re improving and how far you’ve come.
Leave the kit until later
For your first run, just head out in whatever you feel comfortable in. Some old trainers, a pair of leggings and a baggy t-shirt works just fine for the first few times. Plodding round the park in a pair of trainers you’ve had since school won’t do your feet any favours long term though. So, when you’re ready, go to a running shop and get fitted for a pair of running shoes.
Ignore negative comments
From people shouting out the hilarious “Run, Forrest, Run” in the street to people that tell you running is bad for you, ignore the negativity. Rise above it and know that you’re more awesome than them because you’re a runner. It’s much easier to ignore comments when out running if you…
Find a running buddy
You don’t have to run with them, but finding someone else who runs that you can talk about how your running is going with will help motivate you and keep you on track. If you’re in Finsbury Park, Tottenham or Hampstead Heath you can join one of my 0-5k running groups.
Listen to your body
Sometimes your body needs a rest day. It may be that you’re coming down with a cold or have a niggle in your leg that needs attention so listen to it. But if it tells you that you need to eat chocolate biscuits to cure yourself, it’s probably lying to you.
Reaching the finish line of a marathon is reward enough. But a new pair of shoes, a spa day or a weekend away if much easier to visualise when you’re jogging round the park on a cold morning. So promise yourself treat when you reach your goal.
You may be rubbish at running now, but if you keep at it you will get better and, with a bit of hard work, you’ll be able to do things you never thought possible. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.
I have beginners 0-5k running groups in Finsbury Park, Tottenham or Hampstead Heath.