I used to run a lot when I was younger. For various reasons it just fizzled out; I stopped running. A few months ago I moved to Canada Water, right near the Thames. The weather was beginning to warm up and I was living in an area with beautiful parks and views out to Canary Wharf and central London. I decided it was time to get back into running. But I didn’t know how. It had been so long since I had properly gone for a run. I get bored easily didn’t think I could focus on just running for half an hour or so let alone have the cardiovascular fitness to do that!
Over the course of a few months I went from not running at all to running 5km (3.1miles) 3 times a week. Here are a few of my tips and tricks to help you get started:
- Find your why – it’s easier to get the motivation to go for a run if you have a reason why. Whether it’s because you’ve signed up to do a race in a couple of months, you want to lose a little bit of weight, you want to be able to keep up with your kids, or maybe you just want to see if you can do it. Whatever your reason make sure you have one.
- Consider using an app – I used an app called “Couch to 5k” made by the BBC which was free to download and over the course of 8/9 weeks you are given 3 runs to do each week you begin with short runs interspersed with longer ‘recovery’ walks and this gradually shifts so you are doing longer run intervals with shorter walks in between and eventually you are running without the need for any ‘recovery’ walks in the middle. I found it such a useful way to build up my stamina slowly without rushing. It was an easy way to have a training plan without having to create the plan myself!
- Schedule time for your runs – plan it into your diary/calendar like you would any appointment. Having time specifically carved out for you to go on a run makes it a lot easier to stick to than just planning to go on a certain day.
- Find something to keep your concentration – if, like me, you struggle to keep concentration or focus for long periods of time find something to hold your interest while you run. My favourites are listening to a podcast, an upbeat playlist or an audiobook. There are even running playlists with tracks at certain bpm to enable you to keep a certain pace if you run to the beat!
- Consider running with a group or a friend – some find it easier to run with others, it can be more fun and social, a good excuse to catch up with a friend or loved one. Also, if you know you need to be held accountable to achieve your goals this is a good way to keep on track!
- Don’t rush – Be patient and take your time, don’t expect to be able to run a marathon in a month. Give your body and your mind time to adjust to running for an extended period of time. Don’t be discouraged if you have days when you find it harder or can’t run as fast or for as long. We all have good and bad days. Look for long-term progress.
- Change up your route – if you begin to get a little bored with your run consider changing up your running route if you tend to run the same way. Maybe run your route backwards to find somewhere new to explore.
- Just get your kit on and get outside – as with most things, the hardest part can just be starting. So put your leggings on get outside and just start. When you have those days when you don’t really want to do it just start and see how it goes, you can always stop but you might just find you can do it and it actually feels pretty damn good (gotta love those endorphins!!)
If you have any great tips I’ve missed in this post please comment below so more people can benefit from your experiences!