Now seems like a pretty good time to start running. It’s a simple sport that doesn’t require any fuss, you can just put on your trainers and run. It really is as simple as Right Foot, Left Foot and repeat. Yet getting started can feel far more complicated than it needs to be, and this blog offers 10 simple tips for new runners to help you get into running confidently. So of you are a new runner, or you know someone who is just getting into running, then this blog is for you. So here it is, my top 10 tips for new runners.
1. Don’t worry about Distance
When you get started don’t aim to high, don’t worry about the distance you are running. This is something you will build on gradually. Whatever you are able to manage when you start out becomes your base and something to build on. If you focus too much on a set distance early on you may feel overwhelmed, especially if it’s too far, so just do what you can, be happy with that, and then go and do it again. Distance will come in time.
2. Don’t worry about Speed
Just like distance, it doesn’t matter how fast you are when you start out. Speed is relative. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get to your goal distance. Whatever you achieve becomes your target, and you then have something you can aim to improve.
Please note that the longer you run the slower you will be, and try to increase both speed and distance gradually. Going as fast as you can for as long as you can will often lead to injury, especially when starting out.
3. Dont worry about anyone else
No matter how far you can run, or how fast you can run, there will always be someone out there who can run further and faster. When you start out you will look at other runners who make it look easy. Don’t worry about what they are doing, and concentrate on you. Be the best you can be, and aim to improve your times. If you focus too much on other people you can find yourself becoming unmotivated and disappointed.
4. Have a Goal
Having a target is a great motivator. As I said, don’t worry about anyone else, be the best that you can be. So what do you want to achieve? It may be making it to the shops without stopping, achieving your first 5k, building for a marathon, running a parkrun without stopping? Whatever your goal is, write it down an work towards it. It doesn’t matter where you start, but know what you want to achieve.
5. Have a Plan
Once you have a goal, you need to plan how you will get there. Having a training diary, tracking runs either online on something like Strava or Garmin, and recording progress is a great way to keep motivated. Once you have a goal you can determine what you need to do to reach it, separating out your longer runs at lower intensity, and shorter runs concentrating on speed. You can then go into a run knowing that you want to run a little bit further, or a little faster, or for a little longer. Having a plan holds you accountable, and it really helps to see you moving closer towards your target.
6. Plan Rewards
It’s important to have long goals like a race or set distance and time. This gives your running focus, but to keep you motivated it is worth planning Rewards for achieving your goals. You may find that the goal is reward in itself, but a little bit of extra motivation doesn’t hurt. But what helps even more is to have smaller goals and rewards more regularly. It can be as small as a chocolate treat, or takeaway, or something nice you want to buy yourself. Why not set that aside for when you finish a run, or when you do all your planned runs for the week. This will keep you getting out there.
7. Run with others
Difficult right now during the Lockdown, but when things go back to normal parkrun, clubs etc all help to keep you going. Running with friends is a great motivation and can make running far more enjoyable. For now social media is a fantastic way to connect with other runners and keep you motivated. There are lots of virtual events happening and you can work with others to achieve goals, and sharing experiences with others makes running less of a chore and something you look forward to doing.
8. Dress the part
Running is low maintenance, you can wear old trainers and clothes and just run. However, being comfortable, wearing good running clothes and trainers that are suited for you can make a huge difference. Not only will it feel better, and be more comfortable, but it can help you feel confident and make you want to get out there. It is worth getting a gait analysis and working out what trainers are best for you
9. Make sure you rest
It is easy to get carried away, and especially during Lockdown I have noticed people running more than they usually would. This is great, but make sure you rest. If you don’t you risk overtraining which could lead to fatigue, injury and lack of motivation.
10. Have fun
Most of all make sure you have fun. Think about why you have got into running, whether it is to lose weight, get fit, or to be socially active, you will be far more successful if you do it with a smile on your face. I’m a strong believer of #runhappy and that is how I run, with a smile and enjoyment.
I really hope this blog has helped you if you are a new runner. If you have any questions please let me know and I will help if I can. If you are looking to step up to a marathon then check out my Top Tips for running a Marathon.