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As with starting any physical activity this is a recommended step. It sounds boring, and I don’t like putting up barriers to exercise, but for certain people it can be important and will put your mind at ease.
A dynamic warm up will serve you best here, which simply means taking your joints through a range of motion. Think leg swings compared with a standing stretch. Your aim is to increase your body temperature, heart rate, blood flow and increase your joint mobility before you start.
If you’ve never really run before make a plan and schedule. How many times per week? What route are you going to run etc? Start by adding some small light runs to your walks and increase them slowly. A simple trick is using lamposts as markers. Walk to one lampost and then lightly jog to the next and repeat according to your level. If you’ve really no idea where to start though there are plenty of online beginners running plans.
Specific footwear and the right fit are essential, running is an impact sport and running shoes are specifically designed to cater for this. It’s a worthwhile investment getting assessed and fitted for the right shoe for your body and the terrain. The right clothing can also help wick moisture away from your body. I probably don’t have to point this one out, but waterproof or resistant breathable gear is a must here. There’s no fun running drenched but if you’ve got the right gear, a shower or two shouldn’t be a problem.
Run tall and relaxed with short strides to start. Try to regulate your breathing. This ties in with point 3, your training ought to be challenging but if you’re huffing and puffing you may have taken a step too far too quickly.
Make sure to run in well lit areas and invest in gear that allows you to be seen at night, especially in winter. A lot of running shoes and specific clothing are made with reflective fabrics now, so choosing your favourite colour will be the hardest part. The surfaces you run on and your route are also something to consider.
Try to eat more than an hour before you intend to hit the run/walk. If you’re running with the goal of fat loss then your nutrition is going to play a very important role. If you are overweight, then leaning down will help lighten the load on your joints and make your running easier. See our nutrition article here for more information though.
Consistency with any new exercise (and nutrition) is what ultimately determines your results, so anything that helps improve that will stand to you longer. Finding a partner or running group helps push you, stops you skipping sessions and there’s safety in numbers
Nationwide, almost every weekend different events are cropping up tailored to different levels. Everything from fun runs to adventure races. Setting the goal of an event feeds into the challenge and helps push you to another level. Start with a small fun run and then build your distance/challenges from there.
Make a plan…and stick to it. Look at your diary in advance so you know the days you are busy and can plan your runs around them.
That said, we’re only human. If you slip up and miss a run, don’t over react and let it completely throw you off your path. Just pick yourself up the next day and get right back on track!