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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 warmup 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
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 shoes and 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 too 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.
Starting any new exercise regime can cause some muscle soreness, this
however should diminish as you become accustomed to the movement and
training, expect this from your quads and calves in particular. Listen
to your body for pain outside of this though, and deal with any
injuries should they occur at the time and include some extra rest if
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.
Within the guidelines above, make your plan failsafe and pre-prepare as much food as you can ahead of time. Tupperware containers and batch cooking are your friends. This means you always have an option to steer you from that microwave meal for lunch!
If you slip up don’t worry too much about it. A common mistake is having something like a biscuit, thinking you’ve blown everything and then eating the whole rest of the packet. What was a tiny blip has now turned into more of an issue, so take it easy on yourself.