Running is one of the world’s most enjoyable pursuits. That’s why hundreds of millions of people around the world do it. And, every day, more and more of us are turning to running as an effective and fun way of keeping fit and active. But for those new to the sport, getting started isn’t always easy, especially in the early days. That’s why we’ve come up with a selection of tips and tricks to help you start as you mean to continue – the right way.
Start slower than you think
Take a sensible route into your runs with some slow-paced jogging to get you going. And when we say slow, we mean slow. The benefits of this are three-fold: it will help to prevent injury as your body adjusts to your new routine; it will keep your motivation high when each run is not a punishing affair that leaves you psychologically dreading the next time you lace up, and even gentle runs promote cardio-vascular and muscular-structural development. So, really. Don’t worry about pace – especially in the early days of your running career. Just getting used to the new challenges you’re presenting your body is more than enough to deal with.
Invest in the right gear
Take away as many hurdles as possible to maintain your habit. The right gear will keep you happy, content and comfortable while you’re racking up the miles. Here are three great pieces to start your running collection.
The Cloudstratus features two layers of Helion-enriched CloudTec for increased vertical and horizontal cushioning. Connected forefoot Cloud elements are perfectly aligned with the Speedboard, resulting in big energy return, durability and road protection. £150.00, on-running.com
These Lightweight Shorts are engineered solely to help you perform better. A rear pocket and key loop secure your essentials, even when running at top speed. And, with zero zips or hard points, the shorts make light work of floor work too. £70.00, on-running.com
The UnderArmour Rush Tech Mock is the perfect companion for colder runs. The Super-soft ColdGear fabric is breathable & stretches for superior mobility but is still incredibly warm. £60.00, underarmour.co.uk
Leave some in the tank
Ernest Hemingway famously told authors to finish each day’s work midway through a sentence. He believed that by not reaching the end of their thoughts, they’d have something to pick up and start with the next day. And a similar principle applies to running. Always aim to finish each run when you still want to do more. Don’t run yourself to physical and psychological exhaustion, you’re not trying to go pro here, remember, it’s meant to be fun.
The beauty of running is its simplicity. One foot in front of the other, taking in the sights and filling your lungs with the great outdoors. But an early running analysis can have big payoffs, especially if you intend to get serious about running in the future. Mastering your technique before bad habits become ingrained will put you on the path to fulfilling your potential. How far you go is up to you. Brands such as ON and Nike have specialists in-store that will be able to help you with this and provide vital feedback using their gait analysis machines.
Be aware of your surroundings
If you’ve used treadmills, the rhythmic beat of music might feel like a natural running partner. Out on the roads, though, it’s a different story. Without headphones, you’ll be able to give your full concentration to the sounds around you, including potential traffic. If you prefer to run to music or listen to a podcast, stay vigilant and avoid any noise-cancelling settings. Running to your own rhythm can help you focus on key aspects like your breathing and your pulse. Starting to understand your heart rate zones will take a bit of time. But it’s key to unlocking aerobic zone training (where you maximize your ability to burn fat) and anaerobic zone training (where you rely on your glycogen reserves). If you don’t want to run on the roads you can head to your local athletics track and run for free, although some may charge a small membership fee.
Run with a club
Running solo can be one of life’s great joys but if you’re knocking out several runs a week as part of a training plan, doing some of them with other people is a great way to stay motivated, make friends, and discover new places to run. You’ll find free running groups in most cities around the UK now – many specialists running stores stage several group runs each week – or you can look into joining your local running club. Rest assured that you don’t need to be a speedster to join – they cater for all abilities. Some of our favourites in the city are Track Mafia, Track East, Patta Running Team, Run Dem Crew.
Mix it up – but not too much
Maintaining interest and enthusiasm is key in the early days, so a great running tip is to make sure your training takes in plenty of different routes. Variety can prevent boredom from seeping in during the crucial period when going running is switching from a conscious effort to a fully-formed habit. Yet, at the same time, a handful of repeated routes is still necessary. It’s only by running the same paths that you’ll get the motivational benefits of being able to track your progress and see your improvement as your times start to get lower and lower. Tech such as Whoop, Strava and UA’s MapMyRun can help you keep track of what you’re doing each session.
And remember, we’re not trying to break records here. We simply want to move more.