Lots of people resolve to get fit as a new year’s resolution and plenty choose running as the means by which they will achieve this. I heartily endorse this approach – and because I know how easy it is to start well, but perhaps tail off a bit, here’s some advice for new & returning runners.
1. Get good shoes. And a good bra, if you’re a woman. Nothing else matters at the moment – you don’t need any other expensive kit. Try not to wear all black if you are running in the dark. But I think at a beginning stage, it’s better to buy the right shoes and improvise shorts than it is to skimp on shoes and have all singing, all dancing clothes or gadgets.
2. Remember it’s YOUR life, YOUR running and no-one else’s. Yes, people might overtake you. Yes, you might be slow. You are out there, doing what is right for you. I frequently feel stupid, slow, and with all the style of a sack of potatoes on legs, but I have learned to ignore that feeling in favour of knowing how good I’ll feel at the end.
3. If you lace up your trainers, go out the door running as hard as you can, you will probably get to the end of the road and feel like crap. Start gently and build up distance and speed. Lots of people swear by the couch-to-5k plan which does just that – gets you from 0 to 30min running over about 8 weeks.
4. The hardest bit is from your sofa or bed to your front door. Even if you really really don’t want to go, getting outside for a short time is worth it. I have been known to trick myself – telling myself we’ll go out for 5 minutes and come straight back. I rarely do; and have often gone on for an hour or so.
And some random ideas…Have fun. Be proud of yourself. Judge yourself by your progress, not anyone else’s. Ladies – don’t underestimate the effect your hormones have on your ability to run. Keep at it. Don’t beat yourself up for having an off day. Record progress. Track miles, but also how you feel. Vary places to run – park, pavement, trail. Enjoy.