With the weekend coming to a close many of you will be looking to Monday morning and planning to kick off a new regime of some sort, whether it’s upping your fitness, cutting back on the treats or getting more sleep. If one of your new goals is to break in those box-fresh trainers and begin running, you’re in luck as I’ve put together my top three tips to get you started.
Running was never really a choice for me. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and my modes of transport were my feet or a bike. You might think that a bike would be the more sensible option but considering it had been ‘recovered’ from a hedgerow by a family friend and was far too big for me, my feet were much more reliable. Running progressed from a necessity to a pleasure when I took up cross-country at secondary school, and continued when I began road-running whilst in the forces. Nowadays running serves two purposes in my life – a career and a hobby. The mental aspect of my personal running is just as important as the fitness it provides me with. I use it to clear my head and prepare myself for whatever life throws at me. When I spend some time turning over my legs, and my head, I become a better person. And I’m not the only one. Time and time again I have clients who start running to drop some pounds or gain a PB but then end up reaping the mental rewards.
So, if you’re planning on hitting the road tomorrow, here are my top 3 tips to get started:
- Get out there – and do it regularly. Whilst planning your route and prepping your kit are important, what’s more beneficial is to get out there and actually run! Look at your schedule right now and block off three 30 minute sessions each week, for the next few weeks. You don’t have to run for the full 30 minutes each time, a combination of walking and running is fine to start with. Nor is the distance you cover too important – what matters at this point is that you get in to the routine of running. Once you’re feeling comfortable then you can up your speed and distance.
- Use your commute. If you’re struggling to find three blocks across the course of your week, why not kill two birds with one stone and replace your sweaty commute with an even sweatier run! If you have shower facilities at work, leave a stash of clothing there the day before and run in the next morning. If not, then replace your evening commute and take the opportunity to clear your head of your day’s stresses.
- Join a running club. There are lots of clubs out there, many of them completely free. Make sure you find one that complements your approach to running. Some will be track-based, focusing on increasing your speed and achieving your personal best. Others will take a more relaxed approach, with members who just want to run for pure enjoyment. Whichever you choose, joining a running club will cement your dedication to running. When the evenings get dark and wet and you consider hitting a box-set instead of the road, those friendships you’ve made and that sense of community will keep you motivated. If you’re based in London, why not try out the free running club that I’ve just launched in partnership with Team TomTom? It takes place on Tuesday nights in Regent’s Park and you can find the full details on the Facebook event page.
Getting started can sometimes feel like the hardest part of running, but once you’ve taken that first step you can begin to progress and develop to the point where it becomes enjoyable and can sometimes feel almost effortless. Let me know how you get on applying my top tips and for those more seasoned runners amongst you, if you have any other advice, please share it below.