HOW TO BECOME A RUNNER
Have you been toying with the idea of going for a run? Do you see all these people running around parks, along rivers and through the streets and think, “I could never do that”? We’ll let you in on a little secret...you absolutely can! Getting into running doesn’t have to be difficult, once you get going you may find that running is the activity for you and start wondering how you ever get by without it. Follow these simple steps to get yourself started and before you know it, you’ll be hooked!
Get the right gear
Invest in a decent pair of trainers. Not having the right kind of footwear can make your running journey end before it even begins. Make sure you have a comfortable pair that are designed to be highly shock-absorbent. This will help protect your joints and reduce your risk of injury. As well as this, get something you’re comfortable moving in, whether shorts and a vest or leggings and a T-shirt. You could even treat yourself to brand-new activewear as motivation to get going!
It’s best to start with small runs and build up to longer more challenging distances. A great way to get started is to the couch to 5k which gives you daily running goals in manageable chunks. However, that's also fine if you want to do it all yourself. Try starting with half a kilometre and if that’s easy then increase it by half a km at a time gradually. It’s also okay to do a “run-walk”. Run for a little then walk for a little, then run, then walk and so on. This will help build up your stamina and get you used to being on your feet.
Plan a route
It’s good to know where you’re going. Maybe try walking your route first to make sure you’re happy with it and there are no steep hills or bumpy paths that are going to make it too challenging. Going out without a planned route can mean you don’t know how long you’re going to be running, which can be demotivating, so you don’t go as far OR you go too far and exhaust yourself. Find somewhere that’s well-lit and not too busy to ease yourself in and then increase your distance as you become more comfortable.
Get a friend
Make it a joint effort and find a running buddy. Running with another person is a great way to get your pacing right. While running you should be able to hold a conversation comfortably without getting too out of breath, if you can’t then you should slow down. By being with a friend you can chat during your run and keep a steady pace with each other. It’s also helpful for motivation. You can keep each other accountable and even set up a bit of healthy competition. There are also free running groups you can join or attend your local Park Run. It's a great, completely free way to make running friends and track your progress with a weekly 5K run.
Book an event
Having something to work towards can help a lot with motivation. Even if you book months in advance it will help to have an end goal so you can set up a training plan and have a good reason to stick to it. It can be as small as a 5K or as big as a marathon. Race days always come with a great supportive atmosphere and a huge range of running abilities. Plus, the medal you get once you finish is an excellent bonus.
When it comes to running, most of your success will come from your mindset. We often think we can do a lot less than we can, and once you get started you will find the idea of running is harder (and scarier) than actually doing it. It’s as simple as getting outside and putting one foot in front of the other. Your first run will always be the hardest, and getting out the door can be the hardest part of that. But once you get going and you find your rhythm you will find that running can be a great stress reliever and can help you become fitter physically but also has significant benefits for your mental health.
If you’ve been looking for a way to increase your fitness and spend more time outside, running could be just the thing for you. There are no rules when it comes to running, take it at your own pace, on your own schedule and just try and enjoy it. The sun is starting to shine so, lace up those trainers and get outside to enjoy it!