Training for the London marathon (Sunday 23rd April) is well underway. If you’re feeling inspired to get into running, Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist Emma Bord shares her top 8 tips
There is no doubt that running can have a hugely positive effect on both mental and physical health, increasing fitness levels, reducing stress levels, and improving immune systems to name a few.
Despite these well-known benefits, actually starting up can be hard, full of fear and lack of confidence. However, it does not have to be this way.
running is a simple sport in that no equipment is needed
In reality, running is a simple sport in that no equipment is needed, you are not restricted to a specific time or day as you would be with an exercise class for example, and you are not relying on anyone else to get up and go.
By following a few simple steps and putting an achievable plan in place the running journey can begin and you may well end up falling in love with the sport.
Here are some of my top tips on how to get into running…
Tip #1 Get into the right mindset
First and foremost is getting into the right mindset, stop the self-doubting that may have held you back from running previously and focus on the thought that you are a runner, you can run and you are going to run.
Concentrate on that first action of placing one foot in front of the other, regardless of speed, time, distance, anyone else around you and with that you are on your way.
With this idea of mindset, also think of your why: why have you chosen to go for a run. Keep this in mind as you set off as a way to motivate yourself.
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Tip #2 Find the time that works for you
Work out whether you are a morning, daytime, or evening runner. There is no right or wrong to this answer, but figuring out when may work best for you will help you to plan your runs and in turn get them done at the time that suits you best, making it more achievable in your life.
Setting realistic targets of how long you have and fitting your run into your schedule at a convenient time will make it less of a stress and more part of your routine.
Tip #3 Start with short running intervals
As a new runner it may be overwhelming to consider running a full 20 minutes, or a kilometre, so consider starting up with intervals.
Break up your runs into sections, whereby you run for a specific time and then have a walking recovery time: for example, one minute of running followed by a minute walking, repeated 10 times.
As you become more confident and fitter you will be able to increase the running periods to the point where you will be able to run a full stretch without a walking break.
The Couch to 5km app is an amazing way to gradually build up with this kind of interval structure and has been a proven success with so many new runners – who knows it could be the key to you being able to run the London Marathon one day.
Tip #4 Get yourself a good pair of running shoes
As mentioned, one of the best things about running is that you don’t need much equipment to get started, however a good pair of running shoes is a smart choice to help make runs comfortable, avoid the risk of injury, and make the most of your running performance in order to achieve your goals.
Investing in a pair that are suited to your feet will also help you maintain a good posture whilst running, taking the stress off various joints of the body, and sustaining good form and alignment.
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Tip #5 Make a plan
To stay consistent, improve and avoid injury that may come with pushing too hard, too fast, a plan is a great idea to keep you on track.
Whether this be a certain number of runs a week, a specific length of time or distance to cover each run, or a speed to work towards, having an intention will help you stay motivated with your running, especially when you see yourself improving.
This plan may also involve picking a race as a more solid target, anything from a 5km race to a marathon. This may seem daunting initially, but it is a great way to stay focused and fixed on your running schedule whilst also giving your running a greater sense of purpose.
Tip #6 Consider using an app or join a running community
This is a great way to access support, motivation and find others who may be at the same point in their journey as you are. Connecting with other runners can help you build confidence, gain advice, and feel part of a community to bounce off and share both the challenges and the excitement of your running journey with.
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Tip #7 Be disciplined with your stretching, recovery, and self-care
In order not to burn out or get injured it is important to stretch, recover and most certainly not to overdo it. So, ensure you are making time for post run stretches, for active recovery such as walking or swimming and also incorporating rest days.
By taking care of your body you are more likely to be able to sustain a long term running plan, free from setbacks, which will motivate you to continue.
On the subject of taking care of yourself it is also important to ensure you are fueling and hydrating correctly both before, during and after runs in order for the body to be able to respond well to the needs of the physical activity.
Tip #8 Make it fun and enjoyable
This may be through planning nice routes to run along or saving specific podcasts to listen to during your runs, so they are enjoyable and you look forward to spending the time on your feet, taking in the world around you and listening to something that is of interest to you.
Of course, running can feel hard and challenging especially when you start up, but distract yourself with the things that may bring you joy and excitement whilst on your journey.
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