Getting started with running
Running is a great way to keep active; it’s free and you can do it almost anywhere. It can however, be tricky to get started with, or the idea of starting may be a bit daunting to you.
We know regular running has a great range of benefits from boosting your mood and helping to keep your weight under control, to reducing your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Check out below our advice for getting started with running. Remember, there is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way – it is just about finding what works for you!
Before you start
It’s important to make sure you have suitable trainers for your foot type – the right type of support and fit will ensure you are comfortable and protected.
Plan your runs – work out the route you will take and when. Put it in your diary; and if you put it In your phone’s calendar, you can set reminders so you don’t forget.
If you haven’t been active for a while, you may want to try getting into walking for health first. The NHS has some useful tips for this here.
Using a running app is a great way to ease yourself into running such as ‘Couch to 5k’. It’s an easy-to-follow programme perfect for those new to running and need some extra support and motivation along the way. The app features a choice of 5 great trainers, and you can also download the training programmes’ weekly podcasts.
If you are unsure about which routes to run, AllTrails have a helpful website where you can find trails and select filters such as the length, elevation gain and route type.
Staffordshire County Council have also put together a list of routes here – these are also suitable for walking, so this may be a good option if you are not confident with running the whole route.
It’s important to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several outings in order to avoid injury, and of course to help make sure you are enjoying it.
Before each run, start with a gently warm-up for at least 5 minutes. When you first start out with your run, try alternating between running and walking during your session.
Over time, gradually make the running intervals longer until you no longer feel the need to walk. You should also make sure you give yourself a few minutes to cool down each time by doing some stretches and walking.
Play music to motivate you
If you are finding it hard to motivate yourself to get up and out, or you are feeling self-conscious about it, playing upbeat music through headphones is a great way to ‘get in the zone’.
Try making a playlist just for running with songs you love or that make you feel good – you may even want to make a few different playlists to keep it varied!
Explore new places to keep it interesting
As you start getting into running you may find it repetitive as times, especially if you run along the same routes. Mixing up where you run is a simple way to keep it varied and interesting.
There is plenty out there to discover such as nature, animals, local sights or landmarks. Try varying your route by taking a different way around something, or even trying a new route completely.
Be sure to be safe where you are running however, and make sure you know where you are going and that the area or land you are entering is safe.