This is an updated post I wrote 2 years ago. It’s very relevant right now due to Covid-19 and the current lockdown in the UK and most of the world. Since being locked down 2 weeks ago, my wife and I have been out running together 5 times. I’ve tried to get her running for years, and now she can’t get enough!
It’s clear from the amount of runners on the streets that lots of other people have also started or reignited their running. Getting out and exercising is so important right not. Both for physically health and more importantly your mentally health. If your thinking about it – give it a go. Start slow, take it easy and build slowly. Read the post below –
Over the past week or so a number of people that said directly to me-
“I can’t run 10km”
“I’m too heavy to run”
“I have bad knees. My running days are over”
It surprised me how easily people can justify not doing something that can benefit their long-term health.
If you’ve the slightest inclination to go going running, maybe after spectating at the London Marathon or you’ve just reached a point where you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, see some simple points below –
It does not matter if you wearing an I Ran the World t-shirt and a pair of Green flash you’ve had since school for your first couple of run walks. If you like running and want to continue with it, yes go and buy some kit.
Having the right shoes is very important for running and a major factor in not getting injured. See my guide on buying the right running shoes here.
Have you seen most race finisher t-shirts? They look rubbish, are in terrible colours and have gaudy graphics on them. But plenty of runners wear them (with pride of their achievements). It doesn’t matter what you wear.
I have heard stories of people who started running and would only run in the dark so people would not see them. They later came to realise how stupid this was, and how no one gives a stuff anyway. For every runner I see out pounding the streets, I just think – Fair play.
Pace and Distance
Everyone starts out slow. Slow is also the best way to start. Your body is not going to be attuned to running fast or a long distance. You will get dispirited and/or possibly injured.
Start with whatever you are comfortable with. Maybe, run 1 minute, walk 1 minute x 5, or maybe once around the block (if it’s not too far) a few times a week.
Don’t be bothered about the pace of other runners, they’re just happy to see other runners.
Forget whether you’re a heel striker, a midfoot striker or a forefoot striker (you can become obsessed with this stuff much latter). You just run the way you run. I’m not really sure if you can change it. You just have to watch a race to see the myriad of forms from shufflers to bounders. Everyone’s doing the same thing but in their own unique style. It can be worked on, but at a much later date.
You’ll only make running a habit if you enjoy it. There are some runners who only run to be able to eat more pizza. There’s probably a little bit of this is all runners, but most do it and continue to do it because they enjoy it. Maybe it’s the meditational or social aspect. The being on your own and doing your own thing part or maybe the endorphin rush during or afterwards. Listen to your body. If you’re not feeling it today, make a plan to go out tomorrow. Don’t just go running regardless.
Stop running on a treadmill (unless you have one at home). I know you maybe racing the person next to you, but you are both staring at a wall or looking at each other in a mirror. There are so many places to run; you just have to look a little deeper. The park, river, beach, towpath, disused railway, public footpath, bridle path, Common, playing fields, canal, lake, mountain! Even the road!
Have a plan
Planning in when you are going to go running can help it become a habit. If you regularly go on a Tuesday, Thursday evening and then a Sunday morning it soon becomes part of your routine.
Also, track miles your miles either via pen and paper or Strava. It’s great to look back at where you started and how you have progressed as the miles climb.
Consistency is the key! 3 or 4 times and stopping is not going to get you anywhere. Give it some time and regularity over a few months and progress will come sooner than you think. Don’t give up after one hard run. They happen to everyone. It does hurt a bit from time to time. The chances are the next one is going to be really good and the bad one will be forgotten instantly.
Remember this –
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great”Jimmy Dugan – A League of Their Own
Running is not bad for your knees
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not running that’s bad for knees, its obesity. Many studies including these here and here showed that runners are less likely to develop knee osteoarthritis and even showed improvement in damaged bone. If you have pre-existing knee problems, please be cautious, but the health benefits of running outweigh any risk.