I run a fair bit, not as much as some, but I’m definitely a runner. I talk about it a lot and try and get to others to think about starting to run or actually running.
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.
So if you have had a slight inclination about 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.
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) x 2 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 kind of run how you run. I’m not really sure if you can change it. You just have to see 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 will only make running a habit if you enjoy it. There may be some who run only 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. 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”