Seeing lots of people out and about running might either inspire you to have a go or be quite daunting. I’ve been running for the past six years and sometimes I love it and other times, it’s hard work. The act of running for me is to help not only physically but with my mental health as well. Getting out into the fresh air can really help to de-stress and clear the mind too. With so many people now working from home and unable to workout as they usually would, more people are lacing up their trainers and taking to the streets for a run.
For those who are really keen to start running, here are just a few top tips to help you put your best foot forward.
1. Get yourself started
The hardest part is getting out the door. When you start something new, you spend a lot of time thinking about it and researching. When you feel the motivation, get your gear on and lace up those trainers. Don’t be afraid, as Nike says, ‘Just do it!’
2. Download a Couch to 5k app
To make sure you’re not rushing into things, download a couch to 5k app which will give you weekly run/walk workouts. It helps you build up your distance and time gradually. It also helps to limit injury if you’re doing things a bit at a time. The app should be available from Apple, Google etc stores.
3. Invest in a decent pair of trainers
With shops being closed at the moment, going shopping for trainers is more difficult. If you know your shoe size, look at retailers such as Run and Become and MOTI. They may be able to advise you online about which trainers are best for you.
4. Warm up properly and cool down
Warming your muscles up properly before you run is so important. If you don’t warm up, you are at a higher risk of injury which is something you don’t want. Five minutes of dynamic exercises should help kick start your muscles. There’s a great routine here on Runners’ World to get you started. When you’re finished with your run, make sure you stretch out properly. Visit the NHS website here for some great post-run stretches.
5. Create a running timetable
Like everything else in our lives at the moment, it’s important to have structure. By nominating your running days and writing them in your diary, you’re making that commitment. It will also become something you look forward to which is nice in current times.
6. Log your progress
Using apps like Map My Run or Strava help with documenting your progress. Like anything, seeing how far you’ve come can be really motivating and make you feel really proud. When you get to that first milestone, whether it’s running a mile non-stop or run/walking 5k, you can see how well you’re doing.
7. Get your playlist at the ready
Some runners like to exercise without music as they find the sounds of nature really relaxing and can tune into them. Others, like me, enjoy a good music playlist to get themselves round those miles. Apps like Spotify or Apple Music are great for this and even make suggestions based on what you like. Spotify even has playlists dedicated to running and BPM (heart beats per minute) which are brilliant and I even end up finding songs I’d forgotten all about to add to the mix!
8. Rest days are important
So, you’ve been out for your first run and you’re pumped. You want to go out and do it all over again the day after. Although no one can fault your enthusiasm, make sure to give yourself rest between your runs. You want to make sure your muscles are fully rested before embarking on your next run. Investing in Epsom Salts for the bath and muscle soak bath bubbles can help you along to get the best rest you can.
9. Explore new places but be safe
The great thing about running is that you can do it anywhere. In the current climate, it’s advised that you should exercise near home to avoid unnecessary travel but that’s OK! You’ll be surprised at what’s on your doorstep and how much you can mix your routes up. Make sure to take care on any secluded paths or lanes and remember to stay safe.
10. Enjoy it!
It sounds obvious but enjoy the journey that you’re on. Running is a time for you to get out and have time to yourself. It’s a time to breathe deeply, take in the scenery and clear the mind. Don’t pressure yourself to run for longer or run faster and don’t compare your journey with someone else’s. This is your experience and you will be awesome at it. Now get out there and get those best feet forward!