How To Get Into Running - Why It’s Never Too Late To Start
The experience of going on a run and the sense of calm and joy that you feel when out running in nature has to be experienced to be realized. But for some of us, getting out the door to run for the first time, or lacing up our shoes on a cold and misty morning to go out into the elements again, can be the last thing we feel like doing. Anyone that has faced these struggles knows that if you just jump in and get it done, you will be amazed at the results. We’ve put together this post on how to get into running for those who are completely new to running, or those who just want to get back into it. Read on for our guide to running for beginners.
Step by Step Guide
I was never good at physical education at school. I was always the slowest at sprinting and long-distance, and one of the last to be picked in team games, so consequently I hated it. Fast forward to when I started college and friends around me would go out running for fun? This was a whole new concept for me. I had thought about running before but dismissed it as I had never been good at sports or fitness in general, and would get out of breath going up the stairs. I was unfit. Then one morning a good friend asked me to go out for a run with her, and I thought why not? So I laced up my old beat-up training shoes and went out on that cold November morning. It sounds like a cliché but I’ve never looked back. It was hard at first like I couldn’t catch my breath, and I had a stitch, and I wanted to give up, hard. But my friend was there beside me breathing normally and just seeing her jogging calmly, setting the slow but steady pace, that encouraged me to carry on. I knew that with a bit of practice, I could get to that. I realized that the pace that I thought was a good pace to run at, that I thought all runners kept to, was actually the speed that someone (fitter than me) might run a 100m sprint race.
That day we ran for 20 or 25 minutes, and it made me realize just how unfit I was. But after that first run, we started to go out regularly, and I was able to build up my speed and stamina in a way that I never thought possible. I had finally found something physical that I was good at, and that was a triumph for me!
2. Find a buddy
Following on from No. 1, finding a buddy to go running with can be extremely helpful, especially at the start. They can help you set a pace if you are a newbie so that you don’t start off too fast, think you need to sprint around, nearly pass out, and then never go running again. For me, it helped me set a pace for my runs and we could have a little chat as we started our jog. They do say that if you can manage to hold a conversation, then you are going at the right pace. Although let’s be honest, most of the time in the beginning I was too tired to do anything, but hang on for dear life, and try to make it to the end. As I started running more and more, I would run alone and with other people, but I think that if you can find someone to go with you at the start, making a date with them, can and will, motivate you to get out the door on those early mornings when you’d really rather be in bed.
3. Get the right shoes (and socks)
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good pair of running shoes, and a good pair of running socks to go with them. They will be the tools of your trade. You will suffer no end of injuries if you try to hobble on with those old beat-up training shoes that you’ve had for years, that really weren’t made for running anywhere in. This happened to me, and I truly could not believe the difference when I tried on my first pair of quality running shoes and socks, to do that little test jog in the shop! My favorite brand is Asics because they offer high quality at a reasonable price point.
4. Grab some new workout clothes
Sure, the importance of getting new running clothes is not as pertinent to the physical aspect of running, as is the importance of getting good running shoes, but it can definitely contribute to your overall running experience. It is more to do with your comfort level, and if you are anything like me, having a nice new running top or shorts to try out on your next run, can increase your excitement about getting out there. Everyone has their own preferences as to brand, you can go for Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, or H&M, whatever works for you.
5. Get a great playlist
Some people like to run to the sound of the birds (or the traffic) depending on whether you are lucky enough to be able to run in nature, whilst others can’t bear to run without their music on. I am a member of the latter club and find that when my favorite track comes through my earphones, I subconsciously start to run with a little more spring in my step. This step completely depends on personal preference, and to each their own, but if you do like to run with music then I recommend mixing up your playlist in time for your next long (or short) run.
6. Keep calm and carry on
The penultimate step invites you to keep going, especially when it’s hard, because the next time you go out, and the time after that, it will get easier and easier. The first run will be the hardest, and after that, it will gradually become easier to do what you couldn’t even dream of in the beginning. You may start by running as much as you walk, or walking with spurts of running in between, but you will find that you can somehow start to run more and walk less. You will be able to run up that hill that has always challenged you, without stopping, and all it takes is practice and time.
Tip: When you are nearing the end of a run, if you find you have anything at all left in the tank, aim for a sprint finish. It will be tough at the time but you will find that it can improve your speed and stamina, whilst also ending your run on a high. I’ve been doing this more or less since I started, and this, combined with hill training, has helped me improve my stamina and I now have a few half marathons under my belt.
7. Enjoy it!
Running is, most of all, great fun. It really is an adult’s lost link to playing outside, so just have fun with it. Some people will go on to run races and competitions, whilst others will just keep it as a hobby. Maybe you think that running races might bring out your competitive side, or maybe that might take the fun out of it for you. Whichever way you go with it, there is something wonderful about the time you take for yourself, to just go out and run free. So whatever you do, breathe in each and every moment, and make it awesome!
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