I’m just going to say it, despite my best efforts I have never been a natural runner.
Every time I saw someone jogging down the street I would get a pang of envy – they were always so relaxed and calm.
Needless to say, I did give this a go every so often and was hit by the harsh reality that running just did not come naturally to me. Whist some could find enjoyment in it – I just found misery! The main problem was breathing, I soon got out of breath and lost all hope of continuing past 10 minutes, though my stride was pathetic and I shouldn’t imagine my posture was great either.
However, last year I decided to change this – I started a programme to build up to 5km and dedicated 3 slots a week (en route to the gym, in fact) to running. I wasn’t all that optimistic about how successful I would be in the beginning but soon I found motivation in the results.
Within 8 weeks I could run 5km without too much problem. I still find running pretty hard but it does slowly get easier and hopefully, one day I will be able to find more enjoyment and relaxation in it.
So there is my running journey, and I thought I would share some of the tips I have picked up and learnt along the way..
- The right footwear is crucial – there is nothing more frustrating than getting sore feet or an injury meaning you have to break in the middle of your programme, believe me – it is hard getting back into it. So finding the correct footwear is essential, a lot of shops offer a fitting service to make sure the trainers you get are a perfect fit.
- It’s all about the breathing – if you can synchronise your breathing to match a certain number of steps, gradually building up capacity you will soon notice a difference.
- Run somewhere – if motivation isn’t your strong point, plan your runs so you are going from A to B, not in a loop, and give yourself no other option. If I plan to run home from work I have to get home and I don’t have another (easy) option to take instead.
- Be organised – don’t give yourself any excuses, pre-plan your route and make sure you have everything you need before setting off.
- Treat yourself to some good running clothes – if you feel good in what you are wearing you are bound to want to keep going, it’s that want that will make the difference when it’s raining or when you can’t be bothered.
- Monitor your progress – there isn’t much better for motivation than seeing yourself improve and get better. I love the ‘Runkeeper’ app to track runs, it lets you know your average speed and distance, especially useful when you’re nearing the end of a run and you find that little bit extra to speed up and beat your previous time.
- Intervals are a great way to build fitness – walking for so many minutes, and running for so many is a great way to improve, and it is less out facing than running constantly.
What are your thoughts on running? Do you have any more tips? I would love to hear them in the comments, as a running novice I still have a lot to learn!