Running can be a great way to improve your mental health and fitness, but getting started can be daunting. Here's 5 tips from us on how to get motivated and make the best of a really great exercise.
1. GET YOURSELF A GOOD PAIR OF RUNNING TRAINERS
Our first tip seems obvious, but you'll want to get yourself a good pair of running trainers. This doesn’t mean an expensive pair necessarily, but a pair that are light, well cushioned and fit comfortably. If you get out there in a pair of plimsolls, you’ll end up bruising your heels, and that’ll be that for weeks until you’re properly healed. Reduce that opportunity for injury!
2. USE A RUNNING WATCH
Admittedly this is a bit of a luxury and probably something you might want to wait until you’ve locked down a regular pattern, but if you can get your hands on one, a running watch is a great way to monitor your pace, distance and heart rate easily whilst out on the beat without running into a tree or traffic. I use a Garmin forerunner 45 for checking my distance and monitoring my average kilometre pace, so I don’t find myself running too fast or too slow for the targets I’ve set myself.
3. DOWNLOAD STRAVA
Track your runs, and download the Strava app. It’s great for recording your runs on your phone, as it measures your average pace, distance and all that other good stuff. Its also a great community space for sharing your progress with friends, and is ideal for motivating yourself and buddies to get out there and keep going! It also pairs up nicely with the watch if you go that way.
4. RUN FLAT ROUTES
Be kind to yourself! Getting into a regular running routine can be a challenge, so you want to make the transition as easy as possible. Hills can be a real struggle, so make sure you find a route or two which is flat and manageable. Reduce the number of excuses for not getting out there! I’d be happy to never run a hill again tbh, but if you’re looking to really push yourself, then running hills is an effective way to burn calories fast an improve your overall fitness.
5. SET REALISTIC TARGETS
This is a super important point. With any new challenge, whether it be beginning your new healthy lifestyle, or learning an instrument, if you don’t set your targets right, you’ll set yourself up for failure and most likely give up before you get going. Set your targets high by all means, but make sure you have a realistic and measured training plan to get there. Running can be rewarding if you find the right balance, and you can appreciate success within the first week of running as much as you might enjoy successfully completing your first 10k. Set yourself a manageable short distance to run, and spend a good 2 or 3 weeks running this distance, going out 3 or so times a week. Consistency is key with running, if you can find a regular time in your schedule which you can lend to running, you’ll find very quickly you will get comfortable running that initial distance, and can increase it in manageable increments. Learn to enjoy the process of improvement and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals!