Spring is the perfect time to start running. The days are getting longer and warmer, and it is so much easier to want to get out the door when the sun is shining!
It’s daunting to start running though, isn’t it? When you see people pounding the streets of your town, they all look like they know exactly what they’re doing – they seem relaxed and make it look so easy. But we all had to start somewhere, and most people will not have always found running such a breeze.
So how do you become a runner?
Just do it, right? That’s what the saying is. This isn’t the right way to start running, though. If you just run for as far or for as long as you can, you just end up out of breath, injured and disappointed that you’re not nailing this running malarkey straight away.
We’d suggest a programme like ‘Couch to 5K’ or asking Body Happy to write you a plan to get you started. If you’re brand new to running, we’d advise that you build up to an extended period of running slowly. This will benefit you in the long term, as you will gain confidence, strength and feel mentally ready to conquer which ever distances you fancy.
You really, really don’t need much kit to start running. Honestly. The internet will tell you that you need to spend hundreds on fancy leggings, jackets, hats and everything in-between, but you don’t. There are, however, some products that we recommend you do purchase to running comfortably and safely.
- Good trainers. When you’ve decided you really want to get into running, go along to your local running shop and ask them to fit you with the right pair of trainers. Some shops with have a treadmill to analyse your ‘gait’ (running style) but many will be good enough to help you without machines. I still run in the same style of shoe that I was fitted in for my first marathon, 7 years ago.
- A sports bra. One for the women, and incredibly important. Even if you’re small chested, having a good sports bra is vital, as the bounce when you run will damage the delicate tissue and ligaments in your breasts. Wearing a good sports bra will also be so much more comfortable during your run; wearing a normal bra whilst you run will be cause you pain in your back and breasts there and then, and the fabric in a bra isn’t designed to wick the sweat away from your body, so you’ll overheat, sweat loads and end up chaffing.
- A really good investment to your running wardrobe would be a decent pair of running-specific socks. Trust me!
And that’s it! You’ll be good to go in your trust t shirt and shorts when you’re just starting out – although some lovely kit will keep you motivated. It doesn’t have to cost the earth though: check out TK Maxx, Mountain Warehouse and Decathlon for affordable and functional kit.
It takes time to feel like a ‘runner’. It can take years and years before the imposter syndrome goes and you feel like you fit in. There are things you can do to help yourself – joining in with running communities on social media is a great way of chatting to likeminded others about the joys and problems you’re finding as you develop your running; going along to your local parkrun and seeing how much fun running with friends and family can be; monitoring your progress in a diary; signing up to a race; watching running documentaries to inspire you; encouraging a friend to take it up to and being their mentor. Loads of things!
Even those of us who’ve been running for ages and ages struggle with feeling like a true ‘runner’ sometimes, but if you’re wearing trainers and moving more quickly than you would walking, you’re running and a runner!
Many people find that having goals can really help motivate you to keep running. Some people sign up to a marathon – we’re not suggesting that you have to go the whole hog straight away, but what’s stopping you?! It’s possible to train for and finish a marathon within a year: any one can! The more conventional way would be to build yourself up gradually: start with a parkrun, then move on to a small, local, and friendly 10K, then a half… then, if you’re really keen… a marathon.
Having goals can help you focus, help you feel motivated to keep going and tick off those sessions you’ve got planned. It doesn’t work for everyone’s personality, of course, but why not try sticking a goal parkrun in the calendar, and see if it helps?
Good luck with your running: and remember, Body Happy is always here to offer help and advice before you start and throughout your time as a runner. Get in touch whenever you need us!