A beginner’s guide to running

Ready to run

When I say beginner, I mean a beginner. As in, you’ve managed getting one foot in front of the other for a little while now and you’d like to do that some more, just faster.

I have always been jealous of people who run. Those people who wake up at 6am and know that pulling on their trainers and running 5k is going to make their day just that little bit better. The thought of going out and running is one that fills me with dread. But the sense of achievement (read: relief) after I’ve done it always puts a smile on my face. Plus, burning calories and a good night sleep are pretty much guaranteed.

These are just some of the, extremely basic, things I’ve learnt since I started walking slightly faster.

 

Don’t run on an empty stomach

I learnt this the hard way. I went for a run first thing in the morning on a hangover and I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse – even my ears were hurting. I felt sick for hours afterwards, even after I’d eaten. I was running on empty and my body was just like “babes, what’s the deal?” I spent the rest of the day lying horizontal and whinging.

Some people are all about the fasted exercise (exercise without eating) but for me it was HELL. Do yourself a favour and at least grab a banana or summin’.

 

Don’t run on a full stomach

Running on a full stomach was hell part 2. I’d eaten a massive bowl of bircher (oats soaked in apple juice, with sultanas, apple and greek yoghurt) and thought I was totally killing this healthy thing, just totes virtuous. I could feel my six-pack emerging. I was like one of the yoga girls on Instagram.

I then ran 4k feeling like I was going to cover my Nikes in bircher every second of the way. Plus, I ran slower than I’ve ever ran and felt like shit the whole time. My friend did the same thing last week and actually had to go and do a little sick by a tree before she carried on. So sexy.

 

Run somewhere that inspires you

Girl running through a wood

Who are those mentalists than run on busy roads through central London? My idea of a peaceful run is not avoiding selfie stick wielding tourists and rickshaws whilst the smell of McDonalds clings to your lycra.

I’m lucky enough to live next to wood and pretty much only run here. I know one lap is 2k so I know exactly how far I’m running, how far I’ve still got to go and the views are really motivating.

I put on some good music, ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over every small dog I pass and the whole thing is ALMOST enjoyable.

 

Wear workout clothes that you love

Workout clothes, Nike

I hate to be a total lame arse but wearing I something I quite like will make me more motivated to put it on, which in turn makes me more likely to get my arse out the door. Mostly brightly coloured sports bras and trainers.

 

Run with a buddy…

Girls jumping on a race track

A lot of the time I run with my boyfriend. He is A LOT fitter than I am so I always find I push myself harder to keep up with him. I know he’d be disappointed to see how much walk-running I do instead when he’s not around.

So grab your best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/mum and see if you can’t motivate each other. Plus, if they’re worse than you you’ll feel a slight guilty twinge of pride. I imagine Matt feels AMAZING after running with me.

 

Or don’t!

As much as running with my boyfriend motivates me it also pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Which can be great, but it can also make running feel super hard and  like something I never want to attempt again.

Running on your own means you can set the pace and stick to it, meaning you’ll probably end up running a further distance because you don’t feel like your legs are about to give way and worrying you’ll have to ask a passer by to carry you home.

 

Set goals

do1

If you hadn’t already worked it out, I seriously lack motivation, which is why I love running apps. I can track how far I’ve run, how quickly, how many calories I’ve burned and if I beat my personal best. I am embarrassingly competitive, even more so with myself.

I love mapmyrun because it tracks all your info and you can see how you compare against other runners doing the same route and if you’re improving.

Once you’ve got a benchmark you can start setting goals. Want to get harder, better, faster, stronger? ‘Course you do! Set those goals!

 

Make it a habit

It can be hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle, especially when the days are getting shorter and you’d rather be on the sofa with Netflix and a glass of wine than hauling your sorry arse around in the rain.

It’s important to make it habit if you have any chance of keeping it up. One way is to set certain days of the week as running days. So, for instance, every Tuesday evening and Sunday morning you know that you’re going to run and you can work the rest of your schedule (all of the wine and Netflix) around it.

Once you’ve managed to stick to a routine you’ll feel even better when you sneak those little ‘extra’ runs in during the week.

Get sweaty, feel like dying, start feeling great, repeat until you look like Jessica Ennis.

All images: WeHeartIt