Do you want to start running but don’t know how to start? Or do you want to get back into running? This post is for you. All the tips and motivation you need plus a little challenge for you to join!
One of my goals for 2018 is to run a half marathon. I have run two halfs before – one in November 2015 and one a year later. However, during the last year I did not run a lot. I lived in a place which had very little green and was always windy which really put me off going outside for prolonged periods of time. I joined a gym but I discovered that I find nothing quite as boring as running on a treadmill.
Long story short – my stamina is not where it used to be and I am desperate to get back on track (excuse the pun) with running. Edd and I moved at the end of last year and I am now surrounded by lots of possible running routes and I am excited to explore them.
BUT. It is is so hard to get back out after having had such a long break. This is why I am writing this post. A little ode to running to remind myself of all the reasons why running is great and to motivate myself and you guys along with me.
Benefits of running
1) Running is good for your body
This is a pretty obvious one but just to flesh this out a little: studies show that running prevents heart disease, cancer, diabetes type II and obesity. Running also helps to strengthen your knees and joints and prevents back pain.
2) Running promotes mental health
Whether you find that sweet spot in your run that lets you tap into runner’s high or not – studies show that running for 30 minutes lifts your mood and regular running helps diminish depression and anxiety.
3) Running is great for getting in shape
Depending on your weight and how fast you run, during a 30 minute run you burn between 300 and 450 calories. Also, running can help you build your abs, shape that booty and get lean legs.
Okay, now we have clarified that running is awesome. Next let’s have a look on how to get started! If you are new to running you might be a bit intimidated by stories about injuries or just feel a bit unconfident. Here are my top tips if you are just getting started:
Act confident and no one will question you.
I am not a very athletic person at all, so I get the anxiety that you might experience when thinking about exercising out in public. I used to be super self conscious when I first started to go for runs and always worried I would bump into someone I knew, being all out of breath and sweaty. However, the best thing to do is literally to “fake it until you make it”. What I mean by that is this: Tell yourself you look great. You have reason to be proud of yourself – whilst some people are still in bed or sitting on their couch you got up and went for a run! You rock, girl! Just put on some rap music (or whatever makes you feel super badass) and show the haters what you’re made of! (And in reality there are probably no haters – most people will see you run past and really will not care about how fast you are or whether neon colours make you look pale).
Depending on what exercise you do you might be able to run for a long time or not. But no matter where you’re at with your fitness I would most definitely recommend to start slow. For your first run alternate a minute of running with a minute of walking. Next time you might be able to run 2 minutes and walk a minute. Listen to your body. See how you feel the next day and adjust. You don’t want to overdue it and injure yourself or be so sore that you don’t want to move for a week.
Get some good running shoes.
This is a bit of an initial investment but it is so worth it. There are lots of specialist shops which will be able to advise you what type of shoe is best for your height, the way you run and the shape of your foot. I used to get really bad pain in my feet until I got some better quality shoes with a bit more support. Having good shoes makes all the difference.
Your body will thank you if you take five minutes before and after running to stretch! This prevents injuries and will help you to recover faster. I always do some dynamic stretches before a run – leg swings, circling feet, knees and hips and loosen up my shoulders. After a run I do static stretches and focus mostly on my hamstrings, quads and hips. I also love these videos below by “Yoga with Adriene”. They are some yoga poses that help you stretch out before and after a run.
Warm up sequence:
Cool down sequence:
I used to do this thing where I felt super motivated to go for a run and then sprint out the house at high speed. This is not a great idea as I’d be aching and out of breath after the first mile. Take it easy, sister. For your first mile or so, go at a slow pace – almost painfully slow. This helps your muscles to warm up and you can find your breath and rhythm. It’s better to have a sprint toward the end then in the beginning.
Get a running buddy.
Going running with a friend is great for accountability and also to be challenged a little. I love going for runs with my dad as he runs a bit faster than I and it helps me to push myself to go harder and further than I would by myself. When I was training for my half marathon, I did all my long runs with him – running for nearly two hours by yourself can get pretty boring but if your with someone else time goes by so much quicker.
Mix it up.
Don’t always take the same route. Try out new paths, maybe drive somewhere nice and pound out some miles. I really want to start working on my speed over the next few weeks. To increase your pace, hill runs are a great option. Another strategies is to vary up how fast you go during your run. There are different methods, for example alternating between sprints and moderate pace or to continuously increase speed every two minutes and then continuously decrease at the end.
Track your progress.
Document your journey. Whether you write out in your diary how far and fast you’ve run or whether you are using an app – tracking your progress is so motivating. I have tried a variety of different apps and the nike running club is my absolute favourite. It tracks your speed and miles and you can set it to give you updates throughout your run as well. And since a few months the app has a great new feature: guided runs. All you have to do is plop in your earphones and a trainer will talk you through your workout. This is great for speed runs (mentioned above) and also if you are a newbie or just like to get some encouragement along the way.
Set yourself an achievable goal.
As I mentioned previously – my goal is to run another half marathon this November. However, this is pretty far away and kind of big and daunting at this stage.
To make it more attainable I am breaking this big goal down – and the first phase is to to just get back into a consistent running schedule. So, I am hereby publicly declaring that, for the next 8 weeks I want to run three times a week.
And I would love it if you joined me in this “Bright and Bold Running Challenge”. The objective is to get out (or onto the treadmill if that is your thing) three times a week. It does not matter if you are walking, jogging or sprinting, how far or long you go. Just get started. When you went for a run tell us about it in your instagram stories or on an insta post, tag me and use the hashtag #brightandboldrunningchallenge18. I can’t wait to cheer you on!