Run for your life
(or at least a healthier one)!
Recently a friend asked me if I had any tips on how to start running. First up I was flabbergasted to be asked for my advice
on anything as even at 33 I feel like a novice in everything, especially adulthood, but
also, running requires very little in the way of skill - literally all you have to do is move fast using your legs.
I’ve been routinely moving fast on my legs for around ten years now and when I think back to my early days of running, the first thing that came to mind was how I initially hated it. As a child and teenager I was the least sporty person you could imagine. Last in all of the egg and spoon races, overtaken by even the wheeziest of asthmatic children, I’d spend sports days trying to blend into the crowd doing as little in the way of activities as possible whilst eagerly awaiting my half melted choc ice at the end (weren’t they the best?). But as I entered my twenties and met my future husband, who was incredibly sporty, I became resolute in my need to impress and so one day I put on my completely unsuitable fashion trainers and went for a run with him. When I say run, it was more of a walk interspersed with short bursts of jogging, followed by fits of coughing and near vomiting.
The one thing I credit myself with, and can thank my modern day enjoyment of running for, is that even though I hated it at first, I persevered. It hurt, it was slow and it wasn’t pretty, your body will complain and your bowels respond quite violently to the irritation of this new movement. However, that’s a different story for a different column. But if I could give one piece of solid advice to anyone who wanted to get into running as a hobby and in the pursuit of fitness then it would to persevere. As annoying as the saying goes, it’s true that nothing worth doing is easy, yet once you cross the threshold of hatred you emerge triumphantly as one of those infuriating people who love running.
Set aside any time you can spare - 20 minutes, half and hour, an hour, as much as you can manage and commit to getting your trainers on and going for a run. Whatever the weather and whatever your mood, just get on with it and you’ll never regret it. Team up with a friend who is also a beginner and you can be each other’s accountability and security. Choose a circular route which means you’re not coming back on yourself and have to complete the circuit to get home. If you’ve got a baby you can jog with a pram on paved surfaces or get yourself an all-terrain running buggy! I got one that was second-hand online and it saw two kids through many miles. Don’t eat a big meal before setting off, you’ll just get cramps and burp a lot. Don’t spend a fortune on fancy running clothes, just make sure they’re sweat wicking and comfortable, do get trainers made for running because otherwise they won’t last long. Download podcasts or audio books and only allow yourself to listen to them whilst running - the better the story + the more you’ll want to listen = the further you’ll go. Sign up for a big running event (when they’re allowed again) as it’ll give you motivation to train.
"That’s about all the advice I have on how to start running but the benefits speak for themselves and the Covid pandemic proves that overall health and fitness is very important indeed. Running is a great way to get to know your own body as well as the great outdoors and there’s no shower better than the one after a run in the cold rain."
After ten years I get great enjoyment and mental health benefits from my hobby. I’d say my ability to run long distance is one of my biggest life accomplishments -but if you think that’s a bit sad then I challenge you to an egg and spoon race!
"If you have any embarrassing stories you want
to share, I'd be delighted if you'd send them to
me at email@example.com.
After all laughter is the best medicine and I
promise we'll be chuckling with you - not at you!"