Tim Fry, UK Athletics qualified Athletics Coach and We Run Coach for Cardiff, gives us his advice for beginners.
You’ve chosen to take up the world’s greatest sport? Congratulations! Here’s how to get started with our beginner’s guide to running written by We-Run!
So you’ve watched the Olympics and you’re interested in taking up running? Sorry to dampen your spirits but you’ll probably never run as fast as Mo Farah; the chance of you winning any major medals or BBC Sports Personality of the Year is quite low and Quorn won’t be ringing your agent to ask you to play tennis in an advert.
However, by running you’ll lose weight, gain muscle tone, drastically reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your mental health, sleep better, have more energy in everyday life, get to experience the great outdoors, make new friends and impress your old friends with what you’ll achieve. Grab your trainers! But…
Choose the correct footwear
You may not have run for a long time but you’ve probably got an old pair of trainers you intend to start running in. They’ll be fine. Perhaps you don’t have trainers but you’ve got some old plimsolls. They’ll do. No they won’t! You’ll be starting off on the wrong foot, if you’ll pardon the pun. Even if you only plan to run a few hundred metres it’s really important that you wear properly supportive and well-fitting footwear, which is designed for running. Get yourself down to a specialist running shop and buy some decent shoes. You’ll feel much more bouncy, you’ll look the part and you’ll drastically reduce your chance of picking up injuries when you’ve barely even started. Plus, the fact that you’ve invested your hard earned cash in your new hobby will encourage you to keep it going.
Set a goal
The fantastic thing about running is that you compete with yourself (or your old self,) and you don’t need to rely on anyone but you to hit the goals you want to achieve. What is your goal? It’s important to set at least one to start with. Maybe you want to run a mile non-stop, perhaps it’s to run 5k in under 30 minutes. Working towards a goal makes you far more likely to keep going until you’ve hit it. When you’ve hit your goal you can give yourself a well-earned reward – and that’s where chocolate puddings come into it.
Couch to 5k apps are changing the world. They get you from sitting on the couch to running 5k. They’re really well named! Download a couch to 5k app for your phone, plug your headphones in and do what the man (or lady) says. They’ll start with you mainly walking and they’ll instruct you when to start and finish your tiny bits of running. When you feel ready to, you can progress to slightly bigger bits of running. Within a couple of months you’ll either be running 5k or you’ll have made significant progress towards it, and Mo will be enviously looking over at you tucking into a gateaux as he helps himself to another portion of meat-free casserole.
www.we-run.co.uk a nationwide run coaching network, offering 1-2-1 run coaching services and group sessions, as well as affiliations with a host of corporate running clubs and charities.