If your motivated to run but not sure where to start, here are 10 tips that will make your run much more enjoyable.
1. Invest in good quality running shoes.
Good shoes will make a big difference, especially as you start increasing the distance or time that you are running for. Having the right shoes also helps prevent pain or injuries. If you head to a reputable sports store they will often have people trained in fitting running shoes, I definitely recommend spending the time to get a professional fit.
2. Avoid eating or drinking large amounts for two hours prior to a run
Eating or drinking before a run can lead to stitches or abdominal discomfort. Making sure that you are well fed and well hydrated is very important, but avoid large meals or large drinks in the two hours directly prior to your run.
3. Ease In
Don't overdo it to begin with, you will lose motivation or injure yourself. If you are a beginner or are very unfit, start by walking and simply increase your pace to a jog whenever you can. Alternate jogging and walking until you find you can jog the whole way.
4. Decide whether you are running for distance or time.
When starting out, aiming to run for a set amount of time might be beneficial. You can gradually increase the time that you run for. As you find that you can run for longer periods of time you might start running for distance instead. For example, once you can run at a steady pace for 15 minutes, measure the distance that you are covering in that 15 minutes, then you can gradually increase your distance.
5. Use a running app.
Running apps these days are fantastic. I personally use the Nike App. I love that a voice speaks to me every kilometer telling me my distance, time and pace.
6. Learn to breathe
It is important to breathe correctly. Breathing deeply and avoiding shallow breaths will allow you to take in more oxygen. If your not sure how to breathe deeply, think about the way you would breathe in a yoga class. Your abdomen should be moving as you breathe, not just your chest. Breathing rhythmically can also help - the best way to do this is to coordinate your breathing with your steps. It can take a little bit of practice at first, but it will soon become second nature.
7. Find your pace
Running is always most enjoyable when you find your comfortable pace. Running at a steady pace will allow you to breathe correctly and run for longer. If you're having trouble running at a comfortable steady pace, try singing a song in your head and running along to the beat. Try different songs until you find one that has a beat that you are comfortable with.
8. Choose your timing
Experiment with different times of day. Some people feel more comfortable running in the early morning, others like the evening.
9. Experiment with conditions
As with times of days, everyone has a preference regarding conditions. The conditions you prefer can ultimately affect the time of day you run. My body doesn't handle the heat well, I always run and perform a lot better in cold temperatures. Because of this I have to make sure that I run in the early morning during the summer months.
10. Set yourself some realistic goals
Consider your reasons for running and set yourself some goals to coincide with your reasons (for some advice on setting goals click here). Are you running for fitness? Weight loss? Knowing your reasons will help you stay motivated. Entering a race can also be fantastic motivation - and don't worry, races aren't just for great runners, they are for people of every age and ability to enjoy the atmosphere and keep fit together.
Hopefully now you're motivated and equipped with some fantastic tips for getting started! No more excuses - head out for that very first run, then come back and visit for the next post in the series: So you're a runner, now what?