The Beginners Guide to Running.

It was hard for me to put this blog post together. I feel like I need to explain my current fitness situation before offering any advice. When lock-down first began and we had the prospect of a few weeks off work, Tony and I really got into our stride and became quite into running. Couch To 5K was the inspiration behind it all.

Sometimes I dreaded the run more than others, but after a few sessions we were flying. Then we were called back to work and now we haven't been for a few weeks. 

I always have some excuse. It's that time of the month, it's too hot, it's too wet, I didn't sleep very well last night and I'm so tired, I have nothing to wear, I'm waiting for my new trainers to arrive. 

You get the drift.  

Anyway we've pledged to start again tomorrow, Monday 29th June after work, come what may. I felt compiling my top tips may help any budding runners and inspire myself to get started again. 

So what are you waiting for? Read my post and then hit your local sports field, circular track or town route. 

Let me know how you get on in the comments below, I would love to hear any stories you may have or any tips you can share.

Now let's go back to the very beginning.

01. Get Your Head In The Groove
I have to have my head in the right space for anything fitness related, whether it's eating sensibly, cutting out junk food or exercising. I have to be in the right mood. Sometimes I have to convince myself that I am motivated and feeling much more positive than I actually am just to get started. 

Once I start I'm ok, although sometimes I need a push. Either talking to myself and pushing myself to do it or a gentle, kind nudge from Tony. Once I start I'm fairly determined, however I have to start and then keep on going. 

02. You Don't Need Fancy Clothes To Start Off With
Any old leggings, tracksuit bottoms and baggy T will be adequate to get you started. Just make sure you have a supportive pair of running trainers. I have wide feet and highly recommend Skechers Wide Fit Range (Skech Air Element 2.0). The trainers are comfortable, support your ankles and the soles cushioned. It literally feels like you are running on fluffy clouds. 

The Beginners Guide to Running

03. Download Couch To 5K
Until recently (other than sudden bursts of energy) I hadn't run properly since I ran around our local town as part of the Downham Dollies and needed a mentor to start. Mum suggested downloading Couch to 5K and it's really quite brilliant. 

You can choose your commentator from the start, our favourite is Jo Whiley. She guides and instructs you as you run providing support and motivation. Sometimes I gotta say I wish she'd shut up, however she tells you when to run and when to walk, much like a Personal Trainer all at no cost.

After the weeks go on the end goal is to run 5K. Tony and I have repeated week 1 a number of times. I attach a screen grab of week 1 below for your information. 

The last time we actually ran I managed to run all 7 times. I kept telling myself I could do it. A little self-belief really does go a long way. It really doesn't matter if it takes you longer than the 9 weeks to run the full 5K, take your time. I find that works best for me. Not to put too much pressure on myself and to enjoy it. So I don't dread each run that comes up.

Couch to 5K
04. Have A Routine
The app suggests having a days rest between runs, which if you're like me and are really needing to get a little fitter, I highly recommend. Taking a days break does make me feel refreshed and ready to run again, instead of feeling utter dread the next time I tie up the laces of my Skechers. 

05. Find Your Spot
Our first few times we ran around the block in our village which suited us really well. However, the majority of the running consisted of road running. We have since found exercising around our local playing field much easier on the knees and softer on the joints. It's 2 miles away and we also get to whack up the air con on the way home to cool down!

06. Get The Kit
After you have have been a few times and running has become part of your routine invest in a couple of new pieces for your gym wardrobe. Tony and I had been running for up to 3 times a week for 5 weeks so I treated myself to a couple of new items. 

Once I had a fancy new slogan T-Shirt and some breathable lightweight bottoms, I felt much more confident knowing I was sporting the right attire. I'm not Sweaty Betty level yet, more M and S, who sell some great pieces which are very affordable.

A Beginners Guide to Running

07. Don't Compare Yourself To Others
It's very easy to compare yourself to the size 8 beauty storming around the local field or the buff gym bod who struts his stuff. Stay in your zone, think of your goals and objectives and picture how you want to be. The VERY best version of YOU. 

Don't worry about size 8 or the ripped guy, focus on you and how you're doing. We all have to start somewhere. 

Tell yourself you have started and that's all that matters, you've done more than you did last week (sitting on the sofa hugging a tube of Pringles).

08. Learn How To Warm Up & Cool Down Properly
When I first started my leg muscles became really weary quite quickly, however learning stretches before and after running really helps. 

I highly recommend finding a bench (if possible) and stretching your leg muscles at the start and end of your run. There are also thousands of You Tube tutorials teaching how to stretch properly.

After all of the rain we have had the last few days, the sun is now back and the air much cooler, so 29th June, I see you and I'm coming for you!  Keep an eye out on my IG stories where I plan to update on my progress/sticky hair situations/good runs and bad.

Have you tried Couch To 5K?  Do you find it hard to get motivated or do you relish the challenge (and no that's not burger relish)?!

Photos: Courtesy of Unsplash & Pexels

(Sorry I really wanted to publish and had not managed to take pics in time. 
It's all that running or Pringle hugging I have been doing).