How to Run (or walk…or crawl…) for Beginners

As many of you know I’m a runner, a slow runner, but I run none the less. When I first started “running” a year ago I could not physically run for more than 30 seconds. Last night I ran (jogged) for 15 minutes! I know for a lot of you serious runners that may not seem much, but to me it’s a massive achievement! I think a lot of people, especially women, don’t think that they can run. And I understand, I thought the same thing, and I was so self conscious about running too and I know that’s a major problem for a lot of people. So here’s a few tips and pieces of advice on how to get started…

  1. You may not be able to run more than 10 seconds. And that’s okay. What’s important is that you go out, and you run those 10 seconds. Just don’t stop moving. When I started I ran for 30 seconds then walked for 5 minutes, and if that’s all you can do then that’s absolutely fine, just don’t stop moving!
  2. Dress the part. I used to run in really baggy tracksuit bottoms and t-shirts, but as I started to lose weight I brought myself some proper running clothes and it just makes you feel so much more confident! Also, don’t buy really cheap crappy shoes like I did… They will hurt! Give running a go first, but if you’re planning on doing this for the long haul invest in some halfway decent shoes!
  3. Don’t run everyday. I made this mistake! I ran every single morning, until my body was hurting so much and I pulled a muscle in my leg and couldn’t run for the next two weeks. So, pace yourself! If you can, try giving yourself a day’s rest in-between each run. And if you’re a beginner, maybe run 2-3 times a week, that’s probably a good starting point.
  4. Stretch. For the love of all that is holy, please stretch before and after running! There are thousands of YouTube videos and websites showing you a few stretches you can do, and just take 5 minutes before and after running to do them to help prevent injuries.
  5. You don’t have to run in the mornings. Some people are naturally morning people, so if you are then do your running in the morning. But if you’re like me, I much prefer to run in the evening. Find out when you’re at your most energetic and run then.
  6. Please don’t be self-conscious. This was a huge problem for me. I used to wake up at 6am, in winter, and go for a run then because I was terrified of people looking at me. Now I just don’t care. My body has carried me thousands of miles, it has been through hell and yet here it is, looking fabulous! If this really is holding you back though, maybe start off running in the early mornings or later at night. But as you get better and faster and stronger, you’ll start to realise how amazing your body is!
  7. Eat and drink well. How can you expect your body to work hard if you feed it crap? Food is still a big problem for me because I have a habit of snacking. But try to just be more aware of the food you eat, and a lot of people find it really useful to write down what they eat each day. I personally really struggled to cut back on food, especially because my family is really unhealthy. In the end I bought myself healthy snacks, like dried fruit and cereal bars. Anything to stop me eating 5 packets of crisps a day! Also, cut out fizzy drinks. Trust me, they taste absolutely amazing when you haven’t has them in ages! If you drink fizzy drinks everyday, maybe try just having one a week? And try to drink more water!
  8. Treat yourself. Don’t cut out every food you love though! Because this will most likely lead you to quitting and binge-eating. Just eat everything in moderation and you’ll be fine! I know this is easier said than done, but just use your common sense 🙂
  9. Don’t focus on losing weight. Instead, focus on “non-weight related goals”. I made a list of mine, because as you all know, I love lists 🙂 So these may include things like: being able to run from one place to another without stopping, being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath, or maybe you just want to feel good. The weight will drop off if you stick with running and eating better, but I just don’t want anyone to get discouraged because weight loss takes a very long time. This sounds silly, but my main goal was to be able to feel my collarbones. Two years ago I had never felt my collarbones, I wasn’t entirely convinced I even had them! But here they are, and I love them! And if you’re really focused on losing weight, don’t focus on how much you weigh, focus on how many inches you’ve lost around your waist and hips etc. Because as you run you’ll gain muscle, and of course, muscle weighs more than fat so your weight might not drop but seeing those inches go down can be a real motivator.
  10. Running is not for everyone. Despite how much I encourage people to run, it isn’t for everyone. Give it a go, but if you really hate it then don’t do it. Instead, try other forms of exercise. Join a club, try swimming or cycling, or even home workout videos. My favourite is Blogilates, if you don’t want to go outside to get fit then try her videos, they’re amazing!!

I hope this will encourage a few of you at home to get up and run! If it has then I’d love to hear from you, and if you have any more running tips let me know in the comments 🙂

Thanks for reading!