“Run in the morning, before your brain figures out what you’re doing”
1.Buy a good pair of trainers
This might sound obvious, but the number of people I get asking me ‘How do you not get blisters? Why are your feet never sore?’ has made me realise that too many people start out the wrong way — with the wrong shoes. Yes, trainers can be expensive, but investing in a good pair that suit you, your running stride and the shape of your feet is vital to your training, even as a beginner.
THE HABIT HUNTER’S RECOMMENDATION: Asics Gel Nimbus 18 or Adidas Ultra-Boost ATR (they’re honestly like running on clouds)!
2. Enter a race
Something that to many beginners sounds both ridiculous and daunting. However, when I bit the bullet and entered my first 10km race that was the motivation I needed to get out and run. Not only have you paid the entry fee (it’s a waste of money if you don’t run)! But if you’re running for a charity, the added pressure of fundraising and not letting the charity down can encourage (pile you with guilt) to get your training started.
THE HABIT HUNTER’S RECOMMENDATION: Dependent on your ultimate goal I’d recommend the following events close to/in London, they’re all really friendly (mildly competitive), and great for first-timers:
5km: ZSL London Zoo Stampede
10km: Richmond Spring Riverside 10k
10miles: Valentines Tough Love 10ish Miles
Half-Marathon: Royal Parks Half
3. Time > Distance
It’s easy to spend too much time thinking about reaching distance goals, saying to yourself “I’m going to run 5km today” or “I need to get in my 10 mile run to keep to the training plan”, reality is, we feel different each time we run. Some days, you might feel like you are dragging yourself around the course, others you get to the end and could do another lap. Needless to say these feelings alter the pace at which we run at, so spending too much time focussing on getting distance in is counteractive. Instead set yourself time goals — start with a low target (maybe 25/30 minutes and just keep going) and gradually increase it over time, whether that means you end up running 2km’s or 10km’s you’ve kept going. Training your feet to be out and moving for a set time is just as (possibly even more so) important as building up distance.
4. Don’t beat yourself up over missing a run
If you’re not feeling up to it — simply don’t do it. There are some days where you’ll hit a complete lull, any runner telling you otherwise is either superhuman or lying. Yes there are days when we all need a little motivation and once we’ve made it out the door we feel a whole lot better for going. However, there are other days when simply the thought of stepping out of the door is too much to handle. On these days — don’t bother. Not only will it just start making a run into a chore rather than an enjoyment, but neither your mind nor body will thank you for it either. After all, rest is key to letting yourself recover properly and avoiding injury.
5. Don’t stress too much over 10% increase
As a beginner you may find yourself heading over to your expert running coach ‘google’ who no doubt will inform you of a training plan that involves this 10% increase — having to calculate percentages and go for a run? That’s enough to put any beginner off tying their shoelaces and getting out the door. Whilst it is important to increase your running time as the weeks go by, being as structured as a percentage increase can just be overwhelming. After all, you’ve set the goal, you’ve started that’s a positive in itself. If you’re sticking to what you want to achieve, whether that’s 3, 4 or 5 weekly runs (doing any less is just going to be a little counteractive) you’ll soon begin to feel comfortable and know when you can start to pick up the pace or run for that little bit longer!
THE HABIT HUNTER’S RECOMMENDATION: Spend some time noting the pace of your first few runs and how you felt afterwards (I’m talking one word not a whole diary insert) – “Great, Comfortable, ‘On Deaths Door'” – this will give you the chance to find a good starting point and figure out what’s achievable over time.
6. Join a running group (not for everyone) — do what’s right for you
For some, the prospect of running alone is enough to put them off altogether, for others (myself included) that downtime is the best time. So do what is right for you, don’t get me wrong, I love speaking to like-minded people, and running with others on occasion, but I also enjoy the headspace of just myself and my music. Getting started can be a lot easier by surrounding yourself with others in the same boat, so whether it’s simply using one of your runs every week as a social run with others it could be the boost you need to keep yourself motivated. But most importantly, do what’s right for you. Running clubs are great for providing that supportive network, the likelihood there’s a constantly active Facebook group that you’ll be immediately enrolled into once you join, and that in itself is a great way to find that support network. So give it a shot — what’s to lose?
THE HABIT HUNTER’S RECOMMENDATION: If you’re not 100% sure that a running club is right for you head along to a session first. Most (if not all) running clubs will let you go along to a couple of sessions before you make your decision to join, that way you can see if it’s going to suit you or not. It’s also worth spending some time looking up some free clubs, a lot of running communities have popped up all over London and wont charge you to join them — whilst you might get less running related content on Facebook — you’re bound to make some friends along the way too. (Nike Run Club, London Midnight Runners, Run Dem Crew & Tribe all host free weekly events)
7. Wear the right clothes
Just as I mentioned with trainers, finding and wearing the right gear is just as important as finding the motivation to get out there and get started. There’s something about pulling on a new pair of leggings or investing in a fancy sports bra (so what if it’s only you that gets to appreciate it) that makes getting out the door that little bit inspiring, after all if you’re forking out on some Lululemon or Sweaty Betty gear you’ll want people to appreciate it right? As cliched as it may sound — theres a whole lot of truth in look good-feel good.
THE HABIT HUNTER’S RECOMMENDATION: Check out my Top 10 Winter Fitness Favourites
8. Park Run
Park runs are weekly 5km events held all over the world, and the likelihood is there’s one less than a couple of miles from your home. The best part about park runs? They’re free & they’re properly timed. There’s always a mix of runners, from the experienced to the first-timers, but one thing that never changes, is the friendly atmosphere. As an event held and hosted by volunteers, there’s an abundance of goodwill and spirit flying around and a great way to meet new people – keep a record of your progress – and not spend any money!
THE HABIT HUNTER’S RECOMMENDATION: Don’t just think about it, get a friend involved and find your nearest park run!
The Habit Hunter x