Running is one of the simplest yet most effective forms of exercise, but it can feel daunting if you’re unsure how to get started.
In the latest of our blogs to celebrate Virtual Runner’s 10th anniversary, here are our top 10 tips to help you discover the joy of running:
1. Invest in proper running shoes:
This might seem like a big investment but if you’re serious about running regularly, a well-fitting pair of trainers will be worth every penny. Visit a specialist running store to get professionally fitted for a pair that suits your foot shape and running style. Not only do they help prevent injuries they can help you avoid those nasty blisters that make you want to stop before you’ve even really got started.
2. Start with a walk-run approach:
Don’t feel pressured to run the entire distance from the get-go. Begin with a walk-run strategy. For example, run for one minute, then walk for two minutes, and repeat. Gradually increase your running time as you build endurance.
Apps like Couch 2 5k are great for helping you to do this in a more structured way too.
3. Set realistic goals:
Setting achievable goals is key to staying motivated. Start with small, attainable milestones like running a mile without stopping, or taking part in a 5K race or parkrun. As you reach these goals, you’ll gain confidence and the drive to push further.
4. Follow a training plan:
Consider using a beginner-friendly training plan, which can help structure your workouts and ensure a gradual increase in intensity. Many apps and online resources offer customisable plans tailored to your fitness level and goals.
5. Don’t forget to warm-up and cool down:
You might not feel like you need to do this if you’re only going for a short run, but it can make a huge difference to how achey and stiff you will feel the next day.
Spending a few minutes on these routines before and after your run is well worth it, to help minimise the impact of running on your body.
6. Pay attention to your breathing:
Proper breathing is crucial for endurance. Focus on deep, rhythmic breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Let your breathing guide your pace – don’t hesitate to slow down or walk if you find yourself gasping for air.
7. Listen to your body:
Being tuned in to your body is essential. If you experience pain beyond typical muscle soreness, it’s a sign to rest and recover. Overdoing it can lead to injuries that thwart your progress and may put you off going out again.
8. Stay consistent:
Consistency is key to improvement. Aim to run regularly, even if it’s just a few times a week. Building a routine will help you develop stamina and make running a natural part of your lifestyle.
9. Join a running community:
Running is a social sport, and joining a running group or community can be incredibly motivating. You’ll meet like-minded individuals, gain valuable advice, and stay accountable to your goals. Virtual Runner’s Facebook community is a great way to meet other beginner runners and ask any questions you may have.
10. Embrace virtual running events:
Of course, we would say this but… virtual runs really are a great way to get started on your running journey! They help to give you goals and motivation, and a reason to get up off the sofa.
Knowing that you could be earning medals (and cash for charity) can really help when the initial novelty of going for a run wears off.