Running, when done correctly, is amazing for us.
It’s has many wonderful physical health benefits, such as improving our cardiovascular fitness, strengthening our muscles and bones and regulating our blood pressure.
Running can also be amazing for our mental health. It can improve our mood by allowing us to get some much needed headspace and release some built up stress.
With summer just round the corner, the weather getting that bit warmer and the evenings getting lighter, I expect that many of you will take to the roads (or the treadmill) to get a quick endorphin rush.
Yet, unless you’re an experienced runner, then I’m sure this doesn’t sound all that wonderful to you. And you’re not alone!
I’m sure most of us are familiar with the dread and anxiety that surrounds going for a run. I can almost see your eye roll that you just can’t contain when someone runs past you yelling “just think how amazing you’ll feel after!”. Exhausted. Exhausted and tired is what I feel after. Oh, and deflated that I didn’t run very far. And, to top it off, I’ll feel even more exhausted and sore tomorrow!
However running doesn’t have to be such a chore. Believe it or not, when you do it for the right reasons it can make you feel excited, exhilarated and alive.
Here’s my top five running tips for beginners that will help you to feel on cloud-nine post-run. And they are coming from me… someone who HATED running until a couple of months ago. Enjoy!
- Try listening to a good podcast instead of music. This will give you something other than your aching legs to focus on. Plus, it means you can also listen to informative content on a regular basis… win, win!
- Invest in a good pair of running trainers. I really can’t stress this one enough. I see so many people running in the incorrect footwear. Running puts a huge amount of stress on our feet and knees and wearing the incorrect footwear can cause long-term damage. We need our feet and knees to carry us for the rest of our life, so it’s important to ensure that they are correctly supported whilst we are running.
- Ditch the fitness watch. At least for the first few runs, get rid of your fitness watch. It doesn’t matter how fast you run, the important thing is that you’re up, you’re out and you’re moving your body!
- Pick a route that has short road lengths and lots of change in scenery. Running along one straight road can be incredibly boring. If you pick a route that has lots of road changes and different things to look at, it will give you something else to focus on and make the minutes go a little bit quicker.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to run a certain amount of miles. When you first start running, its sometimes best to just leave the house with no distance in mind and just run for as long as you feel like it. My best runs are always the ones where I think “I’m just going to go out and move my body“. Even if you do set a distance, always remember that if you set out to run a 5k and you only managed to do 2, you still ran a 2k and you should be proud.
One more thing to remember about running is that so many of us run for weight loss. Whilst I can’t deny that running is an excellent calorie burner and will in theory, with the correct diet, lead to weight loss, if it’s all we’re running for then we will never fall in love with it.
We forget about all the other physical and mental benefits of running. Being able to move your body at any speed is a privilege and a joy. So every time you drag your running trainers from the bottom of the shoe pile, ask yourself this question: “this run won’t change my body weight, shape or size. So what else am I doing it for?”.