The Absolute Beginners Guide to Running

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Thinking about taking up running? Let us be the first to congratulate you!

Running is an incredible hobby. It’s free to take part in and requires minimal kit. It gets your legs pumping, lungs full and your head clear. It can help you meet new people or, if you prefer, give you some much needed me-time. Best of all, it makes you feel incredible. There’s a reason so many people end up bitten by the running bug.

Here at Great Run, we really believe that running is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if your pace is more snail-like than sprinter – what matters is that you did it. And that you keep doing it. And if you do, you’ll notice the difference. Physically, you’ll feel yourself getting stronger and faster – but you’ll find yourself more balanced and mentally resilient, too.

Sounds good? It really is. But first you’ve got to get going. So take a look at our top five tips for keeping a brand new running habit going.

  1. Trainers first. Running might not require fancy gym subscriptions or memberships, but there *is* one thing you need: decent trainers. If possible, get yourself to a specialist running shop and have your feet and gait looked at by a professional – more advice here. You can thank us when you finish your first big race with all of your toenails intact 😉
  2. Make a plan. Running doesn’t happen without a plan. Although it can be challenging, you need to work out the slots in your week when you can fit it in. Once you’re in your stride (geddit?), you’ll automatically make time for running – but until then, you need to commit. And another top tip: stick your schedule up somewhere you’ll see it every day – on the fridge, above the kettle, wherever. Start small and build up: that’s why our Couch to 5k programmes are so popular – and so successful. And if you miss the odd session? Don’t give yourself a hard time. It happens to us all, honestly.
  3. Stretch it out. Stretching is a really, really important part of your running schedule. Make it part of your regular routine from the very beginning and it’ll help lengthen your muscles, improve your flexibility and stop injuries sticking a spanner in the works. Not sure how? Read our handy guide on everything you need to know about stretching.
  4. Find a running buddy – or a great podcast. Some runners thrive on company. If that’s you, a running buddy or group is a great option to keep your motivation levels high. But if you prefer to go solo, have a look for a gripping podcast or make a high-energy playlist to get maximum enjoyment out of your running me-time.
  5. Take it steady. Once the running bug bites, it can be hard to stop. Remember, rest days are vital – if you overdo it, you might end up giving up for good. Slow and steady does it, increasing your distance – and varying your pace – as time goes on. Keeping track of your progress with an app can really give you a motivational boost and highlight progress that would otherwise stay invisible.

And remember: running isn’t about aiming for perfect runs. Know that even experienced runners have great days, bad days and everything-in-between days.

You just need to keep showing up. You’ve got this.

Why not kick your running habit off by signing up to one of our Great Runs? Take a look here.

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