Want to know a little secret about running? No one actually enjoys it. Sweeping generalisation there I know, but the majority of people I speak to who run say that sure, the feeling afterwards is great, but the actual run itself? It’s a love-hate relationship.
I got into running about 3 years ago now and trust me when I say that I never thought I would be a runner. I was the one at school that would do absolutely anything to get out of crosscountry. It’s funny because I felt like no one ever taught me how to ‘run’ and by that I mean the breathing techniques, the strategy to pace yourself etc. I think if my PE teachers had taught me this at school, I wouldn’t have developed such a phobia of running.
It was actually Joe, my other half, who randomly suggested we started running. He’s from Newcastle and said that he’d always wanted to run The Great North Run half marathon. I, unapologetically, laughed in his face when he suggested we do it, but I did agree to have a go at running again.
I’ll never forget the first ‘run’ we did on the beach. I literally had to stop and start every minute because I was so out of breath. I honestly thought I might collapse, but I pushed through and over the course of the next couple of months I did the couch to 5K training programme. I can’t recommend this enough if you’re new to running. They even have dedicated apps that coach you along now. When I ran for 20 minutes straight for the first time I actually couldn’t believe it and it was at that point I knew I’d caught the running bug.
A few months later I did my first 5K and shortly afterwards I decided that I was going to do the half marathon too. I did a training plan through the Nike run app this time. I’m not going to lie, there were parts that were hell. I remember doing a 10 mile run in the summer heat and wanting to curl up in a ball.
When September rolled around I could not have been more scared for the half marathon, but the energy and atmosphere were electric. I’ve not really experienced anything like it before. Plus, Geordie’s are SO friendly so the amount of cheering and handing out of sweets/ice pops really helped push me along. I ran solidly up until mile 11, at which point I had a little walk for 5 minutes because my hip was killing, then carried on. The feeling when I finished was just unreal and I rode off that for a good few weeks meaning I didn’t go out for another run for a couple of months.
When I started back up again it was hell, so lesson learnt, give yourself a little break but get straight back into it. I’m one of those people that needs ‘the fear’ to run, so I’m a big advocate of signing up to a race to ensure you stick to your running plan and fit your runs into your schedule, which leads me nicely to where I am now. I’ve got a 10K planned at the weekend the final KM is around the Olympic Stadium so I’ll be able to practice my Usain Bolt pose.
So after a lot of waffling, here are my top tips for running:
- Start slowly. If you have to stop frequently that’s fine – it’s part of the process.
- Read up on running breathing techniques unless you want to be gasping for air after 5 minutes.
- Don’t invest in fancy running trainers until you’re sure you’re going to continue with running, otherwise, it’s just a huge waste of money.
- If you are going to invest in running trainers, go to a proper store and don’t buy online. Get a gait analysis done at the same time as you might need insoles.
- 1000 mile socks will save you countless blisters. They’re made of an internal sock, and an outer sock so the material doesn’t rub against you when running.
- Use the Nike running app. I’ve tried them all and Nike is the most accurate. MapMyRun is hideously inaccurate in my experience. It once told me I ran a 02:36 KM – utter bollocks!
- Wear running leggings/tights that actually fit. The last thing you want whilst you’re ‘in the zone’ is your pants riding down. My favourite ones are these Nike Epic Lux Capri ones because the waistband is really wide.
- Get a banging playlist. I’m unashamedly a fan of 90’s/early 00’s dance/trance. Think ‘fly on the wings of love’ by XTM & DJ Chucky. Clubland FTW.
- Running is 100% mind over matter. Your body is meant to run. If you’re having a difficult run and you’ve not got any impediments, it’s your mindset holding you back. Just tell yourself that your body is so capable of running and that you’re going to smash it.
- It’s not enough to just ‘run’ if you want to be fit. Try adding in HIT sessions and strength training into your workouts – it’ll make a massive difference to your run. I’m aware of how much of a bore I sound right now…
- Work out your best time to run. I will never, ever, be an early morning runner. I’ve tried it a few times but it’s just not for me.
Do you enjoy running? Do you have any tips I’ve missed off?