Running is one of the best exercises a person can do. It’s easy to get started with and can be done almost anywhere. It’s good for your body and great for your mental health too — it’s basically meditation on the move. But if you’re still apprehensive about pulling on a pair of trainers and heading out, here are five ways you can up your running game before you start.
Invest in a good sports bra
Part of the beauty of running is its accessibility. It’s simple, affordable, and virtually anyone can do it with the most basic kit. While the most important thing to start with is a decent pair of running shoes, it’s also wise to invest in a decent sports bra. Aside from keeping you comfortable as you pound the tarmac, it also importantly supports your breasts on your run. When you run, they are subjected to repeated strain, which over time can damage the breast tissue.
Investing in a pretty but supportive sports bra protects your breasts from painful long-term damage and enhances your workout. A high-impact sports bra like the Catalyst sports bra by Knix is great for running novices. It’s high-performance and rigorously tested, making it perfect for any workout, whatever your fitness levels.
Track your progress
Your fitness journey is a long one. Unfortunately, a healthy, fitter body doesn’t happen overnight. So when you first start running, it can feel a bit like you’re going nowhere. If you’re struggling to look or feel fitter, you’re going to feel demoralised and demotivated — the last thing you need. Tracking each run helps you visualise your progress. Keep a record of each run, tracking time, speed, route, and distance covered. Over time, you’ll begin to see your time drop or your speed increase. It’ll be gradual, but when you look back on your progress further down the line, you’ll see the incredible steps you’ve made.
There are some great apps for this, with my personal favourite being the Nike Run Club. As well as letting you track pace, duration, calories burned, and more, it also comes with some great guided runs to help direct running novices.
Don’t push yourself too hard
Many first-time runners start full of motivation. You’re pumped up and raring to go, ready to push yourself to the limit to reach your fitness goals. And that drive is admirable! But, like everything in life, you should use it in moderation. A lot of running bloggers and YouTubers emphasise the importance of pushing yourself. And that’s true, to a point.
It can be tempting in the early stages of your running to work your body to its limit, running despite feeling in pain or exhausted. But if you keep exercising when your body doesn’t feel right, you’ll do yourself more damage in the long run. Instead, listen to your body. If your knee is aching or your ankles are sore, it’s okay to sit this one out.
Find what works for you
Runners are a diverse bunch. Some prefer the air-conditioned comfort of a swanky gym, water bottle by their side and headphones blaring drum and bass. Others prefer pounding the running track, doing lap after lap while listening to their favourite podcast. And others still prefer a simple run to the shops and back, without any music at all. The thing is, every runner has their own style — and that’s fine. Experiment with different locations, times of day, and music to find a style that works for you. It’ll make even the most arduous of runs that little bit more enjoyable.
Join a running group
Your first few runs can be challenging — taxing and tiring, you might feel like giving it all up and collapsing on the sofa with a glass of wine. In fact, running for novices can be a downright misery. But you know what misery loves? Company. Joining a running group gives you an instant network of supportive, like-minded individuals to motivate you as you take your first steps in the running world. They’re full of people just like you, who want to enjoy the benefits of running but need some guidance and support first.
There are thousands of clubs around the country catering to runners of every level. Whether you’re a nervous beginner or a hardened veteran, there’s a running group for you. Running groups are also a great place to meet new people and create new friendships. When you surround yourself with runners, you’ll naturally become a better, more motivated runner too. Find a club near you here.
As a novice, running is hard — but it doesn’t need to be. There are lots of things you can do to make it easier and more enjoyable. Running is a great workout that exercises your body and your brain, so don’t be put off. Follow the tips above and join the running tribe today.