October 12, 2017

One question a lot of runners get asked is ‘how did you get into running?’ For me I know WHY I got into running (weight loss, stress relief and a general feeling of accomplishment) but the HOW is much more of a blur. It’s a bug I caught and I’m really glad I did.

In 2015 Sport England announced that 2.45 million people over the age of 14 take part in running and athletics each week. Furthermore in 2016, a record number of 247,069 people applied for a place in the London Marathon, with more than 42% of these being women (telegraph 2016).

The health benefits of running are widely known. Regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes (NHS, UK). Running can also boost your mood, help promote weight loss and improve your fitness.

Despite this, according to the British Heart Foundation 1 in 5 adults feel the furthest they can run is 100m. Many perceive running as an elite sport for the fit and healthy, however in reality running is accessible to all - all you need is a pair of trainers and off you go. Getting into running has been the best decision I ever made for both my physical and mental health. But how can YOU get into running?

Here are my top tips:

  • parkrun: Swap Saturday morning lie-ins for getting up at the crack of dawn (probably earlier than you get up to go for work) and joining likeminded crazies running round parks. parkrun is FANTASTIC and what’s even better is it is FREE! There are loads dotted around the country (and beyond). Great atmosphere, beautiful parks and supportive volunteers. Whether you run, jog or walk it, you’ll leave feeling like a champion. Find your local parkrun in the UK on their website, in Ireland here.
  • Couch to 5k: If you’re struggling with the thought of running for more than a few minutes (or seconds) join the couch to 5K movement, which helps break it down into manageable distances and helps build your running stamina. The NHS offers online information about Couch to 5k, you can download various apps to your mobile phone or many local running groups offer couch to 5K courses.
  • Book a race: give yourself the fear, whilst having a goal to work towards! Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. If you’re frequently running 2K book a 5K, if you’re running 5K book a 10K and one day you’ll be booking that marathon!
  • Cross-train: sometimes to improve as a runner, you need to do something other than run! I find that doing other forms of physical exercise helps improve my running. Zumba, HIIT, weight training, cycling and swimming are all great for improving your cardio vascular fitness and building the running machine!
  • Verbalise your goals: If you run, you’re a runner so scream it from the rooftops and be proud. Tell others and share what you’re up to. My other half isn’t a runner but he is SO supportive about what I do and listens to me babble on about it all the time. It’s great to share your passion with people around you. You never know who might join you on your journey.
  • Get on Instagram and start sharing your journey: Instagram is a great motivator, it’s a place where loads of crazy runners share their stories, advice and generally support and encourage each other. My passion for running has largely been fuelled by my Instagram page @thisbunnyruns. I use it to share my journey as well as following other amazing runners. I love the hashtag #thisgirlcanrun I see SO many inspirational posts everyday!
  • Track your progress and set tangible goals: whether that’s in miles, the time to do a 5K, progress photos or the number on the scales (although do note that running can make you gain muscle which depending on your body composition might make you heavier). Set tangible goals, smash them and then set some more!
  • Join a running club: No they aren’t for the professionals and NO YOU WILL NOT BE THE SLOWEST PERSON. Joining a running club opens up a whole new world of running! You suddenly have 50+ runner friends! You will find all ages and abilities at running clubs, do some research and find one that fits your goals (some are more competitive, some are more social). Many UK & Irish clubs are affiliated to England Athletics & Athletics Ireland where you can pay for a membership (but in return you get discounted race entries) or you can find a local free running group (they do exist!)
  • Find a time of day that works for you: not a morning person? Head out in the evening! Exhausted after work? Try a lunch break run! Find a time that works for you, but also don’t beat yourself up if some days you just don’t feel like going. Switch it up to keep you on your toes!
  • Don’t compare yourself to others: Your Journey is YOUR journey! Celebrate each run; it doesn’t matter how far or how fast!
  • Get yourself some new gym kit: the better you feel the better you run! Eventually you’ll find you own more running tights than normal clothes…
  • Don’t give up! Your first run might suck, you might hate every minute, you might think NEVER AGAIN. But you WILL feel a million times better afterwards!

Follow me on: Instagram @thisbunnyruns

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