Introduction to running

New to the running world and don’t know where to start? Don’t panic this guide will explain the best way to build up to your goal and improve your endurance.

Running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, as well as boosting your emotional health and combating stress. It’s a great way to manage weight with a run at 11 minute mile pace (a jog for most runners) will burn 600 calories in an hour for someone who weighs 10st 7lb(67kg), and more if you are above this weight. It’s not surprising then that the number of people taking part in athletics every week, with running being one discipline of this sport has risen from 1.4 million in 2005-06 to over 2 million today.

Before you head out of the door it is important to ensure you have the right equipment to keep you on track. The good thing about running is the only necessity is a good pair of supportive trainers. If you are looking for your first pair we recommend you visit a specialist running shop in order to get the right trainers to support your feet. They will look at the way you run and recommend the best pair for you. This initial cost will set you back on average £50-£100 but a good pair will typically get you through 500 miles.

Set your goal

Because running usually involves measuring your time over a given distance, it’s very easy to set a goal. If you are not looking to be competitive try to have a distance or duration in mind that you want to achieve. Once you achieve this you can then start to think about increasing the pace that you run at.

Be realistic about your goal. If you’ve never run before, start with a shorter distance, a 5k is perfect. You may be enthusiastic about going out on your first run but it is important not to overdo it, so when you are starting off alternate between walking and running to let your body adjust i.e. walk for one minute, run for one minute and build up by a minute each time you go until you reach your goal.

If you have already started running you may have a time that you want to achieve over a specific distance. This is where you will need to work on your speed and strength to be able to run at a faster pace for longer.

Plan it

Whatever distance your run it’s best to start with a base building where you build up the duration that you are able to run for in the first four to six weeks, not worrying too much about pace.

Once you decide on a race (whether it’s competitive or just against the clock) and have a base level of fitness you can base a training schedule for any distance by including three key sessions per week. You can also add easy runs or easy cross training in the gym on top if you’re feeling fit.

Within one week of training you should aim to include:

  • Long run: Unless you’re an elite athlete keep your long runs, slow and done at conversational pace. This helps you build your endurance, so you can keep going. How long this run is depends on the distance you are aiming for, aim to get close to the distance you will be racing over.
  • Speed interval session: This is where you run hard for short bursts, and then recover with either complete rest or an easy jog. You should be running at a pace where you can’t talk in the hard bursts. This training will sharpen you up, help you have that sprint finish and get you fit.
  • Tempo or threshold run: You run at a pace that feels comfortably hard, you can say one or two words but not have a long chat and you can keep going at this pace. Running like this teaches you to sustain a faster run for longer – great for racing.

Going further

Join or set up a work running club with colleagues at work. Or look at the following link to find a local club: Join a Running Club for beginners

Run For A Charity – it makes it harder to stop training and you’ll feel motivated to run when you know others are relying on you going the distance. Or enter an event as a team to have some support. Get work colleagues signed up to an event with you and raise money together.

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