- Run 3 times per week - This may sound a lot but it quickly becomes routine. The problem with running just once a week is that if you miss a day you can go weeks without running and any routine established is lost. When I started I was smoking 20 cigarettes a day and had not exercised for 2 years which I am not recommending but it does show that anyone can start running.
- Run for 20 minutes (Don’t over do it) - At the start I would recommend 20 minute sessions. You may think you don’t have the time to run 3 times per week but at 20 minutes per session you are only spending an hour each week, how much time do you spend watching TV/Surfing the Web? You will be full of energy and enthusiasm during first few runs however you may quickly find yourself dreading the next run. If this happens shorten the session. When starting to run I frequently just went out for 5 minutes, it is surprising how effective such runs can be.
- Measure your runs - Measuring your runs can provide a real boost. Its amazing how much you will improve over the first 3-4 weeks however you need an indicator to highlight this improvement. Nothing elaborate is required, if you run 3 laps of the park during the first week try upping it to 4 in the second week. If you find that you like running quickly try running the same distance but in shorter time periods. Be realistic, trying to double the distance you run on a weekly basis is likely to be over ambitious. If you find yourself dreading the next run you may be setting your targets too high, listen to your body.
- Out and About - When running I try never to stop for a break, I would much rather run at a slower pace or shorten my runs than take a break. At the start you will have to take break as you will be unsure what your body is capable of but after a couple of weeks when you have got into the swing of things I would advise getting the habit of not stopping, walk if need be.
- Drinking whilst running - If your running for 40 minutes or more make sure to drink some liquids 12oz/330ml. Water is fine, personally I like sweet orange drinks. When I started I was running up to an hour with out liquids and felt seriously ill after running. I soon realised it was because I wasn’t drinking enough fluids.
- The Gear - There is only one thing you truly require, a good pair of trainers. I would recommend buying a pair after your second week of running. You may not like running so give it a couple of weeks before parting with your hard earned cash you can also look on them as reward for your efforts thus far. £40-50 will get you a decent pair of trainers, try to avoid the ones with the big air bubbles or springs on the back - get a proper pair of running shoes. When I started I was worried others may laugh at me but the only thing I ever seem to get is a nod or smile of encouragement from other runners.
- No excuses - Sometimes it is easier to think of the reasons not run rather than to get out there. If its raining or cold its amazing how quickly you warm up - just bung on another jumper. Even if its just for 5-10 minutes force yourself out - you’ll be glad you did.