Hello! Today I want to natter about things I wish I had known before I started running. So if you haven’t run before and want to here are a couple of my tips. Next week I will have some assistance from other runners on what they would have told themselves when they first started out. But for today you have me, so these are all from my own experiences, so please don’t take what I say as gospel, but do enjoy!
Don’t expect too much at the start
With any type of exercise endeavour, running isn’t easy and that is never more certain than when you are starting those first few runs! I remember when I first tried to run, I was on a towpath and I thought that this would be easy, just run down and I would probably get a mile in before I had to stop. NOPE! I wasn’t anywhere near that magical mile marker and in fact didn’t get near it until around a week afterwards. I had aimed too high and I was running in a way that probably wasn’t the best for myself at the weight I was.
So, my advice would be to not expect anything in that first week, just reel in all the thoughts of what you can do and just go. Remove all the pressure from yourself and just let your legs do the talking.
Sprinting is good, but just slow it down for a bit
The reason why I didn’t get anywhere near that mile marker was because when I first started to run, I gave it everything and ran as fast and as hard as I could down that path until I had nothing left in me, then I would let my lungs relax and stop burning and then I would go down the road again. I never got far, but at the time I thought this was the best way to learn how to run. To go as fast as I see people going and hope that I would be able to go further the next time. This did happen and it took a long while for me to learn that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t the best idea and that going slower will make me a better runner.
With that sage bit of knowledge, I went slower and voila, I could go far further than I previously could! That first run where I went comfortably past some hedges at half a mile and then realised that I was going to go past the large sign at 0.8 miles and all the way to the beginning of a little hedge corridor at the mile was one of the best I could remember. I progressed and just kept going at this pace and would get happier the further I went, until all of a sudden I realised I was going faster as I went along until eventually that sprinting I thought I was doing when I first started running wasn’t sprinting for my new body, it was my new normal pace.
Running is difficult and there is no way around it, when you are starting out you are going to be slow and you are going to see loads of people run around faster than you and make it all look very easy. Even if they weren’t overweight, I guarantee you they didn’t just pick it up nice and easy, they were slow once too. You will improve, you may never get as fast as those guys and girls bombing it around the park, but you will be grand. Just keep going out there and running and you will improve.
Patience is key as you will get frustrated, I did when I first started and hell I still do now and it has been years! I see Victoria get frustrated, everyone does. But they keep going the next day or scheduled run. One poor run doesn’t define you I can attest to this just from a few days ago. I was running after work and I got to 1 mile and just couldn’t keep going, so I stopped and went again, then a mile later the same thing. This repeated for 4 times before I just gave up and walked the rest of the way home. I had some stomach issues, I wanted to run long, but knew I had a long run planned for the next day. Lots of little things affected that run, but I got a run in, although it was spaced out I did it and that is all that matters.
There are good and bad people out there
No matter what size you are when you start running, joe public will see someone running and see them going slower than other runners, taking no consideration into the amount of time that person has been running. I would like to think in this day and age, people would pay you no concern. There will be people out there who are going to look or laugh or even worse shout something derogatory at you. You will try to not let it affect your run, but it will, and that’s okay. People can be horrible, but remember you passed other runners or cyclists who nod or smile at you. Think of those people and try to keep going!
If it upsets you then let it for a little bit, but keep the head up and progress on, stick on some music or a podcast and enjoy the rest of the run, they don’t know you so they can fuck off. Or yell back at them and chase them down… They won’t expect that (I do not condone chasing after someone as that might lead to an altercation and that’s not nice. But seriously if they are slow… chase them. Let’s see if they can run…)
Despite this, there are good folks out there! I wrote a little blog (post) about the type of acknowledging you can do to other runners or cyclists and I wrote that post because I noticed that when I ran I was getting waves and nods and smiles (could have been grimacing to be fair) to cyclists and runners etc. For every asshole in the world, there are lovely supportive people who will, in their own little way boost your confidence. You will now just have to figure out what way you will return the acknowledgements… I only suggest not to stop! Don’t ruin that good time!
Run with someone or a club
I started off running on my own and while I enjoyed it, it is a lot tougher out there when you are in your own head, whereas if you run with another person, they keep you going even if it isn’t verbally said. You don’t want to slow down the other person, so you push yourself. I only really learned this when I started running with Victoria. I have noticed that when I run with her, my times and effort are a lot more than when I am not with her. Running is 90% mental believe it or not, get out of your head and run with others or join a running club, socialise with these great people as there are few communities better than a running community. I am currently on the hunt for a club now as I feel I will only improve if I do.
Well, that is all from me, thank you for reading! Sorry if it got long there, but that’s what some running is about!