Join the Race – a beginner’s guide to running

How to start running

These days, everywhere you look, there they are. Britons young and old, of all shapes and sizes, pounding our streets, in filthy weather and fair. We salute every last one of them (we even keep the hardiest hydrated at the Virgin Money London Marathon). We think it takes a special kind of hero to get up off a comfy couch, and set out into the fresh air come rain or shine – to get all hot, sweaty and dog-tired, pushing yourself to your personal limits and beyond.

What’s so great about running?

With all that huffing, puffing and perspiring, it’s a fair question. But the thing is, runners know something those who don’t run, don’t know – it’s worth every last blister, shin-splint and stich. And that’s because running makes you feel awesome. The sense of achievement. The endorphin rush. Watching your body change into a lean, mean jogging machine. Doing your heart, lungs and mind a power of good. Or completing a race you never thought you’d run, like the Virgin Money London Marathon (we’ll be there, cheering you on every at step). Those are just some of the rewards, and they’re there for the taking.

Running for beginners – best foot forward

It’s also well worth getting fitted for a good pair of running shoes, that support your feet and suit your stride pattern. Badly fitting or unsuitable shoes increase the chances that you’ll get injured and out of the game, so spending some time (and a bit of money) getting this right is essential. Any good running shop will have expert advisors who’ll be happy to help you find the best pair for you.

How far do you want to go?

Don’t forget to set yourself goals. What do you want to achieve when you start running? Are you happy running to simply tone up and improve your sense of well-being? Or do you want to go all out and train hard for a half marathon (or even the big one, the Virgin Money London Marathon). Deciding what’s right for you is a great way to inspire yourself, keep motivated and stay on track. One of the best things to do is to build a plan that will help you reach your goals step by step.

Getting into your stride

Bang up for some of that? Then it’s time to get going. But a few words of caution before you do. No matter how pumped up you feel about getting some miles behind you, start running slowly and build things up. Don’t forget that even if your mind has a never-say-die, can-do attitude, your body needs time to get used to the way things are around here from now on.

So, if you throw yourself into a hard training schedule after little exercise beforehand, you’ll be much more prone to injury. Also remember that if you start to feel run down or a little fatigued during training then take a day off. It is far better to take a couple of days off to allow your body to recover than push on.

In your running plan, start by running, then walking, then running again. Gradually reduce the amount you walk until you complete your whole circuit. And don’t just run either. Mix up your exercise – ride your bike, go swimming, play squash or tennis. Whatever you do is up to you, but it will also help to maintain your motivation. Just remember to keep things fun and fresh, so you stay motivated and heading in the right direction.

Keeping well-watered, all the way

Of course, make sure you stay fully hydrated while you’re hard at it on the streets, because getting enough water is essential if you want to perform at your best. After all, muscles are 90% H2O. That means they simply won’t work as they should if you lose too much out on a run. And staying well-watered* will help you mentally too, keeping you calmer and more comfortable, even up the toughest hill. That’s why we recommend taking one of our sports cap bottles with you on your run, as the cap is designed to deliver much-needed refreshment with ease, even when you’re at full speed.

So, what are you waiting for? The sooner you start running the sooner you’ll get back all the brilliant benefits that running can give you, and to lay down the groundwork for a healthier you.

Consistency at the correct intensity for you is the key to successful marathon training.

All you’ve got to do is go for it – we’re with you every sip of the way!

Read more running tips here or on how to get the best out of your running training plan here

Thank you to our partner Full potential for key training advice

* Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive function and normal regulation of body temperature. At least 2L of water, from all sources, should be consumed per day, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle

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