As we have nice light evenings, and the threat of rain is at it's lowest this time of year (but in the UK are we ever truly safe???) Now is a great opportunity to take up running!
-I can already hear the gasps of horror-
Don't panic, it really isn't as horrific as you might think, and some people even start to ENJOY running!
Firstly, it is important to remember that running is a cardiovascular exercise, and although cardio is very good for you, it should not replace your resistance workouts - resistance is what does the really good stuff in terms of fat-loss, muscle growth, strength, muscle tone, burning calories and so much more...But none the less, running is good too.
Here are a few tips from me, as to how you can begin running.
Just Do It
Now you might recognise this snappy slogan from the Nike adverts, but there is a lot of truth to it. Sometimes you just have to get off your butt and do it. The first step to being good at something is being not very good at something, but you just need to keep at it. Manage your expectations, think about a route that you know you would be able to complete at a brisk walk and then try and run for as much of it as possible. Your only aim at this point should be to try and run for as long as possible before you have to slow down to a walk. It doesn't matter if that is after 10 meters or ten miles, just give it your best shot.
Invest in some gear
Now you really don't need to spend much money for this, but it is well worth getting yourself some running gear - all it needs to be is a pair of comfortable trainers so that you don't get blisters or sore feet, and some dedicated clothes that are lightweight and comfortable. It is possible to spend many hundreds of pounds on running clothing but unless you are a serious runner, you really don't need it.
If you are like me, music is a great motivator, and will make the time pass a lot quicker if you can take your mind off your lungs and on to your ears. If music isn't your thing, then a good podcast or audio-book can be just as good. Get some headphones that will stay on your head and maybe a armband to hold your phone or mp3 player (an old sock with the toes cut off will also do the job.
There are some really great apps available to help track your progress. Mapmyrun and strava are great ones for giving you statistics so that you can see how well you are progressing, or my current favourite is Zombies, Run! which is a bit silly, but a lot of fun - it puts you in a zombie movie and if you slow down too much the zombies catch you!
Remember this one thing
Your brain gives up a long time before your body. Yes, you will feel like you can't go on, your lungs will burn, you will be hot and sweaty, and you will think that you have to stop running otherwise you will die, but I promise you, you can go a bit further, so keep pushing.
Running uses up a lot of water, so make sure you drink plenty before, carry a bottle with you (FIT bottles are just £4) and have a full glass waiting for you when you get back!