Beginners guide to running

Running is free, you can do it anywhere, and it burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise. 

Regular running can reduce your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control. 

Here is some great advice on running from the NHS Live Well page.  


Before you start 

If you have not been active for a while, you may want to build your fitness levels gently with walking before you move on to running. 

Running requires little equipment, but a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type may help improve comfort. 

There are many types of trainers on the market, so get advice from a specialist running retailer, who’ll assess your foot and find the right shoe for you. 

The shoe’s structure weakens over time, especially with regular use. Running experts advise replacing running shoes every 300 to 400 miles (482 to 644 km). 

Women should also consider using a sports brawhich is sturdier than a regular bra and provides additional support. 

Plan your runs. Work out when and where (the exact route and time) you’re going to run and put it in your diary. That way, it will not slip your mind. 

If you feel out of shape, or you’re recovering from injury or worried about an existing condition, see a GP before you start running. 


Starting out 

To avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it’s essential to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several outings. 

Start each run with a gentle warm-up of at least 5 minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs. 

Start walking for an amount of time that feels comfortable.  

When you first start out, try alternating between running and walking during your session. 

As time goes on, make the running intervals longer until you no longer feel the need to walk. 

Give yourself a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and a doing few stretches.  

Regular running for beginners means getting out at least twice a week. Your running will improve as your body adapts to the consistent training stimulus. 

It’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run 6 times one week and then do no running for the next 3 weeks. 

Try the NHSCouch to 5K programme for a more structured approach.

It is designed to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in 9 weeks. 


For more information on staying motivated or getting tips on foods you should eat for sport, click here.


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