Becoming 'a runner' might be as simple as putting one foot in front of another, but for many it is a daunting prospect. Run coach Nick Bester outlines some simple steps to follow for anyone interested in becoming a runner.
Let me start off by saying running is tough for all of us. It’s definitely not an easy sport. But one thing for certain is that once you’ve worked very hard in order to achieve something that you never thought was possible, it just makes those moments so much sweeter! Especially with everything that goes into it!
Here are some of my top tips that can help get you into running.
Start small and aim for the small wins
We have to start somewhere, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others. We all have different abilities, so it’s just about being the best possible you that you can be. What I try and do is live by the theory ‘better than yesterday’, always trying to improve and move forward. Of course, some days you’re not going to be ‘better than yesterday’, but as long as you keep trying and remain consistent, then you will move in the right direction over a period of time.
We all have different abilities, so it’s just about being the best possible you that you can be.
Make sure to add little bits onto your run - week on week, month on month. You don’t need to make drastic changes - just small amounts here and there is what you’re after. Then you'll find that, after a period of time, all of these small changes have started to add up.
Start small, don’t force it, keep showing up, and good things will come.
Try and incorporate a Parkrun or a regular 5K into your weekly running schedule
I’m a massive fan of Parkrun - it's a great way to start your Saturday. It's now a worldwide event, with currently more than 2,000 Parkruns in 22 different countries (and it's still growing). There’s usually a big attendance at these events, and it definitely helps when you know other people are running it too.
If you don’t have a Parkrun near you, then try and find a nice appealing 5K route. By doing a weekly 5K, it’s a great way to gauge where you are currently at, the progress you’ve made and how you’re tracking.
Run with someone or a group of people
Teamwork makes the dream work. It’s always a whole lot easier when you’re running with people compared to running by yourself. Knowing you’re meeting someone for a run helps keep you accountable and gets you out the door.
When it comes to performance running or harder sessions, try and find a group of people. There’s just something easier about knowing you’re not suffering alone. Whilst running alone occasionally is important and adds to your mental toughness, joining others generally makes runs go by a lot quicker, especially when you get lost in socialising and forget about the time or distance or the run.
Join a running club or running community
Seeing what others are doing around you often helps give you that motivation that you need. You’ll probably find that you gravitate towards like-minded people who in turn often become your training buddies. I started a running club called Best Athletics just under three years ago. It’s the most incredible community that I’m so proud to be a part of. Anyone is welcome to join regardless of location. One of the best things is that no matter where you’re based, you feel part of the team. So feel free to join. We would love to meet you.
Get a good pair of running shoes, kit and fitness device / tracker
Such a big part to getting out for your run is the motivation factor. Nothing is more motivating than new shoes or kit. Treat yourself to a nice pair of shoes, suited to you and that you know you actually want to wear. This will make you look forward to your run.
If you’re able to get a running watch, this will help too. It’s a great way to track your progress. If that competitive side of you comes out, then you might just take more interest in all the data and stats that these watches come with.
Enter a race
We’re far more likely to get the session done if we know we have a race coming up. Even if the thought of this scares you, enter a race. Keep the distance and goal realistic. By doing this, you are giving yourself something to train towards - a purpose. Once you’ve completed your goal race, look back at your training and then analyse how that race went. It’s always a good idea to make notes on what went well and what you can improve on. One of the most beautiful things about the sport is that there’s always more to learn.
I hope these tips can help you. Running is definitely not 'easy' in the beginning, but stick with it, keep showing up, and things will get easier. There are huge mental and physical benefits that running gives you. One of my favourite things about it is the places you get to travel to for races and the like-minded people you get to meet.
Enjoy that post-run endorphin release!
Onwards and upwards,