From Armchair to Out There: How to Run When You Can’t Run!

Running is one of the most exciting, simple and low-cost ways to exercise, get fit and lose weight. But if you’ve never run before, it’s easy to get put off the idea simply because you don’t know how to get started. Well look no further, this quick guide will get you from the armchair to out there, explaining exactly how to get started with running as a complete beginner.

Running Up The Steps

First Things First, Preparation for Running

Before we even attempt our first run, there are two basic things we’ve got to start taking care of, our mobility and our core strength. (If you read my article on 4 Non-running Ways to Become a Better Runner, you’ll know all about the importance of these). But if not, I’ll give you the shorthand version.

Good mobility and core strength mean that you have a good posture. A good posture is much more capable of absorbing forces from the ground, meaning you can run much more efficiently and reduce your risk of injuries. I recommend a few simple hip stretches as well as some planks.

running

Try to perform both as often as possible for a couple of weeks before you start running. (And keep doing them even when you are running regularly!)

Next Up, Buying the Right Training Gear

There’s a lot of pretty fancy running technology around nowadays, but don’t worry about all that just yet. In fact, for a lot of runner’s, there’s never any need for all that fancy tech. To get started the only things you actually need are comfortable sports clothing and comfortable running shoes.

sport-watch

Here’s a top tip, don’t get suckered into buying the latest pair of running shoes for £200. You don’t need the million and one magic features (most of them don’t do anything anyway) Nor do you need ‘pronation correction’ or some sort of insole. What you need is a basic pair of bog standard running shoes that fit your feet closely, but without feeling tight. You can pick up a pair for between £40-80.

The same goes for your clothing. No-one’s going to be impressed by your brand new Nike/Adidas/Insert brand name here mega clothing. All you need is for your clothing to be comfortable and ideally made of a breathable fabric.

Your Warm Up

When motivation strikes it can be tempting to head straight to the front door and out for your run, but hold your horses for just one minute. Don’t forget your warm up!

Running Warmup

Whether you’re a complete beginner just starting running or an experienced runner with years of practice you should still be doing a warm up. This will help to improve your performance as well as reduce the risk of injuries. A good warm up should consist of a few simple dynamic movements that raise your heart rate, get fluid into your joints and activate your major muscles.

Your First Run/Walk

Now that you’re warmed up its time to head outside and start your first run. Depending on your age, ability level, and overall fitness your first ‘run’ might have to be a fast paced walk, that’s completely okay. (We’re called ‘beginners’ for a reason right?)

Running girl

I recommend picking a short, simple and achievable route for your first run. Again the exact route you choose will depend on you as an individual. Some examples might be a 400-meter lap of a track, a mile run around your local park or even a half mile walk around your local neighborhood. You’re not aiming for anything amazing so don’t go putting any pressure on yourself, just go out and enjoy it. Listen to your body and try to stay relaxed; have fun with it.

Getting Home and Recovering

The trick to getting better at running is making sure that your body has enough time to rest and recover before your next running session.

protein smoothie

I recommend grabbing a good protein-rich snack when you get home and making sure that you get to bed in time to allow for at least 8 hours sleep. Hopefully in a couple of days, you’ll feel great again and be ready to grab your trainers for another run/walk.

Progress

Everyone wants to get better at things, and I’m sure you’re no exception. With running it’s really simple to get better, you either have to run slightly further than last time, or you have to run the same distance slightly faster than last time.

If you can only walk right now, then try to build up the distances you walk for as well as the speed you walk at. When you feel that you can walk a good distance at a reasonable pace then try to introduce a small run.

Man runs with shoes

Don’t try to push yourself too hard too soon though. Keep things easy and fun, and only look for small improvements each week. If you stick with these small improvements over a longer period of time then you’ll get much fitter with a much smaller risk of injuries.

Time to Go and Get Running

Alright, so we’ve looked at mobility, core strength, running clothing and shoes. We’ve also looked at how to perform a good warm up as well as how to do your first run and recover from it. Last but not least I’ve offered a couple of simple tips for progress. Hopefully, you’ve found this short guide helpful and you’re feeling inspired to go and get running.

Where’s your first run going to be?

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25 thoughts on “From Armchair to Out There: How to Run When You Can’t Run!”

  1. my coaches always said stretching was critical, and having pulled my hamstring during a race for which i didn’t take the time to stretch, i can attest to its importance!

  2. Evelyne CulturEatz

    Really great starter guide for a non runner like me. Is it bad if the part I look forward to the most is the protein snack at the end lol 😀

  3. Debra Eliotseats

    A couple of us try to do this every fall at the beginning of school. We stick with it (mostly) until the snow flies. 🙂 I’m sharing this with them in hopes we get our running/walking group back up!

  4. Rama Tampubolon

    “If you can only walk right now, then try to build up the distances you walk for as well as the speed you walk at. When you feel that you can walk a good distance at a reasonable pace then try to introduce a small run.”

    Agreed.
    As I’ve always said to beginner runners, start by sticking with your pace for now.. That’s not to say that they can’t try more vigorously eventually but you’re the only ones that can know when your body can push further.
    That said.. as with any sport, running is also all in the mind. It’s amazing how many marathons I finished even when I was already in pain but my mind just kept telling me I could do this.

  5. Always a good tip Agnes, as you included that you do not need to buy expensive gear! I know so many people who go out, spend a fortune on a £100 pair of running trainers and never wear them more than once! I wouldn’t spend more than £60 on mine and I’m still wearing the same running t-shirt that I get every year for when I do the Great Scottish Run!

  6. Fran @ G'day Souffle'

    Agness, thanks so much for stopping by my blog G’day Souffle’. I enjoyed your post here- I walk 3-4 miles every day, interspersed with a few spurts of semi-running. I find that the brisk walking suits my body better (and I don’t have to deal with all that body flesh bouncing up and down)!

  7. Michelle | michwanderlust

    Thanks for these great and practical tips, Agness! 🙂 I definitely need to start running again!

  8. As a complete beginner I really appreciated this post. I am , as you say, at the walking stage. I just need to quicken the pace a little 😉 Thanks for sharing! Have a great week-end 🙂

    1. It’s a good cardio session that can be a part of your weekly workout plan. Cardio burns fat not building muscles so too much cardio can actually decrease your muscle mass. Everything in moderation. 🙂

  9. mikaela | wyldflour

    I love that you focus on progress and building up! It’s been a while since I hit the running track… (make that exactly however many years I’ve been out of high school and no longer playing soccer)… And I often try to immediately jump back up to how much I used to be able to run. I need to remember to take your running tips to heart and start small!!!

  10. This is very informative! Love all these tips! I really want to wake up early in the morning to jog or run around our neighborhood but I am always lazy to do it. But reading this inspires me to start running now and stay fit every day. Thank you for sharing this!

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