5 Easy Running Tips for Beginners

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Summer has arrived(ish) and much like at the start of the year, hoards of new gym goers and people alike hit the outdoors with the intention of getting fit and healthy.

It's easy to see why - running is free, you can do it anywhere and it burns more calories that any other mainstream exercise. The health benefits speak for themselves too - regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and it boosts happiness and makes you feel healthier all round. What's not to love?

Now, I'm absolutely not an expert, but I do have a few tips which I wish I had known before I got started.

 1. Take It Slow

The urge to run a marathon on your first day is real - but please, please do not do this. To avoid injury it is essential to ease yourself into running by taking it slow and increasing your pace and distance gradually. If you're completely new to running, start by walking 10 to 30 minutes and when it becomes easy, include running intervals of one to two minutes or whatever feels comfortable for you - it really depends on your current level of fitness.

A great app to get you started is Couch to 5K - a nifty little app designed to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in nine weeks. 

2. Get The Technique

Perfecting your technique will make running feel less tiring, reduce your risk of injury and make the whole experience more enjoyable - here are a few basic tips:-

- Keep your head straight and relaxed
- Try not to hunch your shoulders
- Keep your hands relaxed
- Take short light steps - don't over stride or strike the ground too heavily
- Breathe deeply and rhythmically

3. Stay Motivated

Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing... when you've got it. You're stoked now but will you be just as excited about your daily run in a months time?

One of the easiest ways to keep motivated is to set a goal and keep a diary of your progress. Whether your goal is to lose weight, run a specific distance or to beat your personal time; keeping a progress diary is a fantastic way of encouraging yourself. I personally use Map My Run on my iPhone as you can track your distance, pace, calories and create different routes to make your run more varied.

Running with friends or with a club is an excellent motivator because you know you have people counting on you, it can make all the difference when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning.

4. Get The Right Footwear

Running isn't an expensive sport, as a general rule, you only need the basics. 

Buying a good pair of trainers is like finding your perfect partner - the important thing to remember is to avoid buying for looks. Sure, a good looking pair of trainers will make you feel good at first but the satisfaction is short-lived. What you need from your partner, sorry trainers, is reliability, strength, durability oo-er and support. Good looks fade my friends... fade like a muthafucka.

The right trainers can greatly increase your running capabilities as well as staving off any unwanted injuries. My advice would be to go and get properly fitted at a specialist store - some places have treadmills to measure the way you run and what type of shoe would suit you best. If you really don't want to do this or if you want to order online; make sure to go half a size up!

5. Listen To Your Body

Without sounding like a hippy, you need to tune in and listen to your body and learn the difference between a tight spot and pain. It's normal to ache, your muscles are getting used to all of the new work they are doing but if something doesn't feel right - you need to be able to recognise it.

Try not to worry too much and don't give up at the first hurdle; check that your footwear is correct, make sure you haven't drastically upped your distance or speed and always, always stretch.

So what are you waiting for? Go out, get yourself motivated, pick up some fresh kicks and have a little fun. I'll see you on the road. 

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