Running can be a great form of cardio but it certainly isn’t easy, especially for a beginner. When I first started my running journey I could barely run 1K without stopping. I was out of breath, wearing my cotton jogging bottoms, an old tired sports bar and, what I like to call, “fashion trainers”. Suffice to say, I quickly learnt the value of a good workout outfit and proper running gear.
Now that’s not to say you should go out and buy a whole new workout outfit. But there are a few items I’d recommend (avoiding cotton being one of them!), honestly the jogging bottoms left sweat marks on my bum! Ew. The trainers, with little cushioning or support, hurt my feet, and the bra left my boobs feeling very sore.
I almost gave up.
The experience nearly put me off getting back out there for my second run! I cursed myself for signing up to run Race4Life 5K and genuinely thought I’d never be able to complete it; but I did. In fact I completed not one, but two, races that first year. My second being the Monster Race 10K (which actually turned out to be 13K!) a few months later.
Running for Beginners
So if you’re looking to start running or get back to it after a long break (like me), here are a few things that worked for me when I first started out, and got me to that first 5K.
There are many running programmes suited to beginner’s but the most famous is probably Couch to 5K which uses a form of interval training to get you going. The idea is you’ll be race ready within 8 – 9 weeks.
I personally used an interval training method of 3 minutes running followed by a walk for 1 minute and increased this week by week. This was started with a quick 5 minute warm up (usually a walk or leg lunges) and followed by a cool down (usually another walk) and some Yoga sretches.
As my distance improved I used interval training one – two times per week and had a longer distance run at the weekends. By week 3 I completed my first 4K without stopping. All my progress was tracked through Strava (click to follow me).
Having the right workout gear
As I mentioned earlier a good workout or running outfit is key to a good run, and with many highstreet stores offering sportswear this can easily be done on a budget. My first stop? Tesco, who have a good range of activewear, along with being supporters of Race4Life each year.
Before heading out I made a list of things to consider before buying:
- The leggings and shirt need to be comfortable and easy to move around in. Neither should ride up or slip down while I’m running. They should also be of a wicking material.
- The bra should be very supportive and designed for high impact sports.
- Two pairs of running shoes – one for road and one for trail running.
My running workout outfit
My leggings (by Tesco F&F Active Wear) were love at first sight, they’re so comfy to wear and, as an added bonus, proceeds from each sale went towards Cancer Research UK as well. I actually bought two pairs as I liked them that much; comfort aside, what I love most about these is the small pocket at the back of the waist band. It’s the perfect size to fit a mobile phone, bank card or cash, and your door key. I also picked up a white high impact sports bra and a vest top.
I picked up both sets of trainers and my running socks from Sports Direct, which have all been very supportive to run in. They also stock a wide range of accessories you can consider from hydration belts and water bottles to running belts and fitness watches. For me I have a running belt and water bottle, along with my headphones, which brings me to my next tip.
A good playlist
For me this means rock music with a good beat to it, but anything you find motivational would work well. However I’d leave out the slow ballads – you wouldn’t want to be halfway up a hill and a slow ballad pop up on your playlist.
Bring a friend
One of the great things about running is you can do it alone or with other people. If you have a friend that also likes running or is interested in taking it up – bring them along on your next run.
There may also be running clubs in your area and of course, races are a great way to interact with other runners too.
Other exercises are important
When I first started running it was all I focused on, except for my warm up and Yoga stretches as part of my cool down. But as I began training for my muddy obstacle course I introduced other exercises into the mix.
These included a planks, side planks and crunches to build my core strength, and squats and bridges for my glute muscles. It’s important to space out your training days throughout the week to give yourself a chance to recover and rest.
Managed to up your pace? Ran an extra mile or even half a mile? Or simply had a ‘good’ run (you’ll know the one)? Remember to reward yourself. For me this was a pair of penguin socks the first time I completed one complete lap of our estate (approx. 2K), without stopping. Yep, you read that right, penguin socks (which were also from Tesco 😅).
Are you a runner? What sort of exercises do you enjoy doing? Let me know in the comments. 😊🏅🏋