Monday, April 20, 2015

on losing weight: tips for first time runners

I've been running on and off since January now - and although I've had to hold it in a bit recently, due to some health problems, it's something I was surprised at how much I loved.
I was posting updates in my couch to 5k weekly updates, but those have stopped and I now just run when I feel like my knee can take it! As a note: my knee was bad before I started running, but the running may have exasperated it. However, I think my tips are all valid! I was an absolute beginner, I'd never run before, outside of the gym - these are a few things that I wish I'd been told before I started running!

tips for first time runners


This doesn't have to be expensive, but get some decent gear. The first few runs, I wore my gym pants, some old trainers, a vest and a hoodie. It was fine, but I found problems, like my phone slipping out of my pocket, and my gym pants getting all muddy because they're not tight like leggings.. After a few runs, I decided to get sorted properly, so I bought a lightweight, warm and zip-up hoodie, with zip pockets (£20) and some running tights (£22). This stuff works a lot better, and even though I feel a little self-conscious in it because I'm not a ~serious runner~, I just stick on my headphones and put on some Queen Bey and I care a lot less. Go to a sports-wear shop, I recommend a place like Decathlon, H&M, Marks and Spencers, or even Tesco, because their stuff is relatively cheap, which is good if you're not convinced you're going to stick at it. I like Decathlon because they have a lot of menswear stuff, and I prefer things that DON'T come exclusively in pink (my pet peeve)!


I never really 'believed' in stretches, I'll be honest. I just figured a warm down was enough, but it really, really isn't. I found that running outdoors uses completely different muscles to the ones that I'm used to exercising, and when I don't do them after running, my legs and thighs are in agony the next day. I don't do them pre-running, but make sure I get a good blood-flow going by walking briskly to the place where I run. I do some hamstring and glute stretches, mostly ones I've found just by googling or on Pinterest.


I don't run on the streets, but I do cross them to get to my route, so be mindful of wearing headphones whilst out and about. Also, if you're running somewhere secluded, try and let someone know when you're going to be back, and where you are going, and if you run at night or very early in the morning, wear high-visibility clothing. 


Where I run is good because it's flat and straight and car-free, and mostly people free (just the odd dog walker, cyclist, other runner, or this one old guy that inline skates verrry slowly...), but it can get a little dull because I run loops of a track with no much to look at apart from the occasional red-kite or puppy that runs across my path. I've learned the hard-way that a bad playlist makes for a less than good run. I shelled out for Spotify premium in January, when it was 99p, for the offline tracks and I've been using it ever since. I went through all their recommended fitness and running playlists and found the tracks I like best and keep me going. They change occasionally when I get bored, but I need something good to listen to!


Some weeks, I repeat the same runs. Before January, I've never ran outside, and I wanted to make sure I could do the runs properly before moving on to the next week. I know this means that the 9-week plan will be longer, but that's okay, I've got the time.


The first few weeks, I couldn't even run for 60 seconds. My first run, I only ran for about 4 minutes out of the 8, and had to walk the rest. Looking back now, I was definitely trying too hard. I was trying to out and out run, when my body just couldn't cope with that. I've run at the gym but outdoors, it feels completely different, so I needed to slow down. After a bit I slowed down to a slow jog, and this works better - it's gentler on my knees, hips and ankles.


I am an incredibly shy and self-conscious person - I hate doing anything that involves me looking sweaty around people, I hate being laughed at or made the centre of attention.. But I've pushed my way through all these self-esteem issues, because sure, a few kids have shouted comments at me, but I just jack my music up and ignore them. Why would I let what they think bother me?
I know these things are all probably very obvious or silly to the well-seasoned runner - but they were things I didn't consider at all when I first set off on that first run on a grey January day...

For more of my On Losing Weight series, click here!


  1. I like to dress for the occasion so putting on proper running stuff motivates me a bit! Playlist is definitely my most important thing though, I need to update mine.

  2. I'd love to get into running now when I renew my gym membership (we have a running club at our gym) pretty good if you ask me :) x

  3. really great tips!


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