As the new year begins, many of us feel the drive to better ourselves with New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals. Unfortunately, a study of 800 million activities on Strava reveals that around 80% of those who embark on these resolutions give up by January 19th.

But let that not discourage you! We’re here to support you in achieving your goal of a healthier and more active lifestyle throughout the year.

For those who’ve decided to take up running this year, my main advice is simple: Don’t give up just yet. 🏃🏻‍♀️ In 2013, I participated in my first parkrun, finishing with a time of around 40 minutes I was the last one over the finish line.

Despite the huffing and puffing around that initial parkrun, I refused to give up. Sheer stubbornness kept me going. Over the past decade, I’ve acheived 4th female finisher as my best gender position and proudly secured the top spot in my age category multiple times – accomplishments I never thought possible after struggling through that first parkrun.

So, if it feels tough right now, take it slow. Take it steady. Just don’t give up!

Starting a running routine can be an excellent way to improve your fitness and overall well-being. Whether you want to lose weight, enhance your cardiovascular health, or simply enjoy the outdoors, beginning a running journey can be a fulfilling experience. Let’s start running!

To help beginners successfully begin their running journey, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide.

Get the right gear

  • Running shoes:
    – Visit a speciality running store to get properly fitted for running shoes.
    – Choose shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for your unique foot shape and running style.
  • Comfortable clothing:
    – Wear moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics to stay comfortable during your runs.
    – Invest in a good pair of socks to prevent blisters.
  • Accessories:
    – A comfortable, correct-fitting sports bra for women is a must.
    – If running outdoors, invest in reflective gear for safety, especially during low-light conditions.
    – A running belt or vest to carry your keys / phone etc.

Set realistic goals

  • Start small:
    – Set achievable, short-term goals like running for 10-15 minutes without stopping.
    – Gradually increase the duration or distance as your fitness improves.
  • SMART goals:
    – Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
    – Example: “Run 3 times a week for 20 minutes each, aiming to complete a 5K in two months.”

Create a running schedule

  • Consistency is key:
    – Establish a routine by choosing specific days and times to run.
    – Consistency helps your body adapt and build a sustainable habit.
  • Don’t forget rest days:
    – These are very important. Allow at least one or two rest days per week to prevent overtraining and reduce the risk of injuries.

Warm up and Cool Down

  • Warm-up:
    – Start each session with a 5-10 minute brisk walk or light jog.
    – Include dynamic stretches to prepare your muscles for the run.
  • Cool Down:
    – Finish your run with a 5-10 minute walk and static stretches.
    – Stretching helps improve flexibility and reduces muscle soreness.

Listen to Your Body

  • Pay Attention to Pain:
    – Minor discomfort is normal, but sharp pain may indicate an injury.
    – If you experience persistent pain, consult a healthcare professional.
  • Rest and Recover:
    – Give your body time to recover between runs.
    – Cross-train with activities like swimming or cycling as active recovery to reduce the impact on your joints.

Track Your Progress

  • Use a Running App:
    – Monitoring progress boosts motivation and helps you set new goals.
    – Track your runs using a smartphone app or a GPS watch – for a tailored couch to 5k plan check out Runna.
  • Celebrate Achievements:
    – Celebrate milestones, whether it’s running your first mile or completing a longer distance.

Stay Hydrated and Eat Well

  • Hydration:
    – Drink water throughout the day especially before and after your run.- Listen to your body’s thirst signals.
  • Balanced Nutrition:
    – Fuel your body with a balanced diet, including carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.
    – Consider a light snack before your run if needed.

Join a Running Community

  • Social Support:
    – Connect with fellow runners in your area or online.
    – Joining a community provides motivation, support, and valuable tips.
    2. Local Running Groups:
    – Check for local running clubs or group runs to make running a social activity.

Remember, the key is to enjoy the process and progress at your own pace. Celebrate small wins, stay consistent, and soon you’ll find running becoming an enjoyable and fulfilling part of your routine. 🤍