Beginner’s Guide to Running: The First Run

The first run is always the hardest.

I don’t actually know how much I believe this, but I will say that it is going to be hard. You can’t go from couch potato to running 5km without a little difficulty!

If you’re relatively fit, then running may feel a little easier. If you’re like me when I started (hadn’t done a drop of exercise in god knows how long), then it’ll be challenging.

There are a few things to remember, I think these are the most important:

⁃ Warm up – I’m notorious for going straight out on my runs, but a few minutes of walking and some high knees are a good place to begin to keep you feeling comfortable.

⁃ Start slow, stay steady. It’s a marathon (5k), not a sprint.

⁃ Alternate between running and walking (Couch25k).

⁃ Cool down and stretch – this is as important as your pre-run warm up, especially if you’re going to run regularly.

I kind of cast my mind back to my first run with nostalgia. It’s been a long time (and I’ve come a long way) since then, but what stays with me most is that you never stop learning.

It’s hard to convince yourself at first, but the minute you take a step out and go for a run, you are a runner. Whether you’ve been doing it for 30 years or 30 seconds, that is who you are.

Time

I’ve often plagued myself with the pressures of time on my runs. Of course I want to be fast, everyone wants to be “fast”, but it’s very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other runners. I still do it now, as much as I know I shouldn’t.

What we should be doing, rather than comparing ourselves to other runners and how fast they’re going, is comparing ourselves to our own previous runs. When I ran my first 5km from start to finish, it took me 48 minutes. Now, my PB is 31:39. That didn’t happen overnight – and I’m still desperately trying to improve (especially on those longer distances).

Running is, ultimately, about keeping fit and doing it for yourself.

Good luck with your first run! 🏃🏻‍♀️

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