Top Five Reasons I Run:
- Because for decades I thought I couldn't, and I am thrawn that way and needed to prove myself wrong
- Because I want and need to exercise regularly and running can be squished into my schedule somewhere. Most of the time.
- Because my seven (soon to be eight) year old comes running with me and that is just beyond brilliant. Soon he won't even be willing to be seen in public with me at all, never mind lumbering around in lycra
- Because I get a kick out of knowing what my 40 year old body can achieve. I secretly find myself on car or taxi journeys thinking "I could run this!" and silently congratulating myself.
- Because on those occasions when you have a good run, and it all clicks into place, and the sun is shining (or the rain is, at least, not horizontal) and you are running well, and your mind settles into a pleasant idle, it is a phenomenal feeling.
Hmm, I still consider myself a beginner so these are going to be beginner-type lessons -
- Start slowly. Unbelievably slowly. When you first start to run you nearly always set out too fast and end up leaning against a fence, gasping for breath and convinced your lungs are about to pop out of your chest and throttle a passer-by. I was once overtaken when out running by a paperboy PUSHING HIS BIKE! And I still run pretty slowly but I can now run slowly for a long time.
- I second what Stephanie said about breathing - work on being able to breathe well when running. I found that running with child in tow helped because I had to be able to join in with his constant chat and that meant having to be able to speak. Somehow that forced me to regulate my breathing.
- Good shoes, good shoes, good shoes. If at all possible, go to a running shop where they will look at how you run (you will feel a prune while they do this the first time as you lope up and down the shop) and then take time to find you shoes that suit your gait. I tried on about 12 pairs before getting my first running shoes, gradually trying stiffer and stiffer shoes because I over pronate badly. Apparently. And the first time I ran in them was the first time my knees didn't complain about the exercise. Worth every penny.
- Run outside, in the open air. People aren't looking at you as much as you think they are, and even if they are, they are generally not laughing, honestly. Unless they are teenagers, but that's teenagers and if they weren't laughing at your running, they would probably be laughing at your shoes or your hair so, meh. iPods or similar are helpful here because earphones mean you can't hear them anyway
- Run a race. It doesn't have to be a competitive personal-best-or-die type race. Just an organised get together of runners. The Race for Life races are good if you are female because they are short-ish and all abilities compete - some people even walk them. My goal for my first RFL was not to finish behind anyone wearing flip-flops or pushing a pram. The enjoyment of running with lots of other people is immense and the incentive it gives you to get out and train a bit is excellent too.