Hey Cecfit readers! Before diving into the main body of this post, I just wanted to introduce myself to you all. I’m Emma, the 17-year-old blogger behind Fruits and Routes, where you’ll find a guest post from Cecily as well as healthy recipes, race write-ups, training tips and general advice posts. I hope you’ll find something for you there, and if you haven’t already then feel free to check out my feed on Instagram too 😊
Anyway, onto the post; “How to get into running”. You might be reading this and thinking, “But I don’t want to get into running”, or “I hate it, there’s no point trying”. Or maybe “I already love it!” (in which case good for you because you are one of the rare ones 😉). If, like the majority of other people, you can’t stand running – be it the pain, the boredom or something in between – then I’m hoping to change that with this post. Hoping. I didn’t say that I definitely will, because that’s ultimately down to you as an individual. Unfortunately, I can’t work miracles!
I think that the trouble with running is that it is surrounded by a huge stigma that stems from those primary school PE days where everyone was forced to do the bleep test (or equivalent). From then on, running becomes something that is positively dreaded by the vast majority of children, teens, and later, adults. I’m not really sure what the solution is, but I do believe that this mentality can, and should (if possible), be changed.
Childhood-experiences aside, almost everyone can run. It’s free, apart from the gear which you choose how much to spend on, both mentally and physically beneficial for your health and a fantastic way of exploring new territories or making new friends. Some of my closest friends have been made through running, and one of my favourite memories ever is exploring a secluded beach in Sri Lanka with a friend when we went on a spontaneous trail run. Just reminiscing about all this is making me want to run right now, even if it is 9:30pm, dark and raining. Call me crazy but I do love running.
However, it wasn’t always like that. My older brother and Dad were good runners, so it was just assumed that I would catch on. I started out as a decent sprinter when I was about 10, but I never quite made it to the bigger events aka nationals. When I first went for a “long” run, it can’t have been more than 1km. I remember that feeling of the burning stitch, the gasping for air and the wanting to give up. But what I also remember – and this is what motivates me to this day – is that euphoric feeling after getting back from a run. The endorphins released leave you with a firm sense of satisfaction and calmness and is as good a reason as any to lace up those trainers and go.
The thing to remember with running is that it takes time and commitment to make progress, and you have to learn to push through your mental and physical boundaries in order to get some joy out of it. You reach a certain point in your running career where you inevitably still feel the pain, but can just look past it and enjoy the whole experience. It becomes “good” pain, similar to when you’re having a firm massage.
So my top tips would be:
- Get out there and do it; it’s so easy to just say “I’ll start on Monday”, and keep avoiding it. There’s no time like the present! Going with a friend can also make it easier the first time (or every time!)
- Don’t create a strict regime, because then you’ll feel guilty when you “miss” a run.
- Take it every run at a time; see how far you can comfortably push yourself and don’t set too ambitious goals. If you set yourself up for failure, you won’t want to go again.
- Build it up gradually. Please don’t catch the runner’s bug and immediately start running 5 days a week because chances are you WILL get injured, and then you’ll be back to square one.
- Be consistent. Even if it’s just one 5 minute run a week, you will eventually feel like you want to go further. The feeling of completing your longest run yet is honestly priceless, and every milestone is worth celebrating.
I hope this advice helps you, and remember to be kind to yourself and enjoy the process. Almost every runner I know has a love-hate relationship with the sport, so don’t think that you have to be some kind of super-human to get into it. Don’t punish yourself if it takes longer than anticipated to notice any difference because everyone is unique. If you view it as a long-term plan and have a bit of patience, it should fall into place eventually.
Big thank you to Emma for writing this post – I’m sure you all enjoyed! Make sure to check out fruitsandroutes.com for more posts and I’ve written a little post: 3 Ways To Be A Little Bit Healthier on there too! Also here is a link to Emma’s instagram so you can drool over her food pictures! – Cecily x