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Before you run, here's eight important steps to keep in mind

It’s not quite as simple as one foot in front of the other but it’s not far off.

ALL RUNNING PROGRAMMES for beginners are more or less the same; taking you from walking, which almost anyone can do, to running which just takes a little bit more determination.

All you really need is a pair of running shoes (and chances are you might already have them) but do check for obvious signs of wear and don’t run in shoes designed specifically for other sports or activities.

The key to success is consistency and patience and from my observations I think that it Is those who follow a plan without trying to skip ahead are most likely to succeed.

Starting Out:

  • Where to begin?  Probably right outside your front door is the best starting point as you’re never too far from home if you feel the need to stop.
  • Walk before you can run.  Don’t be overly ambitious when starting out but instead set yourself a goal and be realistic with your target.  Maybe aim for an event that’s a realistic time away to allow a safe journey to fitness but it’s not too far that you lose interest.  Continuous uninterrupted steady walking will prepare your body for running in a much safer way than intermittent sprinting to exhaustion.
  • Time not distance.  Forget about covering miles as they can just seem too long when starting out but instead think about improving your fitness by minutes running rather than miles covered.
  • Don’t judge your ability based on your first session or week of training but instead use it as something to look back on a reminder of how far you’ve come.
  •  Start slow and keep it slow as it’s speed that will stop you in your tracks and take away the enjoyment.  Patience will be rewarded and faster running will happen as your legs get stronger.
  • Try fitting the exercise sessions around your life rather than trying to fit your life around the exercise and you’ll find that this will make it less stressful and more enjoyable and that in turn will mean you might possibly find more time than you think you had.
  • Be self sufficient but do involve others.  What I mean by that is you shouldn’t be dependent on others to get ‘your’ work done.  Plan your schedule around ‘you’ but accept the company of a friend / training partner when it’s offered but be prepared to train on your own and plan your training around that.
  • Be body conscious and pay attention to any feelings of pain or discomfort.  Think of it as training and not straining and don’t ignore pain as stopping in time can prevent a niggle from turning into something more serious.  As a rule I’d say stay below the threshold of pain.

It’s advisable to consult with your doctor before starting on any new exercise routine if starting from a base of zero fitness and years of inactivity.

John O’Regan is a renowned adventure runner and the Life Style Sports Run in the Dark’s expert coach. Follow him on Twitter: @johnoregan777. He is available an online Q&A every Monday – starting September 22 – from 8-9pm on the event’s Facebook Page to answer training related questions.

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John O'Regan

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