I started running about eight months ago and I love it. I didn’t do much research before I started but I have learnt some things along the way, so these are my dos and don’ts for all of you out there who would like to do something more physical this year.
DO have a goal in mind. This doesn’t have to be the marathon, or a half or even a race of any kind. It can just be to the lamppost over there….the post box….five minutes….ten minutes…a mile. For me having a goal works so much better than not having a goal. And once you reach that you can change it. That’s another important thing about this, be flexible with your goals. You could achieve it faster than expected or slower. Either way be flexible enough so that it doesn’t matter.
DON’T treat your first run (or even first few runs) as make or break situations. Ease your body into it and try to enjoy it. The first few minutes (for me the first 10) are always the hardest; once you get past them it is much easier to make it to that tree in the distance over there or that car. And the feeling after a run is amazing.
DO dress the part. This is what I really love about running: the fashion. Sports clothes are a massive business and it doesn’t surprise me when you consider how lovely and functional they are.
DON’T however, spend a fortune on clothes. There are high street stores out there which have amazing collections which so not break the bank. So that if you find that running isn’t for you, you at least haven’t spent a fortune on clothes you will never wear again.
DO buy a good pair of trainers. Not ones which cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds, but ones which are comfortable and don’t murder your feet. I also advise investing in a good pair of blister prevention socks – this is probably the most useful thing I have ever bought.
DON’T get embarrassed about the amount of lycra sticking to your body. This was really hard for me. I never used to wear leggings and running leggings are tight and form-fitting. I used to hate wearing them doing all that I could to draw attention away from them and my over-exposed bottom (dark coloured leggings, long tops) and it took me a while to get out of the habit. But I did and you will too. After a handful of runs I didn’t care any more. And now the brighter the better. It’s also given me the confidence to wear fashion leggings.
However, no matter how comfortable you become with your body people (men more often than not) will stare and they will make lewd comments. DO shout back. To the gentleman who told me to pick my knees up as I ran I shouted, ‘pick your f****** knees up’ – he was strolling along. To the gentlemen who make kissy faces or wolf whistle or honk their horns I shout, ‘f*** you, you c***’. DON’T be scared to confront them. You are running, not asking for opinions and when unwarranted opinions about you are given, you have every right to do something about it.
DO invest in a running app for your smart phone. There are lots of excellent free ones out there and it is always fun to see your progress run after run. Be warned though, some apps have terrible GPS capabilities so the same run for me was 5 miles on one day and nearly 7 on the next.
DON’T spend any money on the latest wrist band or watch. At least not when you start. The free apps do the job really well and if you decide to run marathons then invest in one.
DO push yourself but at the same time DO enjoy your rest days, because they are glorious.
So this my list. What have I forgotten? What do you all swear by? Let me know in the comments.
All the images on this page are from Stella McCartney’s Adidas range. As far as sport’s brand go it is my favourite and my running splurge.
* I have checked it out and Dos and Don’ts can be Do’s and Don’ts and Do’s and Don’t’s. No one seems to know which is the right one so I have used the one with the least apostrophes.