How to start running

Beginning running is simple, fantastically healthy and can be adapted to fit any lifestyle, says Paul Larkins. Here are his top tips for starting running

Paul Larkins explains how to start running

What you need to start running

The good news is you probably have everything you need right now. A pair of training shoes, a t-shirt and some leggings or shorts will do the job. Shoes are obviously the key thing in all of this, but such is the quality of what’s on offer today, almost anything you choose or have already will be more than capable of providing the cushioning and support you need. Once you get into running, you may want to invest in something a specialist running store recommends, but for now, you’re ready to go!


Make time to run

The beauty of running is that it’s amazingly versatile; some will want to go before work, some after or maybe during lunch. All we would say at 220 is allocate a slot three times a week for half an hour of running and/or walking and stick to it as much as possible. It’s that simple. Try to do it three times a week and stick with it for at least six weeks. By then you’ll start to see some real improvements.

How much should I run?

Again, this is entirely up to you. Maybe it’s one minute, maybe it’s five, or maybe for the lucky few it’s 10 miles straightaway. However, for most of us, we’d recommend plotting in something in between and using this formula: walk the same amount of time you run.

What muscles do you use when running? 

By that we mean, walk for example, 2min, run 2min, walk 2min, run 2min and so on. And don’t think that’s cheating… plenty have used exactly that formula to clock inside 3hours for the marathon (yours truly included, run 20min, walk 3min). Planned walks are the key. Don’t run yourself to exhaustion and then walk – schedule them in and stick to it. And then, after a few weeks, of three times a week, simply lengthen the distance of the run and shorten the walk. It’s simple, but it works!

How do I improve at running?

We’ve become huge fans of the fitness tracker watches and apps that record how many strides you’ve taken in a day. It used to be coaches would recommend keeping a training diary, which you could then see how you’re progressing. These inexpensive pieces of kit do exactly that. Goal setting is hugely motivational and very quickly you find yourself setting and beating targets you’ve set yourself such as 10,000 steps a day. Be warned: they are addictive and before you know it, you’ll be running regularly.

Is there a pace I should run at?

Actually there is; slowly! The best running is done at a speed where you can happily chat to whoever you are with (there’s a tip for you: share the workload and find someone to run with). If you can settle into that rhythm – with walking or without – you’ve pretty much found the ideal speed for increasing your ability to run further. Heart rate monitors and other expensive bits of kit will also find that speed for you, but it’ll be exactly the pace you’ve found yourself by chatting to your friend – easy, talking speed is the best pace to run at.

How can I run quicker?

Running is all about improving and getting faster. Initially that mean seem tough but there is a simple way to get things moving along nicely. After about five or six weeks simply running, introduce a workout where once a week you finish your run and then do five or six Usain Bolt-type easy efforts over about 25 seconds or so with a stroll back. Think about moving effortlessly and relaxed rather than be an Olympic sprinter and you’ll fly!


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