1. Stop doubting yourself. Not everyone is a natural runner so just start small if you need to. I could barely run 1km when I first started running. Self doubt is what took me so long to start running in the first place.
2. Get a running buddy if you can. Someone to force you out when you can’t be bothered. Someone to push you when you feel like walking. Someone to keep you company. I would have given up without mine long before reaching 10km.
3. Set yourself goals. What do you want to achieve and by when? Are you going for distance, time or calories? Quantify it so you can compete with yourself and track your progress. Maybe even have a reward for reaching big milestones. For me, booking a half-marathon gave me something to aim for and, more importantly, a deadline. To give you an idea of time, it took me about two months to go from couch to 10km.
4. Keep building. There is no point running the same distance at the same pace every run. Experiment with what works for you – each week I would try to add another km to my run.
5. Run regularly. You will struggle to see an improvement in fitness or stamina if you are only running once a month. Find a routine that fits around your schedule and stick to it. I started running two or three times a week but dropped down slightly when I started hitting bigger distances.
6. Find a good running route. Things you may want to consider are if there are any inclines or declines, the views along the way and other foot traffic. Try a circular route – running back on yourself can be harder mentally. Mix up your route every now and then to keep it fun. I’d also recommend running on concrete over grass.
7. Nutrition is important. A lot of people start running to lose weight but you still need to eat well before a run.
8. Running is a great excuse for a new wardrobe. It is all about making the running as comfortable as possible so invest in some proper running shoes and clothing. Think about a headband if you have long hair and a running belt for your phone or music.
9. Mind over matter. Undoubtedly your body will ache but the biggest battle is in your head. Pain is temporary but quitting is permanent. I actually find a run gets easier as you go. Use distance/time milestones or landmarks along your route to break it up in your head. Also, try not to stop running (unless you are about to collapse!) as getting going again is difficult.