In the last 20 years running has become very popular. That might be because of the fact that you don’t need a lot of kit or skills to start or maybe because you can do it pretty much everywhere and anytime. Regardless of the reason running has become the “go-to” sport. Pretty much anyone you ask has tried running at some point. A lot of people train daily not even realizing it. Yes, that sprint to catch the bus also counts. So, if you really think about it all of us do it just on a different scale.
Running is in our blood. Our ancestors were running to get food and to not become food. Sure, wildebeests are faster but humans have more endurance and after a 2-hour chase the prey was shagged out and didn’t stand a chance of survival. This is how human beings were hunting before the creation of more complex tools. But running was crucial in other areas of human history. For example, ancient Egyptians considered running as an indication of vitality and interestingly of usefulness to the country. Greek messengers could run as fast as 10km/h and cover a distance of 75-90km daily.
My adventure with running started about 3 years ago. I was a competitive swimmer at that time when one day my dad took me on a run and I fell in love with yet another endurance sport. I left my swimming club in high school because of time management problems and switched to running daily – I loved the fact that I could do it anytime and not depend on anyone. It was one of my best decisions.
I love the feeling of freedom, the wind caressing my face, hair bouncing behind me. Free to go anywhere my feet take me. Suddenly the world appeared to be so much smaller – you see a road sign that says “20km to XYZ” and you think “I could run that!”.
But enough of the reasons why I love it because I can write about that forever. Since I think I’ve sold you on running, now I’m going to give you some helpful tips on how to start.
1. Start slow
“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry aboutCaballo Blanco in “Born to Run”
the last one—you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”
Most of my friends who start running, expect to run like Eliud Kipchoge right from the beginning. But you have to ease into it. Forget about hitting a certain time frame and start with 3K at a comfortable pace and practice that for a while. Then try a 5K. If you’re sore take a break. Focus on running longer and more often than on running faster. Like the legend, Caballo Blanco said the speed will one day come all by its self. Just get started and most importantly be consistent.
2. Forget about the gear
You don’t need anything to run. As long as you have a pair of moving legs – you’re good to go. No need for special socks, t-shirts or leggings. The ones you already have are just fine. Don’t focus on pronation and getting the most expensive shoes with the biggest cushioning and energy return because you’d be buying into a sales pitch. Go to your local sports store and get a shoe that’s flexible and comfortable (and not too expensive).
Pro tip: A running shoe should be half-size to a full size bigger than your normal shoe size.
3. Enjoy it
The best runers are those who enjoy running in its purest form. It’s just them, the road, and endless possibilities. But a lot of people don’t like it as they’re starting out. I’d recommend finding a podcast that you like to listen to while you run. My favorite podcast is released every Tuesday and I’m actually much more motivated for my Tuesday runs as against to others. If you don’t like podcasts then maybe create a playlist that would make you excited for miles ahead or find a running buddy to chat and support each other. Also if you want to make your runs more fun make them about exploring new places either when you’re traveling or just getting to know your neighborhood.
4. Create a motivating environmet
Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you to keep going. Follow athletes and runners on Instagram, read books about running (I’d recommend “Born to Run” by Christopher McDowell), and make friends who run. Of course, you don’t need any of those things to start but an environment like this makes it so much more easy and exciting.
5. Set goals
As I was quitting competitive swimming at the time when I started running it was important for me to make it stress-free. But if you want to fasten your progress it might be good for you to set goals. For example to run 10km two months from now or to get your average pace down by 30 seconds. A great goal to motivate you and engage in the running community is to sign up for a race. You’ll have a clear target and purpose for your training.
6. Don’t get discouraged
Running can be painful. You will definitely get blisters and excoriations, your muscles will hurt, you’ll fall and there is a big chance that you’ll get injured. But that is only a small part of running. It is a great sport to calm your mind, strengthen your muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular fitness and so much more. Sure, there are going to be bad runs – everyone has them – but the rough times only make you a stronger, faster, and a more experienced runner.
All humans have the genes and blood of a runner. If you just start your instincts and body will take care of the rest as they are hereditary from our running ancestors. Deep down you already know everything there is to know about running so just don’t think too much and get out on the street or trail and get off the mark.