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Running for Beginners

By WLR Staff, by John Litchfield

As with all cardiovascular or aerobic activities, there are a great many benefits to be gained from running.

Taking regular exercise can give you increased energy levels, reduce stress, and increase the efficiency of your heart and lungs. It can also lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate, minimising the risk of stroke or heart attack.

In addition to this, a half-hour run can earn you between 300 and 700 calories to play with, depending on your size and running speed.

Running is also one of the most convenient physical activities to take up. Aside from a pair of trainers and some comfortable clothes to run in, no additional equipment is needed and as soon as you step out of your front door you have reached your training room.

So how easy is it to get started? Here are 5 running tips to get you off on the right foot.

1. Consult your G.P

If you are new to regular exercise or have a history of ill health, it would be wise to visit your local doctor for a check up to ensure that you are ready to undertake a new exercise routine.

2. Check your equipment

A well fitting good quality pair of trainers is essential to help avoid injury and get the most out of your exercise.

If possible, visit a sports store that specialises in running equipment as many will have staff who are able to observe your running style and advise you on which shoes are most suitable for you.

While it isn’t necessary to fork out for the top of the line pair, often the most expensive part of the shoe is the label, £40-75 should be plenty to get you something more than adequate.

3. Running Advice - Start gradually

It is very important to, if you’ll pardon the overly apt expression, walk before you can run.

Don’t step outside for your first run and start sprinting as this can easily lead to injury.

To start with, especially if you have been relatively inactive for some time, alternate between walking briskly and jogging.

Walk for two minutes at a time and then jog for a minute or two to let your body adjust. Aim to exercise for a total of 10-30 minutes to start with, depending on your fitness level, three to four times a week. Over time, gradually decrease the proportion of your session that you spend walking until you feel comfortable jogging or running constantly.

4. Get others involved

You may find that joining a running club or finding a friend that you can drag along can be an invaluable motivational aid.

The convenience of running can also be its downfall. As no effort needs to be made to get to the gym or training centre and there are no ongoing subscription fees to get your money’s worth from, you may find that the lack of planning needed to get your exercise makes it easier to miss sessions.

Having a designated time when you’ll be meeting your friend or group can give you that little extra kick out of the house.

Mixing your exercise regime with your social life can also stop it from becoming dull or from feeling like a chore.

5. Listen to your body

A little muscle ache or tiredness is to be expected from undertaking any physical activity, however, if you are starting to feel pain in your bones or joints, stop and wait until it subsides.

While it may be frustrating to get into a good routine and then have to stop for a few days or a week to recuperate, this is still far better than the setback of needing an operation.

If you are experiencing discomfort as a result of any form of exercise, visit your doctor to ensure that you are not doing yourself any damage.

If you are finding yourself out of breath to the point where you can’t speak properly, it is possible that you are over working your heart and lungs and you should slow down or stop until you feel more comfortable.

So whether you want to start joining organised runs, improve your health and fitness, earn yourself some extra calories or just want a cheap hobby to do in the evenings, running could be the perfect way to get you to where you want to be.

WLR’s Online Running Club

WLR Members have formed a WLR Online Running Club to help each other with their goals to lose weight and get fitter. To give you added motivation, help, advice and support take a free trial and join the Runners Message Board in Members Forum to meet members of the club.

I qualified as a fitness instructor a few years ago and have had a fair amount of experience in running with a marathon and half marathons under my belt. I know that there are quite a few people out there with just as much, if not more running experience, so we could pool our knowledge and give pointers for newbies.



"Kay that's a fab idea. I would love to join too.

My life was recently taken over by inevitable redundancy and I was comfort eating for England due to the stress. Have now been offered a fab new job and would like a fab new me to match. I'm not clued up about running and would love to start because it would burn lots of calories and tone up my thighs and rear end just nicely. Any advice would be more than welcome." SHUNTY


"I think it’s a good idea. I'm new to running and have scoured the Internet looking for hints and tips. There seems to be loads directed at men but not much for women. It would be good to get motivational help too, sometimes the last thing I want to do is get on a tread mill after the office!" MOZZA


"Just wondering if this board is for those who can run only or those who aspire to run as well! I'd like to start running because it's the kind of exercise you can do anywhere- no excuses. Only problem is I went out round the racecourse (luckily opposite my home) and found out I can only run for two minutes! I did the course running (if you can call it that) and walking when I couldn't go on anymore. Came back and am bright red all over! Is this normal? Or should I quit and try and walk before running and all that...any help much appreciated..." CHEESE


"Hello, don't feel daunted. My 'running' at the moment consists of 2 minutes running, 4 minutes walking. One more time like this and it will change, think it will then be 3 mins running, 3 mins walking. These both consist of 5 bursts each session e.g. 2 run, 4 walk, 2 run, 4 walk - for five times! But posting in is keeping me going and I have a sense of achievement because I never ever thought I would be able to do it, treadmill frightens me to death!

Good luck, give it a go - we'll be seasoned runners like the rest" TEAPOT


"Yep, it's normal! I couldn't run for more than 5 minutes when I started again, so I did some long walks for a few weeks before I even put on my running shoes. Unfortunately, running was really working my body too hard for my fitness. Now (6 months later) I can run 7 miles comfortably, in about 70 minutes. Without stopping.

I'd suggest trying to run slower, to reduce the amount of work you're doing. If it's not possible to run any slower (and I know what that feels like!), then do a few weeks' worth of brisk walking to get your heart and lungs used to working. 45-60 minutes per time is ideal." BEERMATT


"Hi there I'd like to start running but I don't know when or how. I am 26 and 16 stone. Should I lose before I start or start to lose? Am I too heavy too run?" ANNA5479


"No you are not too heavy to run. I started out by walking and gradually started doing adding short spells of running. Now I can run over 3 miles and gradually getting better. Get a good pair shoes and sports bra and take water with you. I take two lots (got a special two bottle belt), one for me and one for the dog (his has got a fold down bowl) who runs with me. The dog loves it and it makes me feel safe because we go out at 5.30 in the morning in the woods / fields and country lanes." MARGARETE


"Running is great, you should definitely give it a go. But make sure you build up slowly. Have you tried power walking? It's a good way to get your body a bit more used to exercise if you haven't been doing much up to now, then when you feel a little fitter, you can introduce some jogging into your walks and build it up from there.

Good luck!" EFD1976

Start a Free Trial Today

Use the WLR Exercise Diary to log any exercise that you do and how vigorously you do it. Try the Exercise Diary free for 24 hours.

Take our FREE trial »


Start a Free Trial Today

Use the WLR Exercise Diary to log any exercise that you do and how vigorously you do it. Try the Exercise Diary free for 24 hours.

Take our FREE trial »

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