I started running two years ago. I liked the idea of running but every time I’d ever tried I’d felt demotivated by the fact I couldn’t even run to the end of the road without stopping.

I never ever thought I’d be the type of person to love running, I absolutely hated every moment of it at first. My chest hurt, my legs hurt, I couldn’t catch my breath and I was as purple as a beetroot.

I don’t know when it happened but I can now hand on heart say that I am now a runner.

I run because I want to not because I have to. I love the rhythm of my feet pounding the pavement, I love the head clearing feeling and the lightness I feel in my body as I run, I enjoy thinking about my martial arts training when I run, seeing drills in my mind. I love exploring the area around my home especially on beautiful days.

What gear do I need?

I bought my first pair of runnings shoes for £12 from an Asics outlet and wore a t-shirt and leggings. They didn’t match and fell down a bit as a I ran but that’s the beauty of running. No real equipment needed.

How do I get started?

At first I followed a couch to 5k app on my phone alternating running and walking, I aimed to go out at least twice a week building up to longer runs.

What I later found more motivating was following a route I knew was 5K and aiming to run for as much of it as possible until eventually I could run the whole thing. I still do this now when I’ve not run for a while and need to build back up.

How do I keep going?

Commit to at least two runs a week and get yourself out there. As you run ignore the voice in your head telling you to stop and listen to your body. Push yourself a little more each time and pace yourself. When I’d tried running in the past I’d gone much too fast which is why I could never make it to the end of the road, I was sprinting not jogging.

How do I warm up?

I used to start by walking to warm up, I prefer to start a light jog straight from the door now but I always take it easy and listen to the signals my body gives me. Don’t stretch before you run as your muscles aren’t warm and you could do more damage than good.

How do I run?

This may seem an odd question but when I first set out with my app I didn’t actually know how to run. Aim to land somewhere from the middle of your foot to the ball of your foot instead of on your heel and find a light steady pace. You can always build up to going quicker later.

Keep your posture, head up and pull in your stomach. Most of all don’t forget to breathe, I tend to breathe deeply in through my nose and shorter and quicker out of my mouth.

How do I cool down and stretch out?

I like to end my run with a walk taking deep breaths and when I get home I stretch out with some yoga stretches for runners. I use an app on my phone or a youtube video and it only takes five or ten minutes.

How will running help weight loss?

Running has helped me burn stubborn fat I didn’t feel was shifting before especially from my thighs and stomach. Its improved my cardio fitness giving me the stamina to push myself further in other training such as circuits and martial arts. It has given me confidence and pride in my body that I didn’t have before.

The sense of achievement I felt when I completed that first 5k run was priceless a real throw your arms up in the air and shout feeling. I hope to build up to 10k this year but I don’t always go out for long runs. Sometimes a quick 20 minute route is enough to burn up a sweat, clear my head and get on with my day knowing I’ve exercised.

Running is the main way I keep my body and mind healthy, it lifts my mood, makes my skin glow and makes me ache in a way I enjoy.

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