Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

So you want to be a runner?

So you want to be a runner do you? The sun has started shining and you want to get that bikini body ready or you watched the London marathon and felt inspired? Well let me warn you right now, once you start you won’t stop. Once you experience the endorphin high of a good run you’ll be longing for the next opportunity to slip on those running shoes and head out.

Still with me? Then read on.

A few people have asked me recently how to start running so  thought I’d share my top tips for getting those legs moving. Nothing revolutionary or new here but it can be a daunting thing to begin an exercise regime for the first time so hopefully this might just help you take the plunge.

  1. Just do it; if you want to be a runner then put on some trainers and go for a run. Seriously. Forget needing to buy all the gear etc, if you go out and run you are a runner. That truly is the great thing about running, it’s such a simple thing. You pop on your trainers and away you go. Of course some comfortable clothing and shoes will help things but don’t let that be an excuse for not starting.
  2. Shiny new trail shoesInvest in some good trainers; yes you can run in any shoes, barefoot even, but if you want to give yourself the best chance of actually enjoying and sticking with running then a good pair of trainers will really help. Find your local running shop and spend some time getting advice and trying a few pairs on. Most likely you’ll be spending at least £60 so make sure you’re serious about sticking with it.
  3. Use the couch to 5k program; if you’re just starting out this is a great way to learn how to build up your running. It’s a program offered by the NHS in the form of free podcasts that in 9 weeks will get anyone running 5k. It means you haven’t got to think about how far to run etc and perhaps more importantly ensures you don’t do too much too soon. You can find all the details here.
  4. Ben running in snowDo a Park run; the idea of this is very simple, ever Saturday in parks up and down the country there are 5k runs. There is no entry fee, you just turn up and run. It’s not a race but it does give you motivation every week to get out for a run and challenge yourself. It also gives you a nice record of how your fitness improves and a chance to meet other local runners. There are now thousands of them being organised so unless you live in the middle of nowhere there is probably one down the road. The Parkrun website has all the details
  5. Enter a race; there is nothing quite like the looming presence of a race approaching to keep you motivated with running. I know for me having a race is often the difference between getting out for a run or not. Getting up every morning to run has been tough in the cold mornings we’ve had so far, but knowing I have my race in September to aim for has meant that I’ve been braving the weather. Oh and tell lots of people that you’ve entered the race, that added threat of embarrassment is also a great motivator! If you want to find a race then the imaginatively named Find a Race website is as good a place to start or find your local running club who may stage their own races.

There you have it, would love to know if anyone has any other tips that helped them. I’d also love to hear about the races you’ve entered, always looking for inspiration.


  1. Wholeheartedly agree that entering a race is the best way to stick at it. That said I’m nowhere near the league of your crazy September challenge!

    I do have a 10k coming up in a little over 4 weeks though, at which I’m raising money for the MS Society – Just Giving page is here:

    Hope you don’t mind the cheap plug! 🙂

  2. Best motivator I found when I started was music. Get the right music to run to and you feel you could just run forever. You also start challenging yourself – just run until the end of the song. Run until the next guitar solo. Run for 2 songs without stopping… And on you go. Being a techie I also found the assorted tracking apps on my phone endlessly fascinating to play with – I’m using Endomondo at the moment – GPS tracking of your routes, mile by mile breakdown, what song you were listening to where… Brilliant.

    Good luck for September! We’ve a half-marathon up here in June – the Simmer Dim, it’s called – that you’d be more than welcome to enter.

    • I like that approach of running for 2/3/4 songs etc.
      Although I have to say if I do run in headphones (which is rare) I tend to listen to running podcasts instead.

  3. I can’t wait to start running again. I really miss that “great I’m going for a run!…off I go!…Eurghh I’m knackered already…I’m going to stop…no I’m not, this is getting better…wheeeee!” feeling. Just not practical at the moment until Little Man drops some feeds *looks down at chest*. Anyhoo, agree with John on the music front – a good playlist is essential – and I used the run/walk method to get me started. I’ll be doing that again to build up my stamina, otherwise it’s too easy to get demoralised. Great post Mr.

  4. Great tips – thanks for tweeting me this link.
    I need new trainers, that’s for sure! I’m also going to build up slowly and I’m definitely in favour of using music to “distract” me whilst training.

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