10 Easy ways to start Running

1. Just start running – As in put your trainers on this very minute and start running…well go on what are you waiting for? I dare you…no in fact I double dare you… GO NOW… grab your keys, leave the house and go for a run. The likelihood of this being enough to get you out there, or for you to enjoy your first run are pretty slim. But if you are serious about taking up running then this is the simplest way to start… but it is quite daunting.

2. Run in an Organised Race – This is how I started, (and why I’m called Fatty) and I can tell you it’s not particularly recommended… granted it did get me running regularly in the longer term but talk about a shock to the system. I did no training and my body did not know what had hit it. It was however the wake up call I needed, but if you do take this approach make sure you sign up to the race and give yourself at least 6 weeks to get ready and start with something achievable like a 1 mile fun run and at most a 5K. Having something fixed in your diary is a great motivator… but only do this if you have the determination to see it through. Did You Know… Race for Life has had over 6 million participants since its launch in 1994 and I bet a lot of those were first time runners.

3. Take part in parkrun – parkrun is a weekly 5K timed run taking place in parks all over the UK and now in many other countries too. Basically you sign up on the parkrun website where you can download and print out your own personalized barcode which gets scanned at the end of each run, you then get your timed results sent to you a few hours after your run and you can see your improvements week on week. The great thing about parkrun is its FREE and also the mix of experienced runners and newcomers, people of all shapes and sizes too means they are incredibly friendly. Think you are too slow? There is no such thing, I know on many courses there are people who walk round (although not all) I have times ranging from 48 minutes to my PB of 32…I’m currently at around the 35 minute mark but trying desperately to get back to my peak. Did you know… parkrun has over 190,000 participants with hundreds of weekly newcomers and new venues popping up regularly too…you can even set up your own one if there isn’t one near you!!

Ok so maybe this all sounds a little too drastic…”5K…I can barely run for 5 seconds!!!” Stick with me, here are a few other ideas…

4. Couch to 5K – I have never gone down this route (just cos I’m a bit illogical mostly) but many overweight people (and just newcomers to running generally) take this route. You can download C25K programmes on your smart phones and find printable programmes online too (just do a google search), even the NHS has one. The basic premise is over a series of weeks the programme will take you through a series of short walk/run sessions gently shifting the balance until you run more than you walk, and to the point where you should be able to cover 5K in distance. Did you know… that regular running can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control?

But all of this involves running in public, in front of people. Is there not a way I can build in confidence first?

5. Buy a Treadmill – Or join a gym to use the treadmill. Hmmm??? The jury is still out on this for me. I have used a treadmill in the past… hey I even have one shoved behind my front room door. I bought it 3 years ago and have used it a grand old total of 11 times. I understand the thought process behind having a treadmill at home, but unless you have a garage or a room which is a dedicated work out room it is unlikely that you will ever use it. If you have one already then check this out. But even if you have a gym membership and access to a treadmill, there is still no comparison to the feeling you get from running outside, and you will have to make that transition at some point if you are serious about being a proper runner. Did you know…Treadmills were invented around 1875 and were first used for mobile power, built in various sizes to accommodate dogs, sheep and horses, the smaller versions were used for smaller chores like churning butter (see thats where it all went wrong)

6. Do the Bleep Test – Remember this from school?? If you are scared of big distances and can only manage short bursts, this might be the type of session best suited to you. Developed in 1983 the test involves running continuously between two points 20m apart synchronized with a pre-recorded beep played via audio CD or MP3 download, you can also get apps for your smartphone these days. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep reduces, forcing you to increase your speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording. The recording is typically structured into 21 ‘levels’, each of which lasts around 62 seconds. This is a good way of assessing your fitness, but its bloody hard work. I have an underground car park where I live which is perfect for this kind of undercover running!! Did you know… English Football star David Beckham and American Cycling Legend,Lance Armstrong are two of the very few people who can complete the beep test.

7. Run a Loop – To make things as simple as possible why not create a 3 mile loop from your very own front door and back. No time wasted getting to your running route, no chance of getting lost, all you have to do is leave your house. The aim is to try and improve your time each time you run that very same loop. This is a suggestion from the book Run Fat Bitch Run, which also suggests standing in front of your mirror naked whilst shouting horrible things at yourself…I wouldn’t go that far. I have a looped route like this called my Pretty Shitty City route, it literally takes me 15-18 minutes to do. I don’t do it that often cos I do get bored of the same routes, but I know it’s there if I need it. Did you know…Ruth Fields writer of the Run Fat Bitch Run book has never actually been seriously fat…just a little overweight, is it just me that finds her a little unqualified therefore to write her offensively titled book??

8. Buy a pedometer – So technically speaking this is more a walking task, but the recommendation for good health is to walk 10,000 steps per day. By using a pedometer you can measure just how inactive you are, you can then set yourself the task of completing the steps each day. Once you have done that for a while you will have got into the habit of pushing yourself beyond your normal levels of activity…then the next step is moving your power-walking up to a run. I use a pedometer called a FitBug which sets me weekly targets which I try to beat and it has really helped me to be more active even on my non running days. Did you know… you burn roughly the same amount of calories across a 1 mile distance if you are running or walking, this is simply because walking takes longer… but by running it you can fit more exercise into your day and you will see greater fitness improvements.

9. Play games with your kids – I was thinking about the occasions when non running fat people actually run…and I came to the conclusion that it normally involved 3 factors… being late, being scared or having kids to run around after. Your kids are the people most likely to appreciate you being able to run and least likely to laugh at you, and whilst you are running around with your kids I dare any other soul to laugh or poke fun at you. So playing a game with your children is actually a safe environment to build confidence. So lets think about some suitable games… relay races, run outs, british bulldog, rounders, off ground touch, traffic lights… find your inner child again. An hour of post school running games in the park will work a treat. If you don;t have kids borrow someone elses, but remember to ask first!! Did you know…in the UK only a third of boys and a quarter of girls meet the recommendation for at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day and latest statistics also show that almost 30 per cent of adults are active for less than 30 minutes per week – prompting a call for everyone to get up and get active.

And finally, if you still feel like you can’t quite summon up the confidence to actually start running

10. Lose some weight first – Running is tough, not just physically but psychologically too so its no wonder overweight people tend to dismiss it as a way of getting fit. Why not try and lose some weight first through a programme of less weight bearing forms of exercise like swimming, cycling or cross-training. This would serve 3 purposes. Firstly you would get into the habit of doing some formal exercise, secondly you will lose some weight which will no doubt make the running easier, but most importantly you will gain confidence in your ability to stick to something. Did you know…that losing as little as 5% of your bodyweight could lower your body’s cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar control, reducing aches and pains, improve mobility, improve breathing, help you sleep better, help prevent angina and reduce the likelihood of certain cancers. So what you waiting for?

As you can see there are plenty of ways to get into running when you are overweight, but basically you have to start somewhere, and starting involves increasing your physical exercise significantly. Starting is most definitely the hardest bit. If you want to be a runner then ultimately you will have to run at some point, the question is how keen are you to do that today?


If you need more of an incentive why not download my ebook “10K”? Lots of beginners think it is impossible to aim too high straight off, but that is exactly what I did. 10K is a simple guidebook which shows you 10 ways to train for your first 10K in ten weeks from today. It is cheap as chickpeas too!! Check it out here

7 Responses to “10 Easy ways to start Running”
  1. Letticia says:

    Truly Amazing Julie! I Love It x

  2. Kim says:

    well fate has brought us together………….I have just started running …really running this week………! oh yeah and I am fat!

  3. reepress says:

    I’m beyond fat and diabetic. I’m 28 and sick of feeling like a slob all the time. Recently just left an abusive relationship so I’m taking my life back! This site is wonderful because it made me laugh and it took the fear away… Thanks so much!

  4. Catherine says:

    I love this site. You are giving hope to the desperately-in-need. I wish it wasn’t so scary to just go outside and have a go. I have tried the treadmill and fell flat on my face as soon as I hit 7kph. I am going back again today to try and show it who’s boss >.<

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