• Helen Phillips

7 Strategies for New Runners Success


It was back in September 2012 when I finally got my act together and changed my life for good. After loading up the pounds and becoming a lard arse couch potato I set myself the goal of running Reading Half Marathon in March 2013.

I had to start to run, from scratch, as well as lose the blubber that was holding me down. Slowly but surely I could run for 5 minutes, then 10 ... and with sensible eating my weight started to drop.

I made it! Reading Half was a horrible day with torrential rain.

At mile 10 I had a 'kiddy strop' and had to give myself a good talking to to get going again.

But I finished drenched, tired and sore ... but ecstatic that I had completed my first 'back to fitness' running goal, got home and entered another race 2 weeks later!

I now run marathons, but back in 2012 I could barely jog for 5 minutes. We all have to start somewhere!

So what are your plans for the year ahead? If they're to get fitter and lose weight, then running and tuning up your diet are great options to kick start your goals.

Not sure what to do? My 7 Strategies for New Runners Success will show you the way!

So how do you start?

Check out the NHS C25K (that's couch to 5k) programme. Thousands of newbie runners have used it to successfully get started. Or you could join your local running club. Mine has a super friendly group 'couchies' programme that's run twice a year, with graduation at a local Parkrun. Or you could go it alone and do your own thing.

Here are my newbie runner tips to get you started. Good luck! I'll be cheering you on!

1. Start with Run (Jog) : Walk

The C25K plan, and how I started running, gets you started with a run then walk strategy. How about starting off running / jogging for 1 minute, then walking for 1 minute, for a total of 20 minutes. Then each time you go out, increase the length of time of the run / jog leg, still taking walking for 1 minute rest breaks and running for 20 minutes. Then once you can run for 5 minutes, increase your total run-walk time to 25 minutes, and when you're up to 10 minutes of continuous running / jogging increase to 30 minutes and beyond.

2. Warm up First

Before you start your running, you should warm up, so your body and muscles are ready for the workout ahead.

The best warm up for you is to walk briskly for 5 - 10 minutes to raise your heat rate, get blood pumping around your body and your muscles warm. Once your heat rate is raised, you can pick up the pace and start your first running segment.

3. Progress at YOUR own Pace

This is really important. Lots of programmes will have your running for 5 minutes, before a break, at the outset. But not everyone new to running can do this! If 1 minute of jogging is your max, then so be it, but make sure you are pushing yourself in that minute. If you're not used to exercise it can feel uncomfortable at first. But your body will get used to it and you'll get used to the sensations of running.

Don't be afraid to progress at your own pace, or if you're following the C25k plan redoing a week if it's getting too tough ... just don't give up!

If 20 minutes is too long, you're done in after 10, finish off the 20 with brisk walking. Or if you're ok with 20, then go out for 30. Everyone is at a different beginners level. Just make sure you're listening to your body, challenging yourself but working within your comfort zone.

4. Get Your Breathing Right

Breathing is important for running, you need oxygen to burn fuel!

If you're finding breathing a struggle, relax and it'll come. When you start running you should be running at a pace where you're not completely out of breath. If you are (out of breath) SLOW DOWN to a pace where breathing is good, even if that pace if barely above a fast walk. Keep at it and your body will become fitter, your heart and lungs stronger and used to taking in more oxygen and pumping it around your body.

Always work at your own pace, at a pace that feels comfortable to you.

5. Cooling Down

You should always finish your running with a good 5 - 10 minutes brisk walking to cool down. This brings your heart rate down and allows your body to take waste products away from your muscles. Once you're cooled down, finish off with a few leg stretches such as a quad stretch, hamstring stretch, calves stretch and hip flexors stretch.

Check out videos on Youtube for how to do these correctly.

6. Eating and Drinking

Once you've finished your run make sure you drink plenty of water to replenish fluids that will have been lost through sweat.

Increasing the amount you exercise can increase your appetite. If you've started running to lose weight make sure you don't fill up on high calorie foods beforehand or to reward yourself for a job well done! Instead snack on fruit and veg. Lots of runners love bananas for a pre or post run snack.

7. Have a goal

After a few weeks lots of people give up their new exercise habit. It can feel a bind to keep training going, they're finding it super tough or finding life keeps getting in the way. If you're the type of person who gets easily sidetracked, why don't you set yourself a running goal.

How about entering a 5k race or plan to run a Parkrun. Parkruns are brilliant, friendly and with no pressure to achieve a certain time. If you're worried about coming last, don't be! Parkruns have a back marker who will run with you and encourage you all the way around. So just run (or run-walk) at your own pace and achieve an amazing goal! The runs are timed, so each week you can go back to challenge your previous best (called a PB) ... and then, my friend, you are most definitely a runner!

If you're interested in learning more tips and strategies for how to get into running, as a complete beginner, sign up for my FREE The Ultimate New to Running Guide HERE

Welcome to the Running Family!

Helen x