Second only to the amazement that I can actually force my body to run 21.1 kilometres without perishing was my shock to receive tens of messages from friends and total strangers telling me I’ve inspired them to become more active. I’m not entirely sure I deserve the honour, but I am so humbled by the messages, so thank you to all who’ve shared kind words of encouragement and confided in me.
The truth is I had a hard time labelling myself “a runner” for a long time. I could barely complete 5km without stopping to walk a minute or two, so I really considered myself more a human who sometimes ran. As time went on, though, I started to crave the high I get while running, and the next thing I knew… I was A Runner.
Since some of you felt I was worthy of doling out some advice, I’ll leave it below to take (or leave) as you please.
If you want to run, run.
Forget about distance. Forget about time. Forget about whatever it is that’s holding you back and just start. I promise: you won’t be sorry.
Celebrate every single mile.
Every distance is a milestone – a victory. And victories should be celebrated. Whether you’ve completed a 5km or an Ultra Marathon, achieving your goal is an amazing accomplishment and you deserve to celebrate and be celebrated. If you want help with this, let me know: I’ll cheer you on all day long.
Listen to your body.
Look, no training plan or coach in the world can tell you more than your own body when it comes to what’s working, what’s not, and what you need. Not sure? Visit a doctor, physiotherapist, or sports medicine doctor. I do all the time. (You only have your original body parts once, you know.)
Nobody starts their running career a marathoner, and failure is part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up for taking walk breaks (we all do) or missing a couple of runs. Instead, accept it and lace up. (Even if it takes a few tries.)
Connect with your local running community.
The best thing about running is meeting other runners. Seriously! Connecting with your local running community will help you meet like-minded individuals, veteran runners, and tonnes of great people to chat with, run with, and – most importantly – you will cheer one another on!
Get thee fitted for proper shoes.
Please don’t skip this part – well-fitting, supportive shoes will mean happy knees and hips, and better runs. If you wear orthopaedic supports, be sure to speak to your specialist about the best options for you.
If running ever loses its magic for me, I’ll stop – and you should, too. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. That’s not to say you won’t hate a hill or drag your butt out of bed for an early morning run, but if you’re consistently unhappy while running… just don’t. And if you are, just do!
And now, I want to know: If you’re a runner, what’s YOUR best tip for a first-time runner?