Here’s how to form a running habit and actually stick to (and enjoy) it…
There’s something inherently enviable and unattainable about becoming ‘a runner’.
Whether it’s the notion that runners rise with the lark and do 10 laps of the park without breaking a sweat, or being able to swap the walls of the gym for a more scenic backdrop.
Running shouldn’t be elitist though, and there are ways of falling in love with it, even if you’ve tried and failed before.
Here are five tips on how to get into running and stick with it…
1. Walk before you can run
One surefire way to dampen your relationship with running before even starting is to go from 0 to 100.
So, instead of attempting a 10k sprint on your first day, it’s a good idea to build up your fitness and ease yourself into cardio with regular walks.
Try walking briskly for 10 minutes a day (that’s roughly 3mph, or as the NHS puts it, fast enough that you can still talk but not so fast that you can’t sing the words to a song). Meanwhile, to up your stamina you can alternate with longer walks of around an hour.
When you’re ready to start running, it’s still a good idea to break it up with some walking while your body is getting used to it.
Former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway recommends the run/walk/run interval method which is based on the principle that since your muscles are less likely to become fatigued you can actually enjoy the endorphins, and you’re more likely to stick to it.
Based on your fitness level, you should aim to run for either 10-30 seconds (if you’re a beginner), 1-5 minutes (if you’re intermediate) or 6-8 minutes (if you’re already very active) and then walk for either 1-2 minutes for beginners and intermediates, or 30 seconds to a minute for the very active.
Repeat the process for the duration of your run and you’ll be well on your way to developing a healthy running habit.
2. Let science dictate your playlist
If you’ve tried and failed to become a regular runner before, it could partly be down to your choice of beats.
If you’re pounding the pavement while listening to your latest true crime podcast for example, it’s likely not the most motivating thing for your ears or your legs.
Studies have shown that songs with a BPM (beats per minute) of 120 or more are the most stimulating when it comes to exercise.
They should also “possess prominent percussive and rhythmical features”, which is scientific talk for being a stone cold banger. If you really want to hit your motivational stride, sniff out songs that also have some kind of motivational or self-affirming message.
Thankfully, finding a playlist of songs with the perfect BPM doesn’t require an intense musical knowledge.
3. Make sure your trainers are up to the job
If you’ve ever twisted an ankle or had a particularly painful bout of shin splints, you’ll know it can be enough to put you off running for a long time.
Unlike walking, when you run both of your feet are suspended at the same time, which makes your landing even harder and can cause issues if you’re not kitted out in appropriate trainers.
Choose a pair like the Clifton 8, which are the latest launch from HOKA ONE ONE, which is all about creating innovative trainers that support you throughout your run, without sacrificing style credentials.
The Clifton 8 trainers have been ergonomically designed to take your run to the next level, with an extended crash pad heel to cushion your landings and make sure they’re as smooth as possible.
There’s also the light, responsive and compression-moulded midsole for cloud-like cushioning and engineered mesh to avoid the dreaded stuffy feet.
Finally, the teal-coloured design is guaranteed to make your running wardrobe pop, which is motivation enough for us.
4. Incentivise it
Before you have a spreadsheet of personal bests, routes and distances bespoke to you and your running journey, it can be difficult to find the motivation to lace up your shoes and get out there.
Nevertheless, if you offer yourself a (metaphorical) carrot for every run you smash, you’ll probably find you’re all the more likely to hit the pavement or the treadmill.
Try stowing away a pound for every run you complete, and set a date a few months in the future when you break into the fruits of your labour and treat yourself to a new pair of leggings/trainers/bottle of wine.
Alternatively, if you’re after motivation to get you to accomplish a certain distance, you can aim for a number of miles as your reward goal and celebrate with a treat when you eventually hit it.
After all, we never really lose that piggybank mentality…
5. Join a running club
There are some rare occasions where social pressure is a blessing, and it turns out running is one of them. To become a runner, you need to surround yourself with runners, and a running club is the perfect way to do just that.
As well as giving you reason and accountability to show up and get running, becoming part of a community is simply more fun.
Adding a sociable element to your run and having people to bounce your progress off is a great way to stay on track and fall in love with the practice.
Whether you want to join an organised running club like Bristol and London-based WMN RUN or recruit a few friends to form your own informal gang, surrounding yourself with running buddies is a great stepping stone to falling in love with running.
Whether you’re a gym regular looking for a new challenge or complete beginner, get ready to fall in love with running and equip yourself with HOKA ONE ONE’s new Clifton 8 running shoes. With an ergonomic design for the smoothest run yet and a stylish design, they’re a must-have in any running wardrobe.