With gyms, swimming pools and golf clubs shut, many people are looking for a sporting hobby to take up during the second lockdown, I have the perfect solution for your problem: running!
I know what your thinking, ‘the only time I run is when I catch a bus‘ and you’re not alone. Many people hate running because they have been put off in a PE lesson when they were at school, however, these PE lessons don’t tell the full story of running, these lessons often consist of running as fast as you can, with little warm-up and no focus on how much running experience you have – This is not how running should be.
Where to start?
As a beginner you should start off slow and steady, alternating between running and walking for periods, this is called Interval Training. When you get fitter, you can then shorten the periods you spend walking and soon enough you will be able to run that 5k in no time at all. You don’t need to plan these yourself as the Couch to 5k app does this for you, this app consists of 9 weeks, running 3 times a week and allows you to build up to running fully without injuring yourself, you can even choose a celebrity trainer to guide you through the sessions, you can choose from Michael Johnson, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli and even Jo Whiley. There are so many running apps out there that will help with your motivation, these include Strava, Nike Run Club and My Fitness Pal. The best part: they’re all free! Yes, you can pay for a premium but I think the free versions do the trick, especially if you are a beginner and still skeptical about whether running is for you or not.
I ran a bit before lockdown but due to my exams I had fallen out of the habit and if I can pick a silver lining for lockdown it would be that I had lot more free time which meant I was about to pick it up again – I even started training 4 times a week. During Lockdown I improved not only my speed but also my distance, I started adding long runs of 7 or 8 miles to my training; I then built up to running my first half marathon and I completed the virtual Ilkley half marathon in August, a very proud moment!
Some of the benefits of running include both mental and physical wellbeing, when you exercise your body creates endorphins and this creates a feeling of happiness and contentment after you have been for a run. Running also helps you to feel stronger and can help you to lose weight. Furthermore, running can also help you explore new places when you are on holiday or at home, giving you an extra sense of enjoyment by being out in nature. Overall, I believe running is great because everybody can do it (even if you think you can’t at first), from young children to grandparents, men and women of all shapes and sizes – it’s something that can benefit everyone.
Do it on your own, join a running club (when they’re up and running – excuse the pun) or even do it with a friend but always make sure you have a playlist ready to keep you going.
What are you waiting for? Come on and lace up your running shoes!