Hit the ground RUNNING

Hit the ground running. Photo: Thinkstock, lzf

Hit the ground running. Photo: Thinkstock, lzf - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Few sports are as accessible as running. It’s quick, free, and effective and all it takes is setting a foot out the door

Running reduces your risk of chronic illnesses, keeps your weight under control and boosts your mood. But it can feel daunting to get started and, more importantly, keep at it. Here are some top tips on how to run and stay motivated.

Set yourself a goal

Whatever your level, setting challenges is a good way to stay motivated. Having an achievable goal like training for a race, such as a 5K or a charity run, is a great way to stay motivated and keep going.

Create a routine

Regular running for beginners means getting out at least twice a week. Your running will improve as your body adapts to the training. It’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run six times one week and then do no running for the next three weeks.


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It helps to have someone about the same level of fitness as you to run with.

You’ll encourage each other to keep going, and will be less likely to let your running partner down, which will help motivate you.

Try something new

Keep your running interesting by adding variety. Running the same route over and over again can become boring. Vary your distances, pace and routes. There are lots of apps to find, record and share your favourite running routes.

Keep a diary

Whether on paper, online or through an app, keep a record of your runs. Note down your route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt. That way, whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by how much you’ve improved.

Join a club

A running club is the perfect way to start running regularly. Most clubs have running groups for different levels, including beginners. It’s also a great way to find running partners for outside of club sessions. Clubs in the area include East London Runners and the Orion Harriers.

Adam Baker, 45, Buckhurst Hill

Adam started running about five years ago when he joined the Orion Harriers running club in Chingford. Today, he has runs marathons in New York, Boston, Berlin and Tokyo.

“I would encourage anyone to join a running club,” he says. “A whole new world opens up for you. People might think clubs are only for fit people, but they’re not. You’ve got people from all ages, sizes and abilities. You can take from it what you want - whether that’s a weekly Sunday run or training for a marathon. Just being a part of a club you fall into that kind of routine.”

Adam originally started running to improve his lifestyle when he was working in the City. “I personally joined just to get fit and lose a bit of weight and now I’m a marathon runner – I didn’t set out to do this,” he says. “I think for everyone, in the back of their mind... no matter how fit they are the possibility [of running a marathon] has crossed their mind.”

“The Orion Harriers is a fantastic club. They are behind you, backing you all the way,” Adam says. “I’ve met a whole new batch of friends; the great thing about running is that you meet people from all walks of life. You’ll meet like minded people who all share the same passion.

“Running round the streets in London is not ideal, there’s traffic, pollution… But where we are here in Essex, just by Epping Forest… where better to run on a crisp winter morning?”

Last week Adam returned to Buckhurst Hill after competing in the Tokyo marathon, completing the Abbotts World marathon major series by running the Boston, London, New York, Chicago, Berlin and Tokyo marathons. He will be running the London marathon again next month on April 23.

For more info on the Orion Harriers, visit orionharriers.com

FUEL UP: 5 foods to eat before you run

Bagel with peanut butter

A bagel with peanut butter supplies carbohydrates and protein to keep you energised, as well as healthy fats from the peanuts. A perfect pre-run food, it is not only quick to prepare but also quickly to digest!


Bananas are a great pre-workout food. They are filled with natural sugar, which your body will burn for energy, and contain lots of potassium, a nutrient that regulates blood pressure and reduces stroke risk.


Carbohydrates like oats give your body a quick source of energy, but make sure to choose complex instead of refined carbohydrates such as white bread, as the latter can cause spikes of blood sugar, which later cause your body to “crash.”

Mixed berries

The healthy sugars in berries can give you a quick energy boost. Berries also contain lots of fibre, potassium and vitamin C to support your body as it repairs itself after your run.

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