Sunday, January 18, 2009

A guide to running for beginners

The great thing about running is that all you need to start is a pair of trainers. I actually got some pretty good stuff though - we have a shop dedicated to running in Leeds. I got some flourescent cotton gloves - ideal as thin so you don't get too hot, yet takes the edge off when it's freezing cold. I also got a lightweight waterproof-ish jacket, also great for these rainy winter runs.

When I very first started I just used to run for literally five minutes at a time. Because I knew that unless I gave myself some very easily achievable things to do I would pack it in. Gradually I stepped it up and nowadays I can run -well, I say run, it's more like a snail jogging. In fact most people walk faster than I run- for half an hour at a time. For the past couple of times I've been out I haven't walked at all. We also back on to some playing fields. Marvellous as you're straight out there with some beautiful views of Leeds as we're right on top of the hill. I would say the key things are for running in winter -0.5) get some trainers 1) remember it only gets light at about 8.30, find a route you enjoy. 2) Always look at the weather forecast. Actually forget this. I relied on BBC met office yesterday - totally inaccurate for Leeds. Look out of the window before you go out. Regardless dress up warm at this time of year. You can always tie your jacket round your waist aka 1970s style. 3) Sort out your playlist. This is vital. Having looked at a website for inspiration, it turns out most runners are also rockers. Personally this is not to my taste. Being a big rock fan at home, I don't want to get turned off my favourite music and get bored of it. It's pop for me every time. Having said that, my feminist and advancement of human rights side to my personality dictates that I cannot listen to Emimem - Lose Yourself. I just can't. I don't care if everyone on the planet says it's the only good thing to run to.

I'm still definitely a beginner, having now been running for 3 months. I did my first 'race' and did it half an hour slower than virtually everyone else. But, something had to replace all the cycling I did in London. I used to love cycling (still do but I just don't get chance to do it) for how you're so close to nature. Running is even better in this respect. You are there, with the urban landscape and the immigrant seagulls, running and every day is slightly different. Slightly damper, slightly warmer, or frosty. A different view, diverse birds. The tall grasses like swords dissecting the crisp air and sunlight glinting off them. Or the wind cooling you down as you run against it and towards it. And every time the endorphins get you. You're hooked. And the best news is the only side effects are positive ones.

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