New Year New You: How To Start Running

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You may still be recovering from last night’s partying but now’s as good a time as any to start planning a healthy new you. There’s something about the beginning of the year that gives you a fresh start, a clean slate, a kind of new beginning.

I’ve often been asked how I got into running (not surprisingly because I don’t look like your typical lithe runner) so that’s why I thought today (the beginning of a new year) was a good time to share my tips.

So if you’ve you’ve never thought of yourself as a runner but would like to get into it then you’ve come to the right place.

I was once told: “If you’ve got a body you are an athlete”. I reckon the same applies to running. If you’ve got a body you are a runner.

I only started running a few years ago when I was 43 (better late than never) and when I say running I really mean really slow jogging because that’s what it was back then.

Over the years I’ve had a few breaks from running but it’s the one exercise I always come back too because you can do it just about anywhere and it’s a great workout for the body, mind and soul (cliched but true).

I’m also lured back by the incredible sense of achievement you get when you finish a run. I’m sure it’s tied to the fact that running isn’t easy (don’t let that put you off) and so when you finish you know you’ve achieved something pretty cool.

I ran the Auckland half marathon two years ago (will be dining out on that forever) and the Nike She Runs The Nike 10K in Sydney last year and will always remember the feeling of pure unadulterated elation as I crossed the finish line both times.

Don’t get me wrong I’m no star runner but that’s my point – you don’t have to be.

Anyone can enjoy running or slow jogging (whatever works for you) and the fun and fitness that comes with it. Here’s how I did it.



Start slow – start out power walking first and slowly add small amounts of running into each session. I only ran the down hills at first – it’s deceptively easy and it actually gets you running – yippee!


Pace yourself – while it’s tempting to go out all guns blazing it’s really important not to injure yourself so only exercise every second day. In fact, I only ever run every second day and I’m convinced this is the reason I’ve never ever had an injury (touch wood).


Stretch – I’m a big believer in the power of stretching and I’m sure this is the other reason I’ve never had an injury. I always start by power walking and then before I kick into a run I have a good stretch and then again at the end of my run I stretch for a good 10 minutes too.


Build up slowly – each time you hit the pavement try and add a little bit more running into your route – even if you’re just adding the length of an extra lamp post at least you are increasing the distance you run.


Commitment – if you commit to heading out regularly and increasing the amount of time you run you will eventually find yourself being able to run for longer periods. At first it may only be for five minutes but with time and commitment this will increase until you can quite comfortable go for a 20-30 minute run – promise!


Good gear – it definitely pays to have a great pair of running shoes (my faves right now are the Nike Flyknit Lunars). And no I haven’t been paid/bribed to say that.


Staying motivated – do whatever it takes to keep yourself motivated to get out there regularly. New gear is always a great motivator for me and I follow a few fitness blogs too which I find really inspiring. My fave at the moment is Remember the hardest part really is just getting out the door – truly.


Music – there are people who can run without music but I’m not one of them. I have an iPod shuffle that I regularly upload cool new tunes to so I can use them to help me get motivated on days I’m not feeling overly energetic.


Track your progress – my Nike+ SportWatch has been the best investment in my running. It not only tracks how far and how fast you run but you can measure your progress against the Nike community and other women your age. If you like tracking your progress and seeing how many calories you’ve burned then you’ll love this watch.


Do something – if you’re not up to running then go for a power walk instead. There have been so many times I haven’t had the energy to run but once I start power walking I usually end up running. Just goes to show how important it is to take that first step out the front door.


Believe – don’t let anyone tell you (especially that little voice in your head) that you can’t run. You can. If I can you can.


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