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Looking to start running? Follow this advice from experienced runner Garry Hill

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By Garry Hill

Garry Hill. Picture: Keith Heppell
Garry Hill. Picture: Keith Heppell

With January here, and the time of resolutions to get fit and lose weight, I thought it worthwhile to go over a few pointers for anyone considering starting to run for fitness/weight loss.

Firstly you’ve made a great decision! Running is one of the best and cheapest ways to start on the road to fitness, welcome to a new habit that will see you gain health, strength and friends along the way.

The great thing about running is that it is so accessible and cheap, no gym contracts to worry about, just pull on a pair of trainers and start running.

However, if you are taking this seriously it is worth investing in a good pair of running shoes. Get along to your local running shop and ask for a GAIT analysis to help select the perfect shoe for your running style. This isn’t spending money for a fashion item, it is an investment that could protect you from injury and increase your running pleasure.

It's not a bad idea to lay your hands on some good kit too. Socks, shorts, leggings and tops made from technical materials can make your running experience much more pleasurable.

When you start running, don’t make the same painful mistake I did and try to run as fast and as far as possible right away. Follow a plan that builds up slowly.

Try to set out three days of the week that you can easily find half an hour to go out and run. Doing this will encourage you to keep to your running plan and not find excuses to avoid it.

You have doubtless heard the old saying that you have to walk before you can run, that rule applies well here.

Running is a low-cost way to stay fit (6314086)
Running is a low-cost way to stay fit (6314086)

If you are a novice it is wise to set out on a walk/run programme so, in week one you should aim to walk for one minute and run for one minute - repeat this 10 times.

In week two extend your times to walking for 90 seconds and running for two minutes repeating this six times. Over the coming weeks you should then increase the amount of time running while decreasing the walking time.

By following this sort of schedule you should find that in around two months you will be able to run 5km non-stop. There are a multitude of couch to 5km (C25k) programmes out there, found easily with a quick Google search.

As you increase your running time search the web for dynamic warm-up and static cool-down stretches for runners, this will improve your flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

If you don’t enjoy exercising alone try to run with a friend or perhaps join a local running club or group.

I’m biased (I’m one of the run directors for Huntingdon parkrun) but personally I think the best goal for 5km running is to get along to your local parkrun. It's friendly and inclusive no matter your ability, you can even walk it and you will never come last as there is a tail walker. Just get out there and you’ll love it!

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