Other than a warm up and cool down on the treadmill at the gym, I wasn't a runner. It's something that I always wanted to be good at because as a non-runner, I'd sometimes think 'Wow, how wonderful it must be to enjoy nature by running through the woods' and 'If only I could run for the train without almost collapsing on the platform afterwards' etc.

After a few attempts at running around the block as fast as I could possibly go, my chest hurting a lot and my teeth getting cold (what's that about?!) I walked home, made myself a cup of tea and was determined that it wasn't the sport for me.


Here is where I tell you how I eventually ended up running a 10k fairly comfortably, and, dare I say it? I even ENJOYED it.

It turns out there's a lot more to running than how fast you can go (although that becomes a fun challenge) and I've compiled a few tips that helped me get into it, hopefully, for good.

Mirror selfie, with focus on no makeup, sports bra and headphones

Not Running

This is not a drill. It turns out you can get good at running by actually not running at all.

The first few times I attempted a 'run' outside I was quite unfit. Over the past eight months or so I've been attending an intense HIIT class regularly. As well as some treadmill work, the class also includes a lot of free weight, cardio and bodyweight exercises which strengthen the core and legs (ideal for y'know, running) and it made a huge difference to my overall fitness levels.

This time when I ventured into the great outdoors, I found a simple 1KM much better, my heart rate and breathing became a lot easier and I surprisingly didn't hate it as much.

Nike Run Club app

A friend introduced me to this app and it is so blooming useful. I'm currently using it to prep for a 10 mile race that I've not committed to yet, but even just giving yourself a goal makes a difference to a running routine.

You can use it as a running prompt and listen to specific workouts (some by famous athletes or professionals who can give great advice) or just keep it as a handy log and distance update throughout your workout. The main thing it helps you get out there in the first place, regardless of how far or how fast you go.

Get outside

Sounds obvious, but running outside is very different to the treadmill. I am totally guilty of being stuck on a machine for the past few years and now I've found great routes outside, I don't fancy the idea of going back. Not only is it much more visually appealing than looking at a blank white wall or BBC news on a tiny TV screen but running in the elements is quite refreshing.

Although I will admit, I've timed my running well and started this Spring/Summer but I will definitely need tips myself to keep motivated and warm throughout the colder seasons.

Get the Gear

It makes a big difference running in something that makes the workout easier.

At the beginning of my training I ventured into Asics for the first time and invested in some running trainers that are great for me. They do a full run analysis (so be prepared to do a short run on the treadmill in-store) and let you know how you run, and which products will help your technique and ensure you are comfortable. My purchase ended up being the Gel-Cumulus 19.

A lot of my gym wardrobe also really helps keep me interested, so treat yourself to a new outfit if you sign up for an event as extra motivation. These Challenge Run Shorts from Sweaty Betty are my absolute staple over Summer.

Distract yourself

One of the most difficult things I still find when running is breathing, and not thinking too much about my breathing. I've found listening to a podcast is one of the best ways to distract me whilst on a run as it takes my mind elsewhere. One of my favourite podcast episodes is Sadiq Khan's interview on Table Manners (hosted by Jessie & Lennie Ware) which kept me company on my first ever solo 6K!

Music, of course, is another great method of keeping you distracted. Take some time to create your perfect playlist of motivational tracks. Try to pick songs you know get you wanting to dance and sing to, so you can harness that enthusiasm when you're on your route.

I purchased the Urbanears Wireless Headphones and I absolutely love them - the tap system (to play/pause/turn volume up etc.) takes some getting used to but sound quality is great when out and about.

Do you have any tips for a first-timer? Leave a comment over on my fitness instagram @leannemariefitness or check it out for some inspiration!