8 things I wish I’d known when I started running

We all make mistakes when we first start running. Whether it's running in unsuitable shoes that give us blisters, or doing too much, too soon and injuring ourselves, we all go wrong somewhere along the way. At some point, maybe when sidelined by injury or frustration that we aren't getting any faster, we look back and wish we'd done things differently.


Here are 8 things I wish I'd known when I started running consistently 15 years ago...

  1. You don’t need to run as fast as you can all of the time. You’ll make much better progress if you run up to 80% of your mileage at an easy effort and save the hard effort running for speed and hill sessions only.

Easy-effort running (so you can chat!) will condition your body ready for occasional harder efforts

2. Rest and recovery are vital, especially after hard sessions and races. Without them your body will never be able to take on board all the training you have done.

Balance complete rest with active recovery, such as gentle swimming

3. Sleep aids recovery so get more of it, and make it better quality sleep too. If you can't sleep well because of other stresses in your life, it will affect your running.

4. Running should only form a percentage of your overall training, not all of it. Well thought-out cross-training will enhance your running, not detract from it.

Hill-walking provides great cross-training for trail runners

5. Strength and conditioning work is vital, especially if you are female and beyond your twenties. Without it, your risk of injury is higher.

Single-leg balancing - key to improving leg strength

6. There is technique to running, technique which most of us had when we were children but have lost as we’ve aged. Relearning it and practising it can help you run further, faster and with less risk of injury.


Working on technique - essential for running further and faster

7. You don’t have to enter every race that you hear about or that your running friends are doing. It’s easy to become jaded and burnt out by putting yourself under too much pressure to perform. Be picky!

8. Running on trails lessens the impact on your legs and makes you stronger overall, so do more of it, even if you are a hardened road runner.

Trail running leads to stronger running all-round

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