Starting Running: 30 Things We Wish We’d Known

We asked running coaches, Unbound readers and international athletes: "If you could go back in time to when you first started running, what advice would you give yourself?"

Get decent socks and shoes to keep your feet happy

1. “Buy running socks for anything over 5km, and avoid the heartache of blisters caused by thin socks that slip down into your shoes.”
Amelia Howard, via Facebook

Get the right shoes for you, not ones you fancy the colour of

2. “Get the right shoes for you, not the ones your mate has or the ones you fancy the colour of. For me, years of wearing the right shoes for the right runs, combined with stretching and massage, have meant no lower limb injuries.

“In the early years it was a different story. I had shin, Achilles and calf issues every few months – but I thought I looked great!”
Nick Anderson, Saucony running coach (@nickandersonrun)


4. “Don’t wear boxers under leggings. #chafe”
Rob McGarr, Unbound contributor

You don’t need to overthink running

5. “You don’t need to overthink running. There’s so much written about it that it’s easy to get carried away with the detail, but just get out there and run.

“Run well, push yourself with gradual increments, and your body will respond and you’ll reap all the rewards you deserve.”
Neil Aitken, running coach at Embrace Sports running holidays

Running with mates makes everything better (dep ed Charlotte, left)

6. “You’ll make loads of new friends and it’s much more fun than at school – you don’t have to wear royal blue running knickers for a start!”
Charlotte Thomas, Unbound deputy editor

7. “It gets easier! Every part of you might hurt the first time, and it might hurt to breathe, but each time it gets better – and then one day you can do it, and one day you actually enjoy it.”
Sian Harvard, via Facebook


9. “Stretching for half-an-hour post run makes the biggest difference. Okay I knew it, but it’s only now I practice it!”
@Yogathlete, via Twitter

10. “It’s a less stressful and cheaper way to commute home than a rush-hour train. And often it’s actually quicker.”
Adam Gold, Unbound publisher

11. “I wish I’d known how much confidence it would give me, I would have started years ago!”
Kiera Parkes, via Facebook

Ultra runner Cat, scaling the peaks in Gran Canaria

I really wish I’d known more about the vast number of races outside the UK

12. “As someone who loves travelling as much as I love running, I really wish I’d known more about the vast number of races outside the UK.

“I have so many amazing memories from events I’ve run in Istanbul, Marrakech, Budapest, even the Atacama desert in Chile. If there’s one thing running has taught me, it’s that exercise can (and should) be fun.”
Cat Simpson, ultra runner and running coach at Escape Running

13.“Running will change and enrich your life so much that it will be worth those first uncomfortable weeks!”
Claire Pepper, via Twitter

Running coach Neil Aitken says don’t worry if you plateau

14. “At first you’ll hit lots of new PBs and make loads of progress but don’t worry if you plateau. Don’t see it as a failure, it’s actually a positive sign that you’ve done well and got to a point where you need to focus on the little things to keep progressing. This is where running becomes interesting – embrace it.”
Neil Aitken, running coach at Embrace Sports running holidays

15. “Don’t compare yourself to others, or worry about what other people think. This is your journey, your achievements – remind yourself that you’re doing it for you!”
Beki Cadd, via Facebook


17. “Find a running group. Run with friends, run with a group from your local running shop, whatever. Meeting up with others makes cold nights and daunting distances seem much more achievable.”
Amelia Howard, via Facebook

18. “Limit your excuses! I put running in my work calendar, and I always lay my run gear out early so that I’m all ready to go.”
Klaus Easton, via Facebook

Nick Anderson, Saucony run coach

19. “Start every run slowly and build the pace gradually over the first ten minutes. You’ll feel better for the rest of the run as your body will have warmed up internally and externally.

“Leaving the door like Superman on call really doesn’t work, or make the run enjoyable.”
Nick Anderson, Saucony Running Coach (@nickandersonrun)

20. “Singing and dancing while running is your prerogative, and keeps you running happy (or does me anyway!).”
Caroline Lutes, via Facebook


22. “Improving or maintaining mobility and strength are just as important as mileage if you want to avoid getting injured.”
Tessa Williams, via Facebook

There is no right or best in running. Whatever works for you is all that matters

23. “There is no right or best in running (shoes, techniques, clothes, nutrition, etc). Whatever works for you is all that matters. Articles and other people’s opinions are ‘interesting’ but it’s best to try everything for yourself and make up your own mind.”
Derek Green, via Facebook

10,000m European Championships winner Jo Pavey

24. “If I could go back to when I was really young, I’d tell myself to not feel so stressed about running. I felt under a lot of pressure to try and achieve targets, whereas now I have definitely learned to enjoy it more.

“I still try as hard but I don’t dwell on things as much. I embrace the challenge, get on with it, and enjoy it.”
Jo Pavey, 10,000m gold medal winner at the 2014 European Championships. Jo will be taking part in this year’s Morrison’s Great Manchester Run.

25. “You can go slow!”
Jen Slater, via Facebook

If you have a bad run, in the words of Taylor Swift, shake it off

26. “Occasionally, you’re going to have a run where things don’t come together at all: your limbs aren’t in sync, your stomach feels empty, your left shoe keeps rubbing, it’s all a bit of a slog.

“In the immortal words of Ms. Taylor Swift, shake it off. Just forget about it and write it off, even as it’s happening. Your next run – your next half-dozen runs, in fact – are guaranteed to go way, way better.”
Joe Madden, Unbound editor


Understanding that quality rest is vital for progress has helped me so much

28. “I wish I’d listened to my body and what it was trying to tell me more, instead of trying to train hard when I was tired, or pushing myself when ill.

“Now that I listen to my body – rather than the gremlin that tries to make me feel guilty – running has become easier. Understanding that quality rest is a component of training and vital for progress has helped me so much, both as an athlete and coach.”
Nick Anderson, Saucony Running Coach (@nickandersonrun)

29. “Going for a run doesn’t have to be a formal, planned event. It can be frivolous and spontaneous, and it should be fun. Even running 1km to the local cafe for a caffeine fix is a run. Running is running!”
Jan Littlewood, via Facebook



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