I personally found it very difficult to get started in running. Prior to joining Run 4 It in May 2010, I was on the recovery from a relatively serious back injury I sustained at University which meant me sitting out of Football (my only source of fitness since I was about 8 years old) for roughly a year. This affected me in a huge way, a lot worse than I had expected.
Between the ages of 8 and about 18, all I ever did to keep fit was play football. This was not a problem as up until about the age of 14, I was naturally fit and the amount I was playing and training was enough to keep me in good shape. From the age on 15 onwards, when most teenagers find it more difficult to keep fit, I was playing or training about 5 times a week, so this alone was enough to keep my body in good shape as well.
As soon as i suffered my injury at university, I started to gain weight and became increasingly lethargic. The main issue for me was that, as I had injured my back, I found it very difficult to do any form of exercise as it was too painful.
The pain in my back never completely went away until about November last year. By this time, I was overweight (I still consider myself overweight, but I was much heavier at this point) and really needed to sort my fitness levels out. Working at Run 4 It gave me a real motivation to get started as I was working with all sorts of exciting running clothing and footwear, along with some gadgets I was very eager to use. This motivated me to get outside and get running.
It really wasn't easy to start with, I could only run for about 5 minutes straight and then I would have to walk as I was out of breath and had sore legs. But I reminded myself that walking is actually pretty substantial exercise, and I could walk a good 6 or 7 miles in the beginning. In March I also joined a gym, something that has proven to be a very good decision, as I am currently going to the gym 3 times a week and I feel fitter that I have in the past 2 years.
In the past couple of months, I have managed to increase my running distance massively and, thanks to watching what I eat a bit better, I am feeling healthier than the past 2 years have allowed me to.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I know how difficult it can be in the beginning. You look out of your window before going for a run, and see that it is raining or fairly windy. The automatic temptation is to stay inside and watch tv, maybe even have a snack. Let me tell you, this will never be a good idea. Even a 20 minute run will be worthwhile. I have fully embraced the freedom, enjoyment and health benefits that come with running, and I plan to keep up running when I get back to playing football this Autumn, and I have Run 4 It to thank for helping me on my journey.
What I want to know is, do you have any advice for aspiring runners out there? It doesn't have to be world changing advice, just something small which you feel may help someone get started. This is a perfect opportunity to pass some hints and tips around the running community, or even the chance to tell your story.