We all know running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise, but if you’ve never run before or have had a long break after having a baby for example, the prospect can be terrifying. Here, Closer’s Features Editor Georgina Finegan- who recently began running again after a three-year break- shares her tips to get back into it.
She says: "Having run regularly for years and even completing the London Marathon in 2008 in 3 hours 49min, I decided to challenge myself to a half marathon in four months’ time. I chose the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon (13.1 miles) because the route goes through four of the capital’s best open spaces – Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’ Park and Kensington Gardens.
"Setting myself a realistic goal of two hours I decided to follow a 12-week training plan by veteran US runner Hal Higdon because it seemed doable with a full-time job and a two-year old.
"I was nervous about my first run (just a mile) but it was AMAZING. I went very slowly but the endorphins literally flooded my brain within minutes.I spent a month extending the length of my run by just a mile at a time until I was comfortably running five miles. That gave me the confidence to start my training schedule. The first week consisted of three mid-week runs of three runs and a four mile run at the weekend."
Keep running through winter Running improves muscle tone, as well as general fitness
Gina adds: "The mid-week runs are never longer than five miles which meant I was able to do them before work. And the longer runs at the weekend built up slowly to a 12 mile run a week before race day. There’s something very therapeutic about turning your music on and heading out on your own for a good hour or so – especially if the sun’s shining!
"So now I’m just four weeks away from the half marathon and I’m actually feeling quite confident. My pace is a bit slower but that’s something I could work on in the future with interval training.
"I’ve decided to raise money for a small animal charity, Caring For Animals, but I have to confess the training has all been about me. I can honestly say I feel stronger and more energised than I have in years. So whether you’ve had a long break from running like me or you’ve never even run to catch a bus there’s never been a better time to pull on your trainers and hit the road.”
Our top running essentials
It’s ridiculously important to run in trainers made for running (never, repeat never, attempt to run in a pair of lace up pumps). Head to your nearest Runners Needs for a free gait analysis to find out which trainers are best for you.
Shop it: Saucony Triumphs RRP £134.99
Even if you’re fashionably small-chested you still need to wear a well-fitting supportive running bra.
Shop it: Shock absorber Ultimate Run Bra RRP £35.99
Bright running kit
Not just because it looks good, but if you’re running in bad light it’s important to be seen.
Shop it: Bellum Pursuit Bra and GEO Capris RRP £28
Then, try these, not technically essential items, but once you try them, you'll never look back!
If you’re keen to speed up running watches are great for tracking your pace.
Shop it: FitBit Surge RRP £199.
Who doesn’t want to look their best in their post-run selfies?? Eyeko do a brilliant mascara and eye liner which literally won’t budge no matter how much of a sweaty Betty you are.
Shop it: Mascara in jet black, RRP £18
Most people love listening to music while training but there’s nothing more annoying than headphones that won’t stay in your ears.
Shop it: Beats Active Collection tour2 Fit To Move £109.95
Yes, that’s right. They’re a bit like PE knickers but so, so comfortable.
Shop it: Runderwear Low rise hipster RRP £16
Don’t let a small child stand in your way of running. Running buggies mean you can run while your little one naps.
Shop it: Running buggy RRP £435
keep your phone, keys and water handy.
Shop it: flipbelts RRP £24.95
Help prevent blisters and according to the makers you run faster with less injuries.
Shop it: CEP RRP £13.50