Come on all our Graduates how about some advice for our newest members

While out for my run today I was thinking about all the new runners that seem to be coming through our little forum at the moment and wondering how we could help and motivate. So I came up with the idea that we could post our best tips for beginners. We all remember our first tentative steps out the door .

Mine would be

If you feel like stopping a run before its time to count to 100 in your head sometimes that gets you through.

Also don't worry about repeating weeks lots of us had to.

Hello to all you new runners, it is great to welcome you to the forum and I will be looking forward to giving each and everyone one of you their virtual Graduation badge.

Happy running.

50 Replies

  • Great thread RFC. My advice is 2fold. First, go really slowly, then go a little bit slower- Speed will come later. Secondly, 9 weeks is a guideline, not a deadline. Lots and lots of us took more than 9 weeks to graduate but we got there in the end. Oh and, of course, enjoy it! ( wait a minute, that's 3 bits of advice not 2!) :)

  • Great idea RFC- my advice- go slowly. If you don't feel like going out on a run day, get your togs on and then decide, 9 times out of ten it will get you out the door. Take your rest days. Check back on the forum frequently it is a great motivator. Don't worry at all about distance and speed. Go and enjoy! x :-D

  • Get some good trainers and sports bra (if appropriate)

    Go slowly.

    Even if you think that everyone is looking at you, they aren't.

    It's no good trying to run in your normal clothes in the hopes that no-one will notice you, sports clothing is designed to do a job and is much more comfortable.

    Recognise that each and every time you get out of the door it is an achievement.

    Any run is better than no run, and if you can't manage to break into a trot a walk is better than nothing.

    If you have to do any run more than once, that's ok.

    If you take more than 9 weeks to complete the programme, that's ok too.

    Obey Laura.

    Use the forum and fb pages for advice, inspiration and motivation.

    Don't eat any more just because you are exercising. The exercise uses surprisingly few calories.

    Sorry ! That's lots !!

  • All the above :-)


    Don't be put off if you have a bad run and you think you are not progressing.... we all have bad days... put it behind you and look forward to your next run.

    Whilst you might feel a few aches when you start, especially if you are not used to any exercise, listen to your body and take professional advice if you are in real pain.

  • I totally agree with all the advice already posted!

    To add another tip - when you hear that little voice in your head telling you that you want to stop, ask yourself how your body feels. Are you seriously struggling for breath? Are you in any pain? If not, chances are your fine and can just tell the little voice to go away (politely of course!). Most of the battle is getting over the mental barriers in your head that tell you you can't run.

    Secondly, if you don't manage to complete a run its not the end of the world. Don't give up on the programme - just put that run behind you and try it again next time. You'll get there!

  • I'm not a fan of 'advice' as such.

    But my tips would be:

    1) Yes, actually you *can* make a start in normal clothes. I did. I've done runs in a long knitted skirt, walking boots with my normal backpack full of clutter on my back. I don't especially *recommend* it... 3 years on and I do have proper running shoes, extra high impact sports bras, firm control knickers and thick socks... but otherwise I run in a long sleeved cotton t shirt and leggings with gloves and buffs (it's the hands and neck that get chilly). In minus temperatures today, very happily. But by all means use buying something you fancy as motivation. I gather some people like pink and techno fabrics, we're all different!

    2) Seriously consider doing NHS C25K using the podcasts rather than the app. The music, whether you like it or not, is a part of the experience... I know there were times when *not* having to hear a certain track again was motivating when I flagged!

    3) If you get to a point where you really can't run any more (and as others have said, go slow and then slower but also take smaller steps, run on the spot for a bit if desperate) walk the rest of the podcast and don't try to start running again. When you repeat the session you'll get a solid sense of progress you can measure and the walking will still be beneficial.

    4) There are many ways into running but this is a cunning programme which does far more for most people than it says on the tin.

    5) I found it helpful to tell myself I didn't have to do this, I could stop any time I wanted to. Other people motivate themselves in other ways - know yourself!

  • Hey GoogleMe, I can't thank you enough for opening my eyes to the podcasts that exist for the C25K plan. I always thought they were no different to the app; only been training with the app and struggling with playing my own music in between Laura's instructions. I've just completed run 3 of week 6. Look forward to running with the podcast from tomorrow!

    And great tips too!! Thank you, thank you, thank you...

  • Ah good, always rewarding to hear that you've helped someone else enjoy their running.

  • I agree with all the above.

    For me make sure you post about your runs as you get great support in response.

    Everyone has a bad run in the programme but just realise there is no such thing as you are moving faster than if you were on the couch.

    Trust Laura and the programme. A lot of running is actually defeating the head gremlins and the programme ensures you know you did a run last time and this isn't that much harder.

    When running up hills -take smaller steps and remember the little engine that could.

    When you feel like giving up say just another 10 secs, then another etc

    Good luck everyone - you'll be amazed at what we are capable of whether your in your teens or eightys and everywhere in between ;-)

  • Yes trust in laura. Try not to worry about what others will think. Just visualise the end result

    A healthier happier you who can run for 30 min without stopping!

    Welcome to the forum :)

  • Lovely idea... My advice would be 2 things:

    1.Small goals, and to aim to have fun and enjoy yourself - feeling your strength grow, mid run dancing, closing your eyes and enjoying the moment

    2. Get a mantra to get you through the tough bits...mine is,' push that body punish that body,' it really works!!!!!!

  • Great idea :D mine would be dont doubt yourself , you can do it :D no it isnt easy but that is what makes it so worth while and rewarding and really such a high on graduation :D

  • Great idea!

    Regarding C25K, my tip is to take it one run at a time. Don't look way ahead into the program. You'll get there and you'll be ready for it when you do.

    The hardest part of any run is just getting out of the door; get going and you'll be fine.

    The voice in your head likes to mislead: you CAN do it - tell it where to go and just carry on.

    Run your own run; don't worry about what anyone else is doing, be they another runner you encounter or a fellow runner on here; we were all at the beginning once. Most of us had visions of ambulances on that first 60 second run. Concentrate on what you're doing and not on someone else's run/stats.

    Can't complete a run? Have to walk midway through a run? You haven't failed; to fail would to be to stay at home eating Swiss roll whilst in your underwear, on the couch.

    Tell people what you're doing. Make a post here to say you're running layer/tomorrow; if people know, you have to do it!

    Running is amazing. Life changing, in fact. Those first few runs/weeks are tough but stick with it and you'll be glad you did. It doesn't necessarily get easier, but you definitely will get stronger and better.

    Oh, and have fun! :-)

  • "to fail would to be to stay at home eating Swiss roll whilst in your underwear, on the couch. " Such a lovely image :)

  • Use an app such as Runkeeper to monitor progress.

    If you don't have any buy some comfortable running trainers - well worth the expense.

    Always do a few stretching exercises afterwards.

    Start doing 15 minutes of strength / core exercises twice a week.

    Don't resist the urge to go into sports shops - it happens to us all!

    Above all, think positive, ignore the odd bad days and you will succeed - the key is to be able to end up running for 30 minutes - you may or may not manage 5 km - I did, many don't - it is not a race against others.

  • I would say

    1) get fitted for good pair of running shoes

    2) remember that the only person you are in competition with is the one you see in the mirror

    3) try and timetable your runs each week and count that as your 'me' time

    4) don't let the weather put you off - apart from if it's icy. Once you're wet you're wet and jumping in puddles is sooooo liberating.

    5) try and find short term goal for after you graduate.

    6) remember there is no such thing as a bad run - just runs that maybe didn't go quite as planned

    7) keep using this forum - best bunch of people ever. We all support each other.

    8) enjoy

    Sorry rfc got carried away

  • Ok a bit cheeky 'cos I'm not a graduate yet - (hopefully next week) but here's mine:

    If you're lurking at the moment and haven't actually started the programme then don't be thinking it's too cold out there In January and you need to put this off till Spring. Just jump right in and get on with it. There's massive benefits to starting now - you won't believe how quickly you warm up (don't know how I'm going to cope with the Summer) and there are lovely Parks out there that are practically empty at this time of year.

  • STRETCH after every run

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • I find when I get tired I tend to hunch over and look down ...keep your head up and look around you at the flowers, scenery, birds etc. For some reason shaking my arms out helps me keep going too...

  • Don't look ahead in the programme; just plug your earphones in and turn to the next run in the schedule and take your instructions from Laura at that very moment. By doing that you won't get stressed about what's coming next. Just concentrate on each run and enjoy the triumph of being able to say 'Week 2, Run 3.....Check!' So just small goals which will mount up to be very empowering.

  • Remember we are all different and what works for one person may not be right for you.

    Experiment to find out what suits you, eg stretch or not, what to eat/drink, best time of day to run.

    Don' t compare yourself to others.

    Be proud and enjoy yourself!

  • Have an 'easy' route to fall back on in case you have a bad run or need a mental boost.

  • Proper running shoes

  • Smile! I know it's annoying when people say that. But I find it helps me with my self-consciousness - I get very red in the face when I'm hot, and have often in the past received concerned comments about high blood pressure and such. Actually I'm pretty fit and healthy, I just have a tendency to blush for whatever reason (I do suffer from roseacea). So I smile to let people know I'm not dying! And I've found that smiling also can pep me up a bit when I'm flagging :)

  • My advice would be similar to what others have already said;

    1) you are running against yourself no one else so don't worry about speed or distance to start with these will come as you build up your strength and stamina.

    2) it is a mental as well as a physical challenge don't think that I have to run for 10 minutes or 15 minutes so set small targets as you run i.e. run to the next small bend in the road once there run to the next tree, the next lamppost etc. that way each small goal is a win.

    3) it is OK to not complete a session and have to do it again, most of us have done that.

    4) Get some decent running shoes as old trainers that are not right for your running style may be the reason you get aches and pains. Go to a proper running shop for a gait analysis it might seem a daunting process but they will welcome you as a new runner and help you not look down on you as you maybe thinking.

    5) lastly enjoy running no matter how far or how long the run, just enjoy the fact you are running and getting fitter.

  • I would say most important is not to go so fast that you wind up panting, gasping for air and have no choice but to stop. If you feel yourself getting too out of breath slow down, but don't stop, and take a couple of really deep breaths.

    Second is place your trust in Laura and the programme and just do what she says. If she says you can do it, you can. (Illness and injuries apart).

    I found it best not to look too far ahead - just to follow the current podcast and at the end of run 3 listen to the next podcast whilst cooling down, so I knew what would be on the next run.

  • Great post! Loving the whole experience and the community support is a revelation, makes such a difference, keeps me motivated and believing I can do this :) Thanks grads for your wisdom and support.

  • I agree with all the above.

    I found the support on here amazing, motivating and helpful

    Get proper shoes.

    Don't look ahead, each day is an amazing achievement in itself.

    Try to remember the amazing euphoria you felt when you got home after your last run, Thats what gets me out the door every time. :)

    Enjoy it.

  • Only just graduated, but what I've learnt:

    Try and have runs that are as flat as possible, because it can be demoralizing if you suddenly find you struggle a lot more than the previous run when really it's just a different 'track'.

    As someone else said, just put on the clothes if you're not feeling keen - once you're at that stage, you might as well go out.

    Get a chart to cross off the days - having that on my fridge where bf would see was very motivating!

    Talk about it, and be one of those annoying people who talks about running! People will then ask you how it's going at work etc, and means you're more motivated to actually finish!

    And finally, as another person said, don't be put off by the cold weather - get a base layer, leggings and a waterproof jacket (+ gloves if freezing - I found a hat really made me overheat though) and you'll be ok. I'm also a bit worried about the summer heat...!

  • My tips....

    Smile when you are running.

    Purchase appropriate shoes.

    Buy a sports bra if needed .

    Enjoy being in the moment.

  • To quote the great man:

    There's nothing you can do that can't be done.

    Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.

    Nothing you can say, but you can learn

    How to play the game

    It's easy.

    There's nothing you can know that isn't known.

    Nothing you can see that isn't shown.

    There's nowhere you can be that isn't where

    You're meant to be

    It's easy.

    I've idea if John Lennon ever ran a step, but you get the picture.

  • If you feel like you have to stop, slow down. Keep jogging, even if you think you can walk faster :) Doesn't matter how fast or slow you go... just keep going :)

  • all of the above.....

    get yourself sorted with sensible kit. if your feet ain't happy neither will you. Socks are also pretty crucial.

    Make sure you can be seen.

    Follow the rules of the road.

    Obey Laura.

    Do your warm ups and cool downs properly

    Stretch after your work out.

    You can do more than you think.


  • I posted this on my graduation post but thought I would repeat it here:

    1. The programme works. It doesn't matter whether you use Laura or just follow the timings, you see the improvements week by week.

    2. Running needs to become part of your life. Schedule your runs, make them part of your regular routine so the habit sticks.

    3. Tell everyone what you are doing, they will keep you focused. This forum is a big part of that.

    4. Focus on time and don't think about speed. If you want to track progress, measure distance as it will increase with time and with the small changes in speed that naturally occur.

    5. At least in the south of England, the early morning is a wonderful thing, usually clear, often sunny, and less windy than it will become.

    6. On the subject of wind, if you run in an open area, plan your run to avoid headwind.

    7. For the women, invest in a good sports bra.

    8. You don't need fancy running clothing but if you can afford it it helps with comfort and motivation.

    9. Stretching is really important. My approach is warm up walk, stretches, run, stretches, cool down walk, more stretches (if you use Laura, pause her while you stretch).

    10. Benefits include better mood, feeling more healthy, having more energy, being able to sleep better, better posture, better fitting clothes, being motivated to increase my activity in general and in particular do more walking and swimming.

  • Believe that YOU CAN DO IT because we all have done and we're the same as you - couldn't run for a minute when we started.

    STRETCH after EVERY RUN, immediately you get back - I never had one tiny injury and I put it all down to the NHS stretches

    Do everything Laura says - not a second or a metre more - and slow down.

    Whoops, I've said 3 things too.

  • My biggest piece of advise is although you need the kit etc the main and top thing is ............. Enjoy it and want to do it ............. J

  • Arriving late to the party...

    1) don't worry about what other people will think if they see you. They won't judge you based on your silly looking running clothes. They won't judge you based on how fast you're not going. They'll just see another person going for a run. Lots of people do it, it's an ordinary thing.

    2) get the right gear. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be comfortable. Start from the bottom up. The lower down on your body, the more important it is. Shoes are the most important, then socks, then shorts/trousers/etc. Being comfortable helps immensely

    3) Don't put it off. Tomorrow never comes. The best time to go for a run is right now except:

    4) Rest days are important. Biology is slow, and you need to give it time to do its thing.

  • I'm not a graduate (yet) but one thing I've found helpful is to NOT look at the running schedule in advance. So I'd literally set off with the podcast in my ear and the first I'd know about the upcoming run is basically while I'm already out there and starting the warm up walk. This prevents any nerves or feeling daunted by what's ahead (and any likelihood of making excuses not to go out). And once you're kitted up and out there, you're a lot more likely to complete it..

  • Men - look away now 😄. My advice to larger chested ladies - get a good sports bra! As an F cup I thought running would never be for me but I bought a good bra (not an M&S 'sports' bra - a proper Shock Absorber one). It has been a revelation. It makes the whole running process so much more comfortable. Personally I think spending money on a good bra is as important as the right trainers.

  • I definitely agree, and highly recommend Bravissimo!

  • Try and make sure you eat relatively healthily at the same time - you will feel better able to complete the runs if you haven't eaten too much heavy and unhealthy food in the previous 24 hours.

    Don't get hung up about the 5k! It doesn't matter how far you get at the end of week 9 as long as you manage 30 minutes!

    Be encouraged by every little bit of progress and remember that if you managed last week, you are ready to tackle the next one.

  • I'm kind of surprised now that I think of it that there is not some Standard 'Welcome New Runners - here are the top time tested bits of advice gathered over the years from the members who thought at first they would never run for thirty minutes either" kind of prominent 'Pinned Post'

    I only started this through the sheer luck of seeing a particular comment that resonated with me - wish I had known more about what I was doing the first week or two though...

  • During the program we leave all the advice to Laura, I wouldn't want to interfere with all the great advice she gives out. Afterwards this post was pinned to share our best bits of advice. I think it moved down a bit over time, I will ping it back to the top.

  • Agree with Irish John. This has good, useful, practical advice. Some of these tips I've found out along the way but great to know that others share similar thoughts. My advice to anyone starting - as well as all the above - is to remember those rest days & not to get hung up on distance but time of runs. Everyone will ask you how far you run but actually that isn't important when starting out.

  • Do invest in proper shoes, they will prevent injury

    You will have a bad run- think of this as a necessary part of becoming a proper runner!

    The first five minutes of running are always awful!

    Listen to Laura and rejoice in the sometimes cheesy music- I am thinking of you "Julie"

    Remember that 99% of the challenge is mental, you are much stronger than you think.

    Remember that the only person judging you is yourself.

    Get outside and enjoy the world- its a great distraction.

    Arrange rewards for reaching the half way and finish points, mine were new running kit (sad).

    Keep to a steady pace, it is very tempting to speed off into disaster- I am thinking of you Week 6!

    Enjoy it, you are amazing.

  • Read as many posts as possible. There are two parts to running - physical and mental. the programme teaches you the physical part - the Forum gives you the tools to deal with the 'I just can't do this' part. You need to really see that this programme works, that you are NOT terminally unique and that there are Graduates of it - including this one - who would no doubt have been told by the 'experts' that they had little chance of succeeding.

    Read the experiences of so many who started from where you are now - then hopefully you you will stay and run with us because we are all in this together. You may run on your own, but you will never run alone as long as this Forum is around :)

  • My advice is probably the same as everyone else's - go as slowly as you need to - tortoise through treacle is the phrase that probably matches most of us at the start. Also don't worry if you don't complete all of the runs on one of your outings - the beauty of the early part of the programme is that each run is repeated - if it isn't great today - try again next time. Finally - keep going - your graduation badge is waiting! :)

  • Advice? Don't give up...I've gone from a complete wheezing couch potato who couldn't manage even 40 SECONDS on that first run six and a half months ago to having just run 8ks in 57 minutes - so if I can do it YOU CAN TOO! OH, and follow the rules - they really do make sense because Laura knows what she's talking about - rest days are there for a reason...we need will get to graduation sooner or later - good luck and enjoy (you will, mostly) and who know's you could be posting a 10k this time next year!!!! :)

  • I find that if I relax and think about other things, that helps me along. Also, reminding myself that I am out and about in the fresh air, seeing different sights and sounds , this can only be a good thing.

    I think you are all brilliant!😊

  • Trust the programme, it really does work. Ignore the gremlins, you will be running for 30mins when you finish it

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