Absolute beginner

Hi all,

I'd really like to get running. But am really daunted and don't know where to begin. Can someone please advise on the basics (super basic, apologies in advance)...

Running shoes - I don't have trainers. And am intimidated by sports shops and sports shoes!

Please advise. What do I need? What should I be looking for? How much even is a decent shoe?


Then, once I have the runners, what's next? How long do you warm up/down/run etc.

Please do talk to me like you're addressing a 6 yo, I'm that much of a novice.

Help, advice and links all MUCH appreciated!

Many thanks in advance

El :-)


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22 Replies

  • Hi and welcome!

    As far as shoes are concerned, you will need trainers but don't spend a fortune until you are sure running is for you. You could pop into Sports Direct or similar and ask for their help in picking a running shoe. They will help you choose the right type and you should be able to pick some up for £30-£40. Some proper running socks make a difference too.

    If you are a woman, a supportive sports bra is a must too!

    Then you simply download week one of the podcasts on this site, and do what Laura, the instructor on the podcasts tells you! She'll talk you through it all.

    Thousands of us have been guided through the programme to become regular runners after a lifetime of idleness.

    You won't regret it. Just take it nice and steady and come here to share your triumphs or when you need some encouragement.

    Let us know how it goes!

  • I agree with everything Ully says apart from the advice about shoes...(Sorry Ully) proper running shoes are really important if you don't want to get injured, and will cost about £110 in a good sport shop. They will put you on a tread mill and examine your running style - don't worry it only takes about 25 seconds! They will then help you choose proper shoes for your style, and guess what? If you don't get on with them you can take them back for a refund or exchange! Can't really complain about that can you? SD don't offer that deal, you could possibly try several pairs before you find suitable shoes from the, so I reckon your quids in with a proper shop. You can always order from the internet too once you know what you need, normally about 40% off, but of course, no guarantees...

    Yes, to the advice about bras, very important! And also about the podcasts, Laura will look after you and hold your hand all the way through the programme.

    don't forget to come back and tell us how you're getting on - good luck xx

    Here's the link to the podcasts

    google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j... .

  • hi ladies, thanks a million for this!

    I'm going to get my shoes asap (I didn't even think of socks!).

    I'm actually feeling a bit excited now.

    Will get listening to podcast this evening. Do they advise on warming up etc?

    Thanks again!


  • Running socks do make a difference, those you can buy cheap in SD... the podcasts include your warm up and cool down

    Be careful though, this running lark is quite addictive, soon you'll be drooling at ads for running tights....

    Oh by the way, it's obligatory to post a pic of your shoes! XXX

  • Double skinned socks are the way to go - lovely and blister free :-)

  • Although for the 9 weeks of C25k you really don't need to worry about socks. Normal sports socks will be fine.

  • Depends - I suffered for ages with friction problems on the ball of my foot, in both trainers and walking boots - even small distances. I never knew such things as double skinned socks existed - so if you get blisters, I'd recommend the socks :-)

  • Laura takes you through everything - you basically walk briskly for 5 minutes athte beginning and end - but the podcast tells you what to do when - you don't have to think about anything other than concentrating on the running. I am an overweight lady approaching 50 - and after 8 weeks am running constantly for 25 minutes which is something I have never done in my life before.

    My advice? Go at your own pace, this is not a race - and stick with it. The programme gently moves you up the gears almost without you realising it. And if you feel like stopping during a run, just think about your muscles - are they really exhausted, or is it just your mind telling you that they are? Divorcing the mental from the physical is key for me...

    Good luck with it - I have to say I have really enjoyed the programme and am nearly there - great sense of achievement!!! Remember, if you are moving, you are improving!

  • this is an amazing post, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I like this mantra too: if you're moving, you're improving! I'll keep that in mind, thank you :)

  • You don't need to pay megabucks for shoes to start with, you could start c25k with comfy pair of slipons, as I did for first few weeks. A pair of New balance 680 v2 which I first bought are under £30 on Amazon at the moment. Good luck..

  • Hi El, and welcome to the C25K group. There are lots of people at all stages of the programme and beyond who can help and encourage you here and share in your ups and downs. Don't be a stranger.

    As for shoes, when I started (middle of June this year) I went to Decathlon and bought their own basic running shoes line Kalenji Ekiden 200 (currently £32.99). There were helpful descriptions above each type of shoe describing the type of running and number of miles/km they were designed for. These have done me fine as a starter shoe and I am now considering buying some new shoes as they are starting to wear out - averaging 5k per walk/run (I go round a couple of lakes that is pretty much exactly 5k) they've done 390km since I bought them, carrying my initial 18.5 stone, now 17 stone, weight. I notice that Decathlon are currently selling some top brands at reduced prices on their website (www.decathlon.co.uk), for example Asics Gel Runmiles for £39.99 from £64.99.

    Whatever shoes you get, listen to Laura (the podcast trainer) and follow her instructions, and don't forget to take those rest days in between runs - as important for making your body better, faster, stronger as the running itself.

    Good luck - come back and tell us how you get on.

  • Hello, thank you for this reply and all your advice and encouragement. Sounds like you're doing amazing, well done!

    Now, I need to get up off my behind and follow your good example :)

  • Welcome and all the best!

    Just to add to the wealth of advice, some good info in these links (apologies if you have already read!):




  • Good luck and don't forget to keep us posted as to your progress!

  • To warm up walk quite fast for 5 minutes, and add in some bottom kicks, and high knees. Looks a bit like John Cleese but it's worth it. To cool down walk for 5 minutes. You should look on the net for some stretches you can do during your cool-down

    Running kit can be as simple as shorts and a t-shirt. Once you know you'll keep running, buy a technical/dry-fit t-shirt or two, and running running shorts/tights. Any socks will do to start, but running socks are better (dual skin and/or compression). If you are a lady a sports bra is required. If you are a gent (especially if overweight) then beware of chafed nipples. I have to use a compression top, but you can also get tape to apply over them. If you doubt that this is a problem, there are some horrible pictures of men completing marathons with two lines of blood running down their chest. <Shudder>

    Shoes are a nightmare. Getting your gait analysed at a running shop is a good idea, but the shoes will be expensive £100+. There are various DIY tools to advise on gait and these are fairly accurate. You can get shoes off Amazon etc a lot cheaper than most shops. I was told that I, like most other beginners, need shoes for mild pronation. I have shoes from Asics, New Balance and Brooks, and there are loads of others. If you prefer trail running, then trail shoes don't have such niceties, but they don't work well on pavements/tarmac. Make sure you get a half or full size bigger than normal shoes.

    It's not so complicated as it sounds. PM me if you are unclear about anything.

  • Almost everybody starts C25K with apprehension and self doubt but you seem to have it in spades!

    Don't worry too much about it, relax, I'll bet that in a few weeks you'll be kicking yourself for being so anxious and what's more, you'll be giving the same advice to nervous beginners!

    You'll get tons of support from this site, I know I have.

    Just get out there and do it, we're all here for you. :)

  • Welcome to the forum and this amazing programme

    Yes , just download the podcasts ( yes its was really simple , even for a complete pooter numpty like me )

    Then start with Week 1 Run 1 with the lovely Laura.

    Slow and steady is the way , just take your time and if you don't for some reason manage to complete a run , just try it again . There is no time limit to graduation , some do it in the 9 weeks , some take longer, it really doesn't matter honestly.

    Keep posting on here as it really is a fantastic , supportive place , you will be fine , try not to worry too much :-)

    Good Luck ! :-) xxx

  • I have a pair of trainers that cost around £25 from Sports Direct and they are brilliant. I am not working so on a tight budget and waited until my birthday to get some running tights and tops, they last well too and are inexpensive too. The Couch to 5K Podcasts are downloadable and they run over 9 weeks so just listen to them and follow what Laura says and keep coming to the Forum

  • I just ran in my 6 yr old trainers and shorts and Tshirt until I graduated. I don't think you need to spend more than £30-£40 on your first pair. You won't be running vast distances. You will probably need wick effect clothes after a while, although it was hot when I started and I get really hot running. I didn't buy anything new until wk 7. However I now keep buying stuff as I fell in love with running.

  • Rlear, I just read your post as 'I just ran in my 6 yr old's trainers' & I was thinking Wow! You must have tiny feet!

    I've spent the morning nagging my class of 8 year olds to 'read the question properly' in a maths test. Oh dear....

  • I got SD Karrimor Tempo more than two years ago and I'm still using them, not all the time but they're still fine. I wore them today in fact. They were cheap as chips.

    C25k is fun!!!!! Take it very steady though. Slow is the key to the success of it. Just be prepared to take your time, which for us beginners is what we want to hear

    good luck. Just do it!

  • Hello all you lovely people!

    Many apologies for the radio silence, work took over and all personal life took a back seat.

    I can't thank you all enough for your advice, encouragement and help. What with work and life and self-doubt, if you hadn't all replied I'm pretty sure I'd have shelved the idea once again.

    Once I get past Tuesday, I've time to buy some trainers and get myself started. I will be posting pics :)

    Downloading the podcasts now. And looking forward to my John Cleese funny walks!

    So sorry for not replying individually to each of you, but please know I'm sending you a big thank you


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