Why I started running and how you can get running too

It’s that time of year again.

Why I started runningThe London Marathon is fast approaching and men and women across the UK are visualising themselves running down The Mall arms aloft to the roaring approval of the crowd.

You’re not? Just me then!

Actually I was lucky enough to run the London marathon in 2009 so I know exactly what it’s like to run down the Mall to the roar of the crowd – or more specifically my parents who I could easily hear above everyone else!

I love running – I’m not very fast but I can cover long distances and 26.2 miles is my favourite.

I’ve been running for around 15 years. I started not long after I gave up smoking.

I replaced cigarettes with chocolate hobnobs and consequently put on weight. So I started running – purely as a weight management tool.

And to a certain extent it worked – I certainly got smaller, sort of compacted, but my body shape didn’t change.

I still had a pot belly and when I crossed the finishing line of the London Marathon in 2009 my little pot belly wobbled across a few milliseconds ahead of the rest of me!

If you want to lose weight there are far easier ways to do it and you can read precisely how to HERE

There’s so much more to running than shedding a few pounds.

Running has enormous health benefits and reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. It can also relieve stress, tension and anxiety, increase energy levels and help you enjoy a better nights sleep.

There’s also the shopping of course.

Shoes are the most important piece of running kit you’ll buy so be sure to get a proper fitting. Ladies should invest in a good sports bra too. Other than that wear what you feel comfortable in.

There’s lots of technical gear available which will keep you dry, cool you down or keep you warm, but if you’re new to running, shoes and a good sports bra are all you need.

Once running becomes your thing there’s a multitude of both clothing and gadgets to spend your money on.

Knowing why you’re running makes getting out the door much easier. Whether it’s weight loss, a charity run or your first marathon having a goal keeps you focused and motivated.

Find a training plan suited to your goal, current fitness level and the time you have available to train. Schedule training runs in your calendar as you would with any other appointment and you’re much less likely to skip them.

Running has it’s own jargon and magazines and training plans are full of them.

Here are a few terms you may come across:

Tempo – this is all about running under ‘controlled discomfort’ and there’s no chatting during a tempo run! You should just be able to utter four or five words at a time.
Fartlek – a Swedish word meaning ‘speed play’, a fartlek is run at varying paces of your choice.
Interval – specified efforts of running at a fast pace with slower, recovery periods between intervals.
Long run – these develop stamina and are as much about time on your feet as distance, especially if you’re a new runner or training for your first marathon.

There are distances and events to suit all abilities of runner. Park Run is a great place to start and for some of you VLM will be your long term goal.

If you’re running on 24 April soak up the atmosphere, let the crowd carry you through the tough times and above all enjoy it. I’ll be in the crowd this year cheering my husband on.

About the author

Julie Dennis is a weight loss specialist for women over 40 and through menopause. She is WATC's new fitness and health blogger. Follow Julie’s blog or visit: www.juliedennis.net.

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