If you're feeling inspired to get fit for summer, then running is one of the simplest yet most rewarding sports you can do. But getting started can at first seem difficult and overwhelming, and you may find it hard to keep going.
So to help you with your new challenge we've spoken to Ann Johansson, ultra-marathon runner and founder of sportswear label Boom Boom Athletica, for her top 10 tips on how to get started, stay motivated, and most of all, enjoy your run.
1. Set a goal
When you start running it's not about the distance or speed, it's about just enjoying your run. Do not expect that your first -- or even second -- run will be amazing, but if you give yourself realistic expectations and goals, such as run to that next tree, after a few runs you will soon realize that running is pretty magical.
2. Set long term/stretch goals
These stretch goals could be to sign up for a 5km, 10km, or half-marathon race, and are a great motivator to keep running even on days when you'd rather be at home.
3. Slow down
When you first go out running it is so easy to go all out and run fast but overdoing it in the process, and instead of feeling great you feel dejected and discouraged. Do not even think of pace when you first start off, instead run in a pace you can hold a conversation-- this ensures that you are building your aerobic endurance.
4. Buddy up
Find a friend that would like to run as well -- it helps you stay on track and is a great way to catch up. Or join a local running club to meet like-minded people who have similar passions and goals.
Create a playlist with music that you love and that inspires you to run.
6. Invest in some new kit
As a running reward, and to fuel excitement for training, why not treat yourself to some new kit. Buying a new pair of trainers or outfit encourages you to want to train and test out your new pieces as soon as you can.
If you naturally are a bit of a data junkie invest in a sports watch that can record your miles, pace, heart rate so that you can see how you progress over time and with each run.
8. Try new terrain and routes
Try new routes around your neighborhood and expand your running routes to add variety. Also try trail running, which is very different than road as there is more varied terrain with rugged up and downs.
There are great running magazines and online blogs that can provide you with endless support, help and advice. Anything from cross training, to race updates and reviews, to stretches, to how to avoid injury.
10. And lastly...
Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise, but when you first start out it can feel hard and difficult. But stick with it and you soon will enjoy the freedom of running and its mental as well as physical effects. Running clears the mind, helps you think better, puts you in a better mood, and when you return home you will always be glad that you went on the run!