Many people enjoy running on their own, as it’s a good chance to have some ‘me-time’ and clear your head after a busy day. Or it could be a good way of waking yourself up and giving you the energy for the day ahead. You can also work to your own schedule and follow a plan that works around your routine. Although some people prefer to run with others, especially beginner runners. Whether you need others with you to stay motivated, or feel safer when you have a companion by your side. Or perhaps you just enjoy the social aspect of running with a friend or partner. There are of course also plenty of ways to meet new running buddies too:
- Join a running club: Join a friendly, inclusive local club which welcomes all ages and abilities. Buddy-up with someone of the same ability as you run, and you’ll be able to progress with the help of the more experienced runners too.
- Local pub run: It may sound strange, but it actually is a thing. And it happens all over the country. It could be the perfect motivation you need, and a great way to meet other runners of all abilities.
- The gym: Running on a treadmill or having a workout at your local gym should form part of your running training plan, but it’s also a good place to meet other people who are trying to get fit too.
- Get into the racing spirit: Why not sign yourself up for a local 5k park run? It will give you a goal and something to train for, and you can get chatting to some other beginner runners too.
- Get down to your local park: You’re bound to bump into a runner or two, whatever the weather. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and you might just find yourself a new running buddie.
- Meet-ups: Are everywhere, and are a great way of meeting like-minded people. You can get tips and plan regular runs with a mix of abilities. And they’re usually free to join, and a nice social thing to do.
Download an App: There are lots of running Apps to choose from, and you can see when other locals are planning a run, or if you’re looking for a new running spot to discover.
How can I stay motivated if running alone?
We all know that it can sometimes be tough to do something we don’t want to do. Or maybe we do want to do it, but it’s easy to let other factors get in the way. If you want to start running, but are put off by dark cold evenings, or the thought of getting up at 5am fills you with dread, here are some tips which may help you stay motivated:
- Plan your runs: Work out when and where (the exact route and time) you're going to run and put it in your diary, and stick to it.
- Run on Mondays: So you can start the week as you mean to go on, and it will give you a boost for the rest of the week.
- Sign up for a 5k: Register yourself for a park run, or even a charity event so you have something to aim for.
- Be prepared: Lay out your clothes the night before a morning run, or keep a bag packed with running clothes and shoes so you can be spontaneous and fit a run in when you find yourself with some free time. And get some fun clothes that you’ll look forward to wearing.
- Listen to music: It’s scientifically proven to help boost physical performance, endurance and recovery, so put some earphones in and put on your favourite tunes.
- Track your runs: with a watch or App so you can keep a training log and follow your progress. Review your stats regularly and set yourself goals.
- Add variety: You’ll get bored or burnt out if you do the same thing every day, so add Hill Repeats, Intervals or Fartlek runs in to your routine. Or find new running routes to keep things fresh.
Soon enough, running will become a habit, and one you’ll feel weird if you don’t do as it becomes part of your routine. Keep it up, and enjoy all the health benefits running brings.
What are the best running apps for beginners?
There are lots of useful running apps which could help give you the tools and motivation you need to get your running shoes on. There are some free ones to download, like ASICS Runkeeper™ and Endomondo, which are great for tracking your runs, setting goals and following your progress. And Decathlon Coach, which is the only free app to fully prepare you for running a 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon and beyond. Others may have an upfront cost, or charge to unlock levels and features, but each offers something different and useful for beginner runners.
- Couch to 5K: is one of the best apps for running beginners. Presented in association with BBC Get Inspired, the app builds you up gradually with a mix of running and walking from couch potato, to 5k hero in just 9 weeks.
- Nike+ Run Club: is your perfect running partner. It has the tools you need to run better, including GPS tracking, audio guided runs and customised coaching plans.
- Map My Run: Under Armour’s app is good for those who need a bit of encouragement. It has great GPS tracking and gives you stats to help you improve, and it gives you voice prompts too. You can even use the detailed mapping tool to discover new run routes in your local area.
- Zombies, Run!: has to be the most entertaining running app and it’s been specifically designed for beginner runners. It gives clear and detailed workout instructions, a gentle learning curve, and all while you’re being chased by zombies for some added motivation. What’s not to love?
Whichever app you decide to go for, it will be like having a personal running coach in your pocket. So even if you prefer to run alone, you’ll always have your app to offer motivational support.