Starting running ?

Why do you run ?

  • To maintain fitness level - required by the job

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Training for a specific event

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • To catch a bus

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • To get away from body fascists and health freaks!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Run? I'm lucky if I can walk to the fridge and back....

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Book Reviewer
From time to time ,people using ARRSE ask some straight forward questions about how to start and build on their running ability. Sometimes its for a recruit test, sometimes its a charity event like the 'Breast Cancer 'Run for Life' 5K events, others just want to get a bit fitter for their own reasons.

The attached dit is , er, borrowed from the Runners World site ( which is one of the best places to get info on running) and is just one of many sources of advice. To me, the guy is saying a lot of useful stuff in a fairly concise way. Anyway, FWIW:


The 15 Beginner Essentials
By Joe Henderson

Here are those lessons. Think of them as crib sheets for your basic ‘running course’. Learn them, and you can make it through your first running efforts with flying colours.

1 Welcome to the start line
This might be your first try at running, or a return visit, or an attempt to improve on what you already do. The less running you’ve done recently, the more you can expect to improve your distances and speeds in the next 10 weeks. On the other hand, the less you’ve run lately, the more likely you are to hurt yourself by doing too much, too soon. That’s why it’s so important to set two related goals as you start or restart your running programme – to maximise improvements, and to minimise injuries. You win by improving. You lose by getting hurt.

2 Buy the right shoes
Shoes are the biggest equipment expense for runners, so it’s important to get this right. Spend wisely by buying well-made shoes from a serious brand. Search out a model that fits you properly, and is designed for the surface you’ll run on most often – road, track, or trail. If you’re not sure which shoe will work best for you, go to a specialist running shop where staff can advise you (there is a list of such shops at the back of this magazine). After you buy your shoes, remember that even the best have a limited lifespan. Plan to replace them after about 350-500 miles of wear.

3 Make a plan
The two basic raw materials for a running routine are time and space. And the two main reasons given by those who don’t run? ‘I don’t have time for it’, and, ‘I don’t have anywhere to do it’. Let’s dissect those excuses. You can run well and get in great shape with as little as a 30-minute session every other day. Think of it as the time you won’t waste by watching TV. As for finding places to run, anywhere that’s safe for walking is also fine for running. Off-road routes (parks, bike paths, playing fields) are better than busy streets, and soft surfaces (grass and dirt) are better than paved ones, but any choice is better than staying at home. Map out the best courses in your immediate neighbourhood. That saves time, solves the ‘place’ issue and makes it much more likely that you’ll actually do your planned runs.

4 Take the mile trial
Friends who hear that you’ve begun running will soon ask what your best mile time is – so you might as well get used to it. Before long, you’ll be calculating your pace per mile on longer runs, but you should begin with a simple one-mile test run (four laps on a standard track) to determine your starting point. Think of this run as a pace test, not a race. Run at a pace a little beyond easy, but less than a struggle, and count on improving your mile time in later tests as your fitness improves.

5 Get F.I.T .
Kenneth Cooper, a giant in the fitness field, long ago devised a simple formula for improving as a runner. Run two to three miles, three to five days a week at a comfortable pace. It’s easier to remember as the F.l.T. formula: frequency (at least every other day); intensity (comfortable pace); and time (about 30 minutes). Even with some walking breaks, you can cover two miles in 30 minutes, and you might soon be running three miles in that time. It’s important to run these efforts at an easy, comfortable pace. Think of yourself as the Tortoise, not the Hare. Make haste slowly.

6 Find your pace
We’ve told you to make it comfortable, which sounds simple. The problem is that most novice runners don’t know what a comfortable pace feels like, so they push too hard. As a result, they get overly fatigued and discouraged, or even injured. Here are some more guidelines. A comfortable pace is one to two minutes per mile slower than your trial mile time. Or you can use a heart-rate monitor and run at 65 per cent of your working heart rate. (To calculate effort based on your WHR, subtract your resting heart rate from your max – eg 200-40 = 160WHR. Then calculate 65 per cent of that = 104, and add it back onto your resting rate = 144 target heart rate). Alternatively, listen to your breathing. If you aren’t gasping for air, and you can talk while you’re running, your pace is about right.

7 Remember to warm up and cool down
Don’t confuse a little stretching with a good warm-up. Stretching exercises generally don’t make you sweat or raise your heart rate, which is what you really want from a warm-up. A proper warm-up begins with walking or running very slowly to ease your body into the session. Try walking briskly for five minutes (about a quarter of a mile), and then break into your comfortable running pace. (Don’t count the warm-up as part of your run time or distance.) When you finish your run, resist the urge to stop. Instead, walk another five minutes to cool down more gradually. After this is the best time for stretching – when your muscles are warm and ready to be stretched a little.

8 Don’t hesitate to walk
Walk is not a four-letter word for runners. Pausing to walk during a run is not a form of cheating, but a common practice among experienced runners. It is a form of interval training that breaks a big piece of work into smaller pieces, making it more manageable. Mix running and walking in these cases: when you’re starting to run for the first time; to regain fitness after a long lay-off, injury or illness; to warm up before a run, and to cool down afterwards; to make your fast running faster, which is the classic use in interval training; to make long runs longer; and to make easy runs easier. You’ll find that walk breaks work best when you walk for at least one minute but no longer than five minutes.

9 Run safely at all times
The biggest threat you’ll face as a runner on the road, by far, is the car. Traffic zips past you. A moment’s lapse in attention from either you or the driver can bring disaster, and you’ll be the one to suffer – not them. The best way to lower this risk is to avoid running near roads. But for many of us, this is a near impossibility, or it’s an approach that adds time and complexity to our routine (if we have to drive to a park, for example). So most of us just learn to be extremely cautious on the roads. Try to find quiet roads with wide pavements; run on the right side of the road, facing traffic; obey traffic signs and signals; and follow every road rule your parents taught you. Run as if every car is a lethal weapon.

10 Use pain as your guide
Runners get hurt. We rarely hurt ourselves as seriously as skiers or rugby players, but injuries do happen. Most are musculoskeletal, meaning that we recover rapidly when we take days off or other appropriate action (like ice treatment). And most are self-inflicted – we bring them on by running too far, too fast, too soon or too often. Prevention is often as simple as a change of routine. If you can’t run steadily without pain, mix walking and running. If you can’t run-walk, simply walk. If you can’t walk, cycle. If you can’t cycle, swim. As you recover, climb back up this fitness ladder.

11 Pay attention to your form
Running form is as individual as a fingerprint and is too inborn to change very much. But, with practice, you can improve your efficiency. Run upright, not with a pronounced forward lean. Look toward the horizon, not at your feet. Run faster by increasing your stride turnover, not by overreaching with each stride. On uphills, shorten your stride and drive more with the arms. Try to maintain even effort, not pace. When running downhill, let gravity work for you by leaning forward slightly.

12 Eat and drink the right foods
Sports nutrition is a big topic. But, in general, the rules for good nutrition and fluid consumption are the same for runners as for everyone else. Three areas of special interest to runners: (1) control your weight, as extra pounds will slow you down; (2) eat lightly after training and racing; (3) drink 250-500ml of water or energy drink an hour before running, as dehydration can be dangerous.

13 Stretching and strengthening
Running is a specialised activity, working mainly the legs. If you’re seeking total-body fitness, you need to supplement your running with other exercises. These should aim to strengthen the muscles that running neglects, and stretch those that running tightens, which means strengthening the upper body and stretching the legs. Add a few minutes of strengthening and stretching after your runs, because that’s when these exercises tend to do the most good.

14 Follow the hard day/easy day training system
Most runs need to be easy. This is true whether you’re a beginner or an elite athlete. (Of course, the definition of easy varies hugely; an easy mile for an elite runner would be impossible for many beginners or even experienced runners.) As a new runner, make sure you limit yourself to one hard day a week. Run longer and slower than normal, or shorter and faster than normal, or enter a short (5K) race and maintain your best pace for the entire distance.

15 Congratulate yourself
One of the great beauties of running is that it gives everyone a chance to win. Winning isn’t automatic; you still have to work for success and risk failure. But in running, unlike in other sports, there’s no need to beat an opponent or an arbitrary standard (such as ‘par’ in golf). Runners measure themselves against their own standards. When you improve a time or increase a distance, or set a personal best in a race, you win – no matter what anyone else has done on the same day. You can win even more simply by keeping at it for the long haul, for years and decades. You don’t have to run very far or fast to outrun people who have dropped out. It’s the Tortoise and the Hare all over again. Slow and steady always wins the most important race.


Disclaimer: Unlike Joe Henderson, I'm not a PTI or a physical fitness trainer. Just an ordinary bloke who runs a bit. There are plenty of people out there who run faster, further and with more style than me.

<< Courrez - Les journos! >> :lol:

Le Chevre


Book Reviewer
I need to start running again, since i stopped playing rugby, all that lovely muscle loved by the ladies (and some of those blokes who kept throwing soap at me) its not got quite the same consistency as it once had.

But my trainers are so far away!!!



War Hero
When will thease shoes be out?or did they fail?


Book Reviewer
Came out in Sept 2004. lot of threads on ARRSE about them. try

OR use the infamous ARRSE search option !

The Army Ben Fund just sold off about 35 pairs knocked down. I got a pair but haven't had a good chance to road test them yet.

Apparentely a lot of PRI shops have also stocked them at a discounted rate.
Always ask for the Service discount!

Good all round shoe with enough traction to cope with the occasional off-road trot.

I wouldn't pay what UK Gear are asking for them on their website - they'd shift many more if they repriced....

Le Chevre

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