The first run is always the hardest.
I don’t actually know how much I believe this, but I will say that it is going to be hard. You can’t go from couch potato to running 5km without a little difficulty!
If you’re relatively fit, then running may feel a little easier. If you’re like me when I started (hadn’t done a drop of exercise in god knows how long), then it’ll be challenging.
There are a few things to remember, I think these are the most important:
⁃ Warm up – I’m notorious for going straight out on my runs, but a few minutes of walking and some high knees are a good place to begin to keep you feeling comfortable.
⁃ Start slow, stay steady. It’s a marathon (5k), not a sprint.
⁃ Alternate between running and walking (Couch25k).
⁃ Cool down and stretch – this is as important as your pre-run warm up, especially if you’re going to run regularly.
I kind of cast my mind back to my first run with nostalgia. It’s been a long time (and I’ve come a long way) since then, but what stays with me most is that you never stop learning.
It’s hard to convince yourself at first, but the minute you take a step out and go for a run, you are a runner. Whether you’ve been doing it for 30 years or 30 seconds, that is who you are.
I’ve often plagued myself with the pressures of time on my runs. Of course I want to be fast, everyone wants to be “fast”, but it’s very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other runners. I still do it now, as much as I know I shouldn’t.
What we should be doing, rather than comparing ourselves to other runners and how fast they’re going, is comparing ourselves to our own previous runs. When I ran my first 5km from start to finish, it took me 48 minutes. Now, my PB is 31:39. That didn’t happen overnight – and I’m still desperately trying to improve (especially on those longer distances).
Running is, ultimately, about keeping fit and doing it for yourself.
Good luck with your first run! 🏃🏻♀️