Tag Archives: how to start running

How to Get Started as a Runner at Runner’s World

23 May

A great little article for anyone new to running and considering it – How to Get Started as a Runner at Runner’s World.


Running baby steps – Part 2.

8 Oct

Baby Harry running

I did a brief blog post a while back about ‘Running Baby steps‘ and after talking to someone in the Runnersworld forums, who had just taken up running to loose weight, I wanted to add some more meat to the subject, based on my own experiences from when I started out a few years ago.

I won’t go over my weight loss and get fit story again (but if you’re interested read my story via the Runkeeper blog, who did my story, or read the older posts in ScribsBlog) but I took up running to loose weight and it worked as I went from 14 stone to 11. The one thing I remember, and it brought the memories flooding back after talking to the newby runner, was what it was like to start running!

O MY GOD! I look back now at my early running attempts and I can still see myself running (or perhaps to be fair ‘wobbling’) down the street, reaching the end (it wasn’t far, perhaps less than quarter of a mile) and having to sit down, exhausted! If you’d told me then that I could run a half marathon or a 40 mile event I’d have politely told you to stop taking the mickie as that was impossible for someone of my physical stature!

But I did it, and I did do those things but, and there’s a lesson coming, it took time, patience and work!

We are ‘lucky’ enough to live in a society where we’re used to things being done for us with little input on our parts – the ‘instant society’ as I call it. Can you imagine life without your car, washing machine, dish washer, etc and having to perform the functions those items do ‘manually’. It might take a little longer to do the laundry and lets face it, all we have to do today is load the machine, put in the detergent and press the ‘ON’ button. Can you imagine washing each item of clothing by hand?! Unfortunately getting fit has no short cuts and that is what puts people off.

The future instant Fitness Pod?

The machine doesn’t exist – yet – where we can walk in, select our fitness level, press ‘GO’ and we’re instantly transformed into the selected body configuration. To be honest would you want such a machine? Yes it sounds like a great idea but such a device would miss one important side effect of doing it the ‘old fashioned way’ and that is the sense of achievement when you’ve completed your chosen fitness session and you think ‘YES!’.

Getting fit takes work, patience and determination (sweat, blood, tears!). Obviously the more unfit you are the more work will be involved but the sense of achievement can be a driving force for your motivation. I gave up a number of times, but looking back I know why:

  1. I tried to do too much, and expected to become fit almost over night:  There’s the ‘instant society’ attitude for you. There was zero chance of running 10 miles on my first trip out and I expected too much to soon.
  2. I then gave up too quickly & didn’t give it a chance: As soon as it became hard, with no instant results, I gave up.
  3. Self doubt: I thought I couldn’t get fit because it was just too hard! “Being fit just isn’t for me”, “I can’t do it!”, “I’m not built for it!”.

The above three ‘failure’ points are interesting in the fact that they feed and lead into each other. One leads to two, leads to three and BANG you’ve failed. Fix point one and two becomes less of a threat, which in turn annihilates point three! Do this and you’ve got a much better chance to achieve your goal.

We’ve all know someone (or done it ourselves) who has bought a load of new fitness kit only to give up a few sessions later – I talk more about this in my ‘Running Kit‘ blog post. I’ve done exactly the same thing myself, I remember buying a weight bench and dumbbells some years ago. The bench came flat packed so I spend a few hours one Sunday afternoon putting it together. Once finished I stood back and admired my hand work. That was the last time I ever touched the bench or dumbbells, until I sold them. Just because you have the kit, or an expensive pair of running shoes it doesn’t make you an instant runner, muscle man, super fit person, etc (‘instant society’ again).

So how do we fix this? How did I fix it and pushed through to loose the weight and more importantly keep it off? Easy, although hindsight is a great thing!

B A B Y   S T E P S !

What the heck are “Baby steps?”.

A baby does not learn to walk straight away, it takes time and patient (sound familiar?). One step leads to another, to another, to another and before you know it little junior is walking. Its the same with getting fit. What would happen if you tried to get a baby to walk across a room before they were ready? They would fall, fail, possibly with tears.

Instead of trying to go for long runs I set myself goals of short runs and built them up slowly. Try it!

Remember, before taking any exercise, if you are not used to it, if you feel you might have medical difficulties talk to your doctor BEFORE hand!

Start off with a small five – ten minute walk. Do this three to seven times a week, perhaps do it instead of taking the car to the shop down the street? After a couple of weeks increase the speed and time of the walk. As you get used to it keep increasing the speed/time/distant. Try to throw in some hills and different terrain to your route. After four to six weeks of doing this try breaking out into a slow jog. Perhaps mix in a burst of jogging with your walking. One good idea is to walk for 10 minutes and run for 1 minute and keep repeating. Over time increase the jogging time and you’ll soon find you can jog for longer as your body becomes stronger and fitter. Keep this up until you can run for 100% of your activity. Don’t forget to mix up your route so you don’t get board of the same surroundings.

Notice that I didn’t suggest you start running straight away. That’s one of the key lessons I learnt. I started by walking to work, which was about a 6 mile round trip. I did this two-three times a week and increased my walking speed, over time, as I got fitter. I then extended the route on the way home to increase the mileage. After doing this for a few months I started to run in the evenings and found the transition a LOT easier than if I’d tried to run from day one.

Build it up, take baby steps. Yes we can all be impatient at times, but do you want to fail or achieve? You’ve not super man and you need to build up your body and to do that you’ve got to take baby steps. I did and it worked out for me after numerous failures.

Good luck,


Update: Brooks ADRENALINE GTS 11

27 Sep

I blogged a while back about my new Brooks ADRENALINE GTS 11 trainers that I purchased after my trusty, long suffering Newtons finally started to fall apart.

As with all new equipment you “can’t just judge a book by its cover”, and I wanted to give an update on progress, now I have had time to run them in for a while.


I always get a bit concerned when buying new running footwear as it can be an expensive mistake if you find you’re not suited! And its not so easy taking them back to the shop after you’ve been out on them.

With the Brooks I can report I’ve had no issues at all and still think they are one of the best pair of running shoes I’ve ever had. Definitely as good, if not better, than the Newtons, although slightly heavier.

I’ve done over 80 miles on the Brooks, including the BUPA Great North run, and I have to say they have been very comfortable, light and breathable and I haven’t had so much as a blister! All in all an excellent purchase!

Keep that iPhone dry – Perfect ZipLock bag size!

6 Sep

I blogged while back, in my Running Kit post, about how I use Ziplock bags to keep my iPhone (running RunKeeper) dry on wet runs, a fairly common occurrence in the UK. Now, I know this isn’t the most interesting subject, but the weather can be yet another excuse not to go out, especially if you’re carrying an expensive electrical device, like a smart phone for monitoring your activity.

On those rainy days I simply pop the iPhone into my trusty ziplock bag (normally double bagging for extra safety), start of Runkeeper (yes, you can still use the iPhone through the plastic of the bags), pop it in my Photon running belt and off I go. In the past I’ve done this in anything from light drizzle to an absolute downpour and so far the ziplocks have servered me well.

The bags last a while, but aren’t really designed for extensive reuse so I do replace them every few weeks for a fresh one. They are so cheap (100 for less than £2) its not exactly a financial burden.

The only niggle was that the ziplock bag I used was 7.5″ x 5″ which meant the bag was a bit too wide for the iPhone. Not a problem as I could simply fold the extraneous bag width back across the phone. The only issue with this was that the ziplock seal was then  bent, and bending seals is not a good idea. This is probably why I opted for the double bag approach in the first place, but even then both seals (the inner and outer bag) were bent over.

Anyway, my 7.5″ x 5″ bags were running short due to wear and tear and being used by family members for other purposes, so I needed to order some more. I took the oppertunity to rethink the size issue. After a quick look on Amazon I found a ziplock bag with the dimentions of 7.5″ x 3″. I thought I’d give this version a go so I bounght 100 of them and another 100 of the 7.5″ x 5″ version, just in case.

The 7.5″ x 3″ works really well. The iPhone (iPhone 4 in case you are wondering) fits in snuggly and you can also – just – double bag it using two 7.5″ x 3″. No extraneous bag width, so no seal bending and less chance of a leak. I still double bag, but that’s just me being cautious.

For less than £2 for 100 you can’t go wrong and I have yet to find a light, slim iPhone armband or ‘jacket’ that’s downpour waterproof.

Bupa Great North run #4 – Training Back On Track!

20 Jun

OK, I’ve shaken off the man flu, sorted out my schedule and my training is back on track.

I had to put my foot down a little as my Tuesday and Thursday runs home from work were in danger of being slightly eroded by our busy family life. We manged to solve that issue and compromises were made and I’m feeling much better and everyone is happy!

I’ve started to increase the mileage on my Tuesday and Thursday runs now and I’m aiming for 8+ miles on each day this week. As for my Sunday run, I moved it to Saturday this week, and managed to incorporate it into a family event I wanted to attend, which allowed me to do a new route and I clocked up 10.7 miles. See my blog posting ‘Incorporate not Decimate‘.

So onward we go, The Great North run is getting closer and closer and will be on me before I know it!

Don’t forget if you would like to sposor me, thanks to everyone who already has by the way, then please visit my fund raising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulScribbans. I’m raising money for Children with Caner and all donations are really appreciated.

Incorporate not Decimate!

20 Jun

Life can be busy and this can be a real pain for training. Its all too easy to come up with excuses why not to train, and one of the best excuses is ‘Oh, I’m too busy’ or ‘Something important (not really) has come up’. I’ve always found the best way to combat this is to have a fixed schedule of training that MUST not be changed!

What I mean is, finding the gaps in your normal weeks schedule and slotting training into those gaps and then make them a permanent fixture. It sometimes helps to make a calendar of your week to help you identify these gaps. If something unexpected crops up, then tough! You’re busy! It’ll have to be done on a different day! NO EXCUSES!

Think of it this way, if you have kids and they do Football (Soccer to my American friends) on Monday, Karate on Tuesday and Swimming on Thursday, you wouldn’t necessarily miss an activity when a little excuse comes up, especially if you pay for those activities. These are fixed events in your week’s schedule. So why do it for your training?

In the above example, assuming you wanted to train three times a week,  you could fit it into Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, remembering that there is the opportunity to train early mornings (my favorite time is early Sunday morning before everyone is awake) or later in the evenings,  or why not train whilst going to or coming home from work, as I do.

I use the above rule to make sure I stick to my training. There is the odd occasion when something comes up, but I have to put my foot down and say “No, I’ve got something on then”. It soon becomes the ‘norm’ and it isn’t really a problem anymore.

Incorporate not Decimate! What does that mean?

Last weekend was Fathers day and we had a busy day lined up visiting parents and grandparents, I also fancied having a lie in for a change. But I normally train on a Sunday morning so the plan was to get up extra early and forget about my lie in. The thing was my son had a football tournament on the Saturday in a town 10 miles away. It suddenly occurred to me on the Saturday morning, a few hours before the tournament, that I could simply run to the event and still get my lie in on Sunday! Brilliant! I was still going to get my training in, all be it a day earlier than normal, and I’d have a different & new route to run which can really make a difference. In fact I was quite excited at the prospect of doing a fresh route which I’d never done before!

So that’s what I did. My wife took the kids in the car with a change of clothes for me – problem sorted!

Incorporate your training into the stuff you have to do, don’t Decimate your training!

Bupa Great North run #3 – Man flu!

31 May

Unbelievable! I’m now ill. I should have expected it, a lot of people in the office have been off work with server man flu – yes its that bad 😉 – so I guess its my turn!

It possibly explains why I didn’t go out at the weekend and looking back I’ve been feeling a bit ‘run’ (ha! pardon the pun) down in the past few days, which I put down to laziness but I guess it was the start of this! I hate being ill, so I’m going to take it easy for the next few days. Or at least see how i feel tomorrow. I generally fight things off fairly quickly (as advantage of being healthy so I’m told) so perhaps I can finally get some serious training in soon!

It does seem I’m having a run of bad luck with the training lately. Anyway and early night for me so good night and sleep tight. cough!

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