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So You Want To Start Running?

AI image of an adult woman running on a suburban street, I want the angle to be low looking at the feet

I was about to turn 40 when I decided to get back into running again. Why not? It’s mostly “free” right? I had been fit and active in years gone past, then I got serious on my career, small people came in to my life.  Now I was carrying some extra weight and was getting breathless when playing with my kids. All I needed were the shoes and shorts I already had. And a new watch, don’t forget the watch! If it’s not on Strava did it actually happen?

My story isn’t unique. Many of the super humans who come through Myomasters have a similar story – they want to move, it’s been a while since they have, and maybe their joints are creakier than they once were, and why do I hurt in strange places all of a sudden!

Not everyone has time or money for a gym.  Running might just be what you need.  Sure the physical benefits are numerous, but it’s also good for mental well-being, and you can also connect with some pretty awesome people just like you.

Here are five excellent tips to get you on the right track.


Tip 1: Start Slow and Steady

It might sound obvious but going too hard too soon is the number one cause of injury and quitting your new passion.  Find a good plan (like Couch to 5K), or an understanding friend, and begin with walking, then progressing to run/walk intervals. It won’t take long before the intervals get longer and your running distance steadily improves.  You will substantially reduce your risk of injury and gradually build your endurance. Remember, consistency is more important than speed at this stage. And celebrate your PBs (it doesn’t have to be on Strava).


Tip 2: Invest in Proper Footwear

The worn out trainers at the back of your wardrobe might get you through the first few runs, but good running shoes are essential for preventing injuries. Visit a sports shoe store, or a specialised running store like The Running Company, for a proper fitting to ensure you get the right pair for your feet. Proper footwear enhances your comfort, reduces the risk of blisters and can reduce injuries. Consider replacing your shoes every 300-500 kilometres to maintain their effectiveness.


Tip 3: Find Some Running Buddies

Do you get bored when running, or feel alone? Like any activity (physical, spiritual, hobby), having a friend to share your journey with is more likely to keep you motivated for longer. A running buddy will help to keep you on track, you’ll feel safer, and more connected.  It doesn’t have to be for every run.  Don’t know where to find a buddy? Check out Running Mums Australia.  Or why not head to your local Park Run? You don’t even have to run all or any of it.  What you will find is a crowd of people of all ages of all abilities gathered together on a Saturday morning for to run/walk together. Trust me. You’ll love it.


Tip 4: Incorporate Strength and Flexibility Training

As you progress, you’ll want to mix things up.  A well-rounded fitness routine includes more than just running. Incorporate body weight training exercises like squats and lunges to build muscle and improve stability. And don’t forget flexibility exercises and stretching routines help prevent injuries and improve your range of motion. Yoga can also be a great addition to your routine for both strength and flexibility.  There are heaps of free programs on Youtube, or you cold try a structured paid plan like Dynamic Runner.


Tip 5: Listen to Your Body

Old school thinking was to run through the pain, and if you feel sore you just need to do more running. Fortunately science has progressed and we can now prove that this thinking is rubbish.  You need to incorporate rest into your week.  And trying to go flat out all the time will only burn you out, if you don’t break down first.  Go back to Tip 1 – slow and steady, and find a running program, or by now you might even want a running coach.  Paying attention to your body’s signals is crucial to avoid overtraining. Rest when needed and don’t ignore pain, as it can be a sign of potential injury. Gradually increase your distance and intensity to give your body time to adapt. Remember, it’s better to take an extra rest day than to push through pain and risk a long-term injury.  Fuel your body well. And as you prepare for that first fun run, schedule massage to help you to prepare and recover.


“I’ll never run a marathon”.  I’ve heard that so many times before. What starts as a saunter around the block progresses to Park Run, which becomes your first fun run, then a 10KM, then City2Bay then a half marathon and, I think you can guess the rest. 

Getting started with running can be a rewarding journey if approached with the right mindset and preparation. Start slow, invest in good shoes, follow a realistic training plan, incorporate strength and flexibility exercises, and always listen to your body. Enjoy the process and stay consistent, and you’ll soon experience the many benefits of running.

David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage located in Hope Valley in the north east of Adelaide.  He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies.  He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.