Running a marathon seems like one of the biggest challenges there is and since my first 10km in 2011 it's always been something that's been there on my "one day...maybe" list. I'm running for Leonard Cheshire Disability and you can sponsor me here. Running for a charity is a bit scary as its a lot of money to raise but it means that my (hopefully amazing) experience also benefits others - and training runs will definitely trump lie-ins if I know friends and family have donated their well-earned cash...
Tips and Kit (/gift guide for sporty friends and family)
1. Start slowly. The first time I tried running I sprinted for probably about a minute, felt like I might have a heart attack and then went home. The C25k app was a huge help in getting started - it paces you so that you build up your time running gradually and keeps you motivated.
2. Get your kit right - you don't need to spend loads of money. One of the best things about running is that its free - if you're a beginner just make sure to invest in a decent pair of trainers and a good sports bra. As you start running longer distances investing in a decent kit is worth it but doesn't have to be expensive - Sports Direct and outlet stores are you friends. (Yes, I had a momentary freak out and thought I was a card theft victim the first time I saw Sports Direct on my online banking).
3.Pair up - find a friend to run with. Personally, I prefer running as me-time but occasionally running with a friend is a great way to shake things up and you're less likely to cancel on a friend than on yourself, right? Bonus - you can go for brunch afterwards.
4. Sign up to races - when I first started running I signed up to a 10k so that I wouldn't give up. The distance sounded terrifying as I could only run for 20 minutes but I did it! Since then I've done loads of 10ks and a few half marathons. Despite being the most uncompetitive person races are so much fun, it's always an amazing feeling to running with so many other people - think of it like a festival, only sweatier and without the alcohol.
5. Enjoy it! Running isn't for everyone so if you've tried the tips above and still don't like it then don't force yourself to do something you hate, life's too short and there are so many other forms of exercise. And if you are a runner, enjoy it - I'm never going to be super speedy but I love running despite not being naturally "good" at it. And somehow, its a little harder to berate your legs for not being long enough and thin enough when they've just run 13 miles.
Yes, female running gear is dominated by pink - no complaints from me! This Adidas Water Bottle is great for staying hydrated on longer runs (something I need to practice), running in the chilly weather will be easier with these Adidas Leggings (channel your inner Sporty Spice), embrace the pink with these Nike Trainers (love the retro air bubble sole), I'm a big fan of Nike Shorts and these patterned ones are super cute, the Fitbit Activity Tracker tracks distance and calories so is a great motivator, finally a sports bra is a must and this Nike Sports Bra is one of the prettiest I've seen!
Are you a runner? What's the biggest challenge you've set yourself?