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Running for St Catherine’s Hospice – Tips for getting started

Are you new to running and want to join Team StCH but are not sure where to start? Hannah, our Events Fundraising Assistant, has written this handy piece all about getting ready for your first run:

“As an employee of St Catherine’s Hospice, I have seen first hand the vital impact that donations play in helping patients when life comes full circle. The decision of which charity to run for was a simple one when I decided to take my first steps in running my first half marathon. What I didn’t count on was the impact the charity would have on my own running.

The minute you decide to run for a charity, the challenge of running is no longer solely about you.

On those wind blustering days with the rain beating against the glass on your bedroom window the last thing you want to be doing is getting up early for your training run. But once the decision has been made to run for a charity, you are given a renewed source of motivation to get outside and try your hardest as you are now running for others as well as yourself.

I am now going to share with you a few non-health related running tips that I’ve learnt through my own running journey, to help get you started:

Invest in some good running shoes

As soon as you begin running distances beyond 5K it is time to look into getting yourself some suitable running shoes. Since your feet are the part of your body that will be taking the largest impact when you run, it makes sense to invest and look after them. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on a cheap pair, it is a worthy investment that will also have an impact on your running as well as helping you to prevent future injuries. There are many places across Sussex and Surrey that you can go to get professionally tested. For instance, Horsham Up and Running have sessions that test your running and impact style in accordance with the shoes, that coincide with your running style.

Invest in some new tech

This might be a reflection of my competitiveness coming out…but look into investing in a running watch. There are so many out there to choose from all ranging in price so it doesn’t always mean that you have to spend a fortune. When you start running longer distances it helps to have a way to track your distances as well as start looking at your pace. It can also help you improve if you have the challenge of your last run to look back on as motivation for your next one. You can also upload any of your runs on to sites such as Strava. My friend and I became really competitive on Strava as neither of us wanted to be beaten in pace by the other! It is also a really friendly community of each person giving another person a virtual pat on the back “kudos” after completing a run.

Run with friends

Some of my best training runs were the ones I ran with my colleagues after work. Although scary at first, due to the fear of being left behind or others seeing how out-of-breath you are, it builds a great space to push yourself and improve as well as the chance to support and encourage others. It is a great motivator in a number of ways from getting you out on training runs in the long, dark winter months, to giving you the opportunity to push yourself and encourage others in their own running journey. Or alternatively join a running club. It is another great way to make friends as well as immerse yourself in the supportive community of running that is growing more and more each day.

Vary your route

Living in a small town with a lot hills, the novelty of running round and round the block two to three times a week quickly wore pretty thin, particularly when I started increasing my distance beyond that of 10K. There are plenty of routes around that you can try either through your running club or by researching online alongside the chance of discovering somewhere new to explore. I found that the flat straight run near Southwater Park was great for building up my mileage. I found that with my music blaring through my headphones and the tranquility of nature around me I often forgot any aches and pains and was able to fully immerse myself in the freedom and escape that running brings.

Don’t be hard on yourself 

One of the key things about running is recognising that not every run is going to be your best and not to become despondent if your time is not quite as fast as your previous one. Every run is making a difference so persevere and remember that all you can do is your best. It also doesn’t hurt to walk if you need to especially if no ones looking!

Have fun!

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! Running shouldn’t be a chore and even through the aches and pains that running sometimes brings, be assured that by running for St Catherine’s Hospice, you are making sure that every mile matters.

To find out more about joining Team StCH, call our team on 01293 447355 or email events@stch.org.uk 

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