Where to run
If you are new to running, one of the first challenges is to figure out where you can run.
Look at a map of your local area, and see what there is in the way of green spaces, such as parks. There are often footpaths alongside rivers and canals. If you know a nearby cycling shop, you may be able to buy a map that shows cycling routes, which are often also suitable for running.
There may be running routes for your area on the. Best of all, members of your local running club will know running routes in your area.
How to measure the distances of your routes
There are several ways to measure the distances of your running routes:
- there are running websites such as MapMyRun and RunningAhead on which you can mark out your route, and it will tell you how far you have gone;
- you can buy GPS watches which track how far and how fast you have run; (I love my Garmin Forerunner 310);
- you can download software to a smartphone (such as iPhone, Android phones and Nokia) which tracks your route; this software is often free;
- if the route is on roads, you may be able to drive a car round them and use the car’s distance meter;
- if you have a bike with a cycling computer, you can use this to measure the distance;
Running to and from work
One way to introduce running into a busy life is to run to or from work, or even both. Whether this works for you depends on the distance, and whether you have facilities at work for showering and changing. Some runners keep a selection of clean clothes in the office, which they refresh once a week on their rest day, taking home the week’s dirty clothes.
“I recall a mediocre athlete many years ago … His coach told him he should go for the 10km event, but the mileage the coach asked him to do was so extensive that the athlete, a carpenter by trade, who travelled long distances to work, could not fit it in. The answer was to run to and from work. However, at the time, his work-site was 15 miles away. He was undaunted by the prospect and ran the 30 miles involved daily, five days a week. He rested Saturday and Sunday. This athlete, Roger Matthews, became the 4th fastest 10km runner in the world in 1970.
Frank Horwill (founder of the British Milers’ Club)
If you can figure out the logistics, you may find that running to work is the best way to fit running into your day. Often it does not take any more time than travelling on public transport or driving. If you have a long journey, you may find that you can run to or from a railway station or bus stop which is one stop further away from your home.
There are several rucksacks available which are designed for running. These have compression straps to reduce bounce. Visit a local specialist running shop to see what is available. You might also want to invest in a travel towel, which is like a chamois leather and light and easy to carry, and are available from most camping shops.