New year, new running goals? Steph Callen’s tips to help you put your best foot forward in 2018

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN - Credit: Archant

Happy New Year. The turn of the year inspires many of us to set ourselves new fitness goals. For me, it is simply to continue running and to enjoy it. For others, I realise it may serve as the impetus to strap on those running shoes for the first time. So, if you are thinking of taking up running this year, here are a few tips I've picked up along the way which I hope will help.

Go easy on yourself.

That first run, first step as such, is always the hardest so, if you are already out there hitting the pavement, congratulations. Push past any niggling thoughts of self-doubt, but don't expect yourself to be able to cover the miles straightaway. Be patient, listen to your body and don't be frightened to take breaks.

Follow a training programme.

If you've set yourself the task of running a 5k or a even marathon, there are plenty of online training programmes you can download to take the stress out of scheduling your runs and to help you build up your distance gradually. Some programmes also contain top tips on additional strength training and nutrition.

Get the gear.

Taking up running doesn't have to break the bank, but make sure to invest in a good pair of running shoes. While it's tempting to buy shoes based on their price or style, fit and support have to be the key factors to best avoid injury. Pop by a sports store which offers a gait analysis (a study of the way you run) to find the right shoes for you.

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Seek support.

Long runs can be lonely places and when you're on your own it's all too easy to talk yourself out of running up that particularly steep hill. By joining a local running group, you'll receive encouragement from like minded people with the same ambitions as yourself. If being part of a group isn't for you, there are lots of online running communities and social networks where you can keep a track of your training, and exchange support and advice with fellow runners.

Whatever your goals this year, I wish you the best of luck.

Steph Callen is a member of Diss and District Athletics Club