It’s not just the aching feet and burning thighs that put people off running. Eliminate these niggles and you’ll enjoy every run more.
Don’t eat just before (or during)
You need energy to run, of course. You probably don’t need an almond croissant worth of energy five minutes before, though. Try to stock up last minute and you’ll be rewarded with stitch, stomach cramps, and an early finish to your session. When you’re new to running, we’d suggest avoiding solid food for an hour or two before you go out and waiting a good three or four hours after a big meal, if you’re an evening runner.
Get a proper, fitted sports bra
If you’re over a B-cup then this will have occurred to you straight away, but trying to run in anything other than a proper, compressive sports bra is really unpleasant. For well-endowed women it’s positively painful, but even those of you who think you’ve barely got boobs will change your minds once they’re bouncing around every which way on your run. Get fitted in person and try a range of bras to find the one that works best for you. Expect to pay upwards of £30 for a decent model.
Carry blister plasters
New shoes are the worst culprits for causing blisters but upping your mileage, changing your surface or running in hot conditions can all create this problem. In other words, you don’t’ really know when a blister could pop up and despite its small size, it’ll be enough to wreck a good run (and a few more runs afterwards). When you feel one coming on while you’re out, if you can pop a cushioned blister plaster on before it gets too bad, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.
In fact, carry everything… better
We know what you’re thinking – but where will I carry these blister plasters? Realising quickly that your favourite tote bag is not the most run-friendly accessory, you might waste valuable mental effort juggling your phone, keys, money and anything else you want to take out just in case. Stash it all in a Flipbelt or similar, and you’ll never drop every valuable item you own in the park again.
Lube up (seriously)
There’s one thing people don’t like to talk about when they talk about running, and that’s lube. You will be amazed which parts of your body find things to rub against when you’re running: anything from an innocuous looking bra strap to thoroughly inoffensive bit of thigh can leave you red raw from chafing.
Checking the weather forecast before each run is a sensible precaution (or try our low-tech alternative: looking out of the window). But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in years of running, it’s that you’re far more likely to overheat than to get too cold. So even if it’s blowing a gale, think twice before wearing five layers, a hat, gloves and your welly socks. You’ll be laden down with hot, sweat-soaked kit before you know it. If you want to err on the side of caution, invest in a super-light windproof shell jacket that you can pack down into a pocket.
Find the right hairband
Please skip this if you have short hair, but if it’s at the jaw-line or below, do not underestimate the power of a decent hair bobble to ensure you stay out for your full, allocated run time! Like your boobs, your hair takes on a mind of its own when you’re running. It’s in your mouth, your eyes, up your nose, tangled in your zips… Just get it tied back and find a good enough hairband that you won’t have to stop and re-do it every five strides. It’ll be the best couple of quid you ever spend.