Running is free, you can do it anywhere, and it burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise.Regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

Regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

This guide is designed to make running a safe and enjoyable experience for beginners, and to provide you with tips on how to stay motivated.

Before you start

  • Running requires very little equipment, but we advise on a good pair of trainers, does not have to be branded and you don’t need to go to a specialist to pay thousands of $$$ to get the perfect pair. The shoes need to suit your foot type to help with comfort.  However, note that the shoe’s structure weakens over time, especially with regular use. Running experts advise replacing running shoes every 300 miles (482km).
  • Women should consider using a sports bra, which is sturdier than a regular bra and provides additional support.
  • If you’ve not been active for a while, you may want to build your fitness levels gently with our guide to walking for fitness and health before you move on to running.
  • Plan your runs. Work out when and where (the exact route and time) you’re going to run and set a reminder on your phone or diary (if you still carry a diary). That way, it won’t slip your mind.
  • If you feel out of shape, or you’re recovering from injury or worried about an existing condition, see your physiotherapist before you start running.

Starting out

To avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it’s essential to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several outings.

Start each run with a gentle warm-up of at least five minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs.

Start walking for an amount of time that feels comfortable. 

When you first start out, try alternating between running and walking during your session (5 minute run, 5 mins walk).

As time goes on, make the running intervals longer until you no longer feel the need to walk.

For information on good running technique, book an appointment with your physiotherapist.

Give yourself a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and a doing few stretches. Try our post run stretch routine.

Regular running for beginners means getting out at least twice a week. Your running will improve as your body adapts to the consistent training stimulus.

It’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run six times one week and then do no running for the next three weeks.

Staying motivated 

Set yourself a goal

Whatever your level, setting challenges is useful to stay motivated. Training for a race, such as a 5K, or a charity run is a good way to keep going. Find a running event near your town.

Run with a friend

It really helps to have someone about the same level of ability as you to run with. You’ll encourage each other when you’re not so keen to run. You’ll feel you don’t want to let your running partner down, and this will help motivate you. 

Keep a diary

Keep a diary of your runs. Note down each run, including your route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt. That way, whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by how much you’ve improved. Take picture, share of facebook, twitter,Instagram…

Mix it up

Keep your running interesting by adding variety. Running the same route over and over again can become boring. Vary your distances, pace and routes.

Join a club

A running club is the perfect way to commit to running regularly. Most clubs have running groups for different levels, including beginners. Clubs are also a great way to find running partners to run with outside of club sessions.  Find out to join the Windhoek City Runners Club, NMC social runs and events in different towns around Namibia.