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'How I caught the running bug'

Article provided by NHS Choices

Aimee Albert talks about starting running, running to music, and sharing her running goals on social media.

Aimee from Colchester says running to music and sharing her goals on Facebook keep her motivated.

When did you first start running?

I started running about a month ago. I've never been any good at sport. As a child, I had mobility problems because of weak ankles and knees, and that really held me back. I'd always thought, "I can't do sport".

But I just knew I had to start leading a healthier life while I was still young. I started doing exercises to strengthen my legs and then felt I could take it a bit further. I considered joining a gym, but that's expensive, so I decided to give running a go. Anyone can run. All you need is a pair of running shoes.

How did you get started?

I did a bit of research on running shoes. I spoke to friends who were runners and looked at websites like Runner's World. I was advised to go to a specialist running shop, where staff are trained to analyse your running style and help you choose the right pair of shoes.

My local store had a treadmill, where they filmed me running to look at how my foot strikes the ground. They recommended some shoes - they're really comfy.

The next step was to search for music. I knew I didn't want to run with other people. I just wanted to get on with it by myself.

I liked the idea of running to music and I was told you could get music specifically for running. I ended up downloading AudioFuel tracks, which combine music with voiceover coaching.

Before setting off, I worked out my route using a website that maps your runs, so that I'd be home by the end of my session.

Describe your progress since starting running

Over the last month it's been great to find it less and less of a struggle to complete my 30-minute walking and jogging session. I've enjoyed it a lot more than I expected right from the start. I had a few aches in my legs after my runs in the beginning. That's normal, but it doesn't last.

I've definitely caught the running bug. Now I'm looking forward to making more progress. I want to run for longer, although not necessarily faster.

How has the running music helped?

AudioFuel produces music to match your foot stride to the beat as you run. Running to the beat makes it easy to keep to the right pace and not tire myself out too quickly by setting off too fast.

It's a nice feeling to be able to complete a 30-minute run. I didn't think I'd like the coaching. I thought it would be intrusive, but it really works. I like the encouraging words and the timekeeping. It doesn't feel intrusive at all - it just keeps you motivated and focused.

How do you feel since starting running?

I don't get tired so much anymore. I now manage to run for the full half hour. I used to reach certain points on my run where I'd feel exhausted and want to stop, but now I just keep going. I don't feel like stopping. I can see my progress.

I feel much better about myself now. I've taken action to improve my fitness. I've overcome my struggle with doing sport. Having always said to myself "I can't", I'm now actually doing it, and I'm not bad at it, which has been a real feelgood factor for me. I'm feeling fitter and more energetic.

Running's also really good for stress. When you go out for a run it all drops away, and you stop feeling cross or worried. I don't care what I look like. I've lost my self-consciousness. Everyone looks hot and sweaty, so it doesn't matter.

How do you fit running into your routine?

I like running in the evening. I'm not really a morning person. I tend to come home from work, put my shoes on and get out there. That's at around 6.30pm. It relaxes me after work and then I can have a nice relaxing bath afterwards.

Any tips for new runners?

Get a good pair of shoes, so you avoid injury. Then just get on and do it. It was raining on the day of my first run, and I just got on with it. Plan your runs at the start of each week and try to stick to a routine. Tell people you're going for a run today - your partner or your Facebook friends - then you can't get out of it.

There are days when you'd rather collapse on the sofa with a cup of tea. Try to blank out those thoughts. Just put on some feelgood music while you get ready. Don't think about it too much and get on with it.

Article provided by NHS Choices

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