At the beginning of each year people usually set goals for themselves for the year ahead. Everyone has different goals, some people set goals for the number of books they would like to read before the year ends whilst others set fitness goals.  Whatever goal you set for yourself, it is valid and you should go out there and smash it.

A lot of people ask me what is it that they need to start running because they are unfit or they have never ran before. Some want to have all the “right things” in place before they start running or some simply don’t know how to start. Below are some of the tangible and intangible things that I think people need to get from the couch to at least 5KM.

1. A Prepared Mind

Most people fail to run before they even start. Starting something for the first time is usually challenging and requires a shift in the mindset, you got to tell yourself that you can do it. This might sound a bit cliché but it’s true, many marathon runners will also tell you that you after the half way mark it is your mind that will carry you through the race when your body fails you. Being mentally prepared is equally important as your physical preparation.

2. Comfortable Clothes

The beauty about running is that it a low-maintenance sport compared to cycling for example.  To ensure that you have the best experience running, you need to wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for different weather conditions e.g track suits, shorts, tights, vests etc. Nylon and polyester fabrics are usually good because they are sweat-wicking, breathable and non-absorbent. Ladies would need supportive sports bras.

3. Good Running Shoes

If there is one thing you need to invest in for running is a good pair of shoes. You need to get the right shoes for you because a good shoe for me may not necessarily be good for you. Wearing the wrong the shoe whilst running can cause you injuries. To find out which shoe is good for you, visit specialist active gear store such as The Sweatshop where experts can evaluate your foot and running style and recommend the right shoes for you.

4. Watch/Phone/App

When you run you might want to keep track of your pace, heartrate, the amount of calories you burn and the distance. There are various devices that you can use like smart watches, smartphone, chest straps, optical wrist sensors etc. If you can’t afford any of these devices you can simply use your smartphone and download a running app like Strava which keeps track of the distance, elevation gain, calories and your pace.

5. Running buddy or Running Crew

Running alone can be a bit a challenging. Izaak Walton once said “good company in a journey makes the way seem much shorter”. You need to find yourself a running buddy that you can be accountable to and that will be accountable to you on days where you don’t feel like running or the going is getting tough. You will motivate each other. You can also join a running crew, for example #RunWithPat if you are in Johannesburg.  #RunWithPat caters for both novice and professional runners.

By considering the above mentioned things you should be fine to start running. Remember you feel minor pains after running, don’t be discouraged it is normal because your body would have done something out of the ordinary.

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

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