Perhaps you are contemplating entering Cigna Round the Bays but haven’t taken the leap yet. Maybe you and your mates have signed up and paid the entry fee, but you haven’t actually gone out for a run. Or, maybe you have gone out for your first run, but it felt awful and you are wondering if it is ever going to get easier.

Whatever the scenario you may be in, some of these tips may help you on your journey.

SLOWLY DOES IT: if you are completely new to running, or if you have run recently but it was more out of necessity to catch a bus rather than to “run for fun”, then your muscles and ligaments will not be accustomed to the load of running for km’s on end. The best way to start is running every second or third day (definitely not two days in a row), on soft surfaces like grass or trails. Keep it on the flat or with minimal climbs and break the running up with walking – such as 2 minutes run then 3 minute walk for 30 minutes. Your body tissues need time to get used to the bouncing load and the force of hopping from one foot to the other.

GET THE RIGHT GEAR: luckily for us joggers and runners, we don’t need a huge amount of commitment to look the part. Yes, there are always those out there that will go the full nine yards with their calf compression socks pulled up high, and the tiny tiny running shorts that for most of us look more like underpants than something we would dare to brave the streets in, but for the majority of us, all we need is a good pair of running shoes, and some comfy workout gear.

SHOES: I’m going to expand on the point above and reiterate that good shoes are the key to a successful running career. Visit a good shoe stockist that can have a look at your running style and get the best shoes for your foot that can afford – this is not the same as the best shoes money can buy. Do not confuse one with the other as not all shoes will necessarily be the best for you. Your running style, weight, length of race, and length of running history will all play a part in what will be the best shoe for you.

GIRLS – GET A GOOD SPORTS BRA: Another expansion on “getting the right gear” for women is getting a good sports bra. I would place this alongside good shoes, and if you are on the slightly larger size, maybe even above the importance of good shoes. My latest experience of going sports bra shopping at a popular Lambton Quay store left me in a trance state of wonderful colours and different strappy backs that would truss my little ladies tightly to my chest. But let me point out that I am very under gifted in the mammary department, and if you are too then a good tight standard sports bra may work for you. But if you are slightly larger than an A or small B cup (and let’s admit it, most of us are), I would recommend getting something with more harness and straps than the front seat of a helicopter. I am not paid or endorsed by any products, but from my years of working with female clients that bra that seems to stand out above all is the BERLEI BOUNCE.

SET YOUR GEAR UP THE NIGHT BEFORE: There are many reasons why you should start the day doing something for yourself, and one of those things that you could do that is entirely for you and your sanity is exercise. If you are keen to embark upon your run in the morning but don’t want to wake your sleeping spouse (or don’t want to have the opportunity of claiming it too hard and rolling over to go back to sleep), set your gear out the night before in the bathroom. This is particularly a favorite of mine in winter as we use our bathroom underfloor heating so my clothes are snugly and warm to get into.

BUT I’M A NIGHT OWL: That’s totally OK as well. If you prefer running after work, try to not let any home-life interruptions get in the way. It may be better to do your training session starting and ending at your place of work (especially if you have shower facilities). Failing that, have the gear laid out for as soon as you get home. Make sure you have a small snack about 2 hours before you are planning to run, so you don’t arrive home and have the distraction of eating taking you off your path.

GO FOR 5: I often have clients that mention they find it hard to get out but once they are running they feel good. I use the “Go For Five” rule, which is no matter how you are feeling (unless you are medically unfit for running), put on your shoes head out for a jog/walk/run for 5 minutes heading away from your house. In the worst case, if you still feel terrible, you can run back and that will be a total of 10 minutes, but chances are by then you’ll be rocking along and you’ll nail the full run. For my more experienced clients and half marathoners, the long run is often the one that gets daunting, so I use the same moto, but this time the 5 stands for km’s rather than minutes. If you have a 20km run looming ahead of you, head out for 5km, and if you still cant find your mojo, head on back.

STRETCH AND HYDRATE: After accomplishing your training run (in your well fitted gear, at a slowly does it pace), it’s a good idea to have a stretch and rehydrate. When stretching, don’t pick the stretches that feel easy for you, pick the ones that give you are challenge. Lean into the stretch carefully and aim to hold it for as long as you can (2mins is ideal, but let’s face it, we don’t all have the patience for that so go for 1min). While you are stretching, set yourself up with a drink of water and get those fluids in.