Newbie/Beginner - Help!


I desperately need some help...

I'm looking to start running, with a particular focus on 800/1500m.

I'm the perfect definition of 'beginner', with no experience at all (I assure you that I'm not simply jumping on the Olympic bandwagon - I've always wanted to do this, and 2012 has maybe given me the push I needed!).

Problem is, I have no idea where to begin. I have an athletics club nearby, but I'm wary about approaching them with the little experience that I have. So I thought about simply going to an athletics track, paying one-off entry fees but that's still a bit daunting as I have no idea how it works (e.g. sharing a track with others who are trying to train - how does everyone avoid getting in each other's way!?).

So do I begin by simply running on the roads like others? Or should I just bite the bullet and aim to run the distances that I want to run on track (I've been told that having a training partner is hugely beneficial)?

Please excuse my ignorance, but I'm finding it all a bit daunting! Any advice would be much appreciated image


  • First, how old are you, and what exercise are you currently doing? What is your current state of health etc...?

    For 800m/1500m training, I always think that it is advisable to run with a group at a club, as the workouts are more intense when you have others to keep the pace high. Most big clubs will have groups of a few speeds, and most will let you do a trial session or two without any commitment apart from perhaps some track fees. If you are under 25 and in London, there is a programme called Sportivate that Highgate Harriers sometimes participate in.

    However, first you will possibly need to ensure that you have some basic running fitness, as sessions at clubs will be high intensity - 200m/400m/800m repetitions at high speed with short recoveries. These get you fit and fast, but you have to be reasonably fit to start with to get through the sessions. I would advise that before you do anything you make sure that you can run for at least 30 minutes at a decent pace comfortably, and then approach a club locally. If you aren't sure where clubs in your area are, UK Athletics has a club search application where you can enter your postcode.

  • if you are a complete beginner you prob should start out with a walk/run program?

  • Couch to 5k, aka C25k should be your first port of call. image  Have fun!

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