When I moved to London for uni, I soon discovered that a new city plus budget eating and Chinese takeaways (minus exercise) added up to a real problem. And by that, I mean the you-might-need-to-go-up-a-couple-of-jeans-sizes kind of problem.
But as a student, the only I cash I had to my disposal was my student loan and a minimum wage part-time job, which was for my basic needs – not a gym membership I couldn’t really afford.
So I took up running. It was free and as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. I soon signed up for races, like those Nike 10ks fronted by Paula Radcliffe back in the day. But I also discovered blisters, because only God knows why I thought running in Adidas ‘shell toe’ Superstars made any sort of sense…
Here are a few more things I wish I knew before I took up running all those years ago – and you might find them useful if you want to start running.
I wish I knew what to wear
I’ve rocked it all – pyjama bottoms, cotton leggings, sweatshirts, jeans – basically stuff that did little to help my running game. To be fair, my only knowledge of sportswear was inspired by 1) my school gym kit (plimsolls, cycling shorts, gym skirt and crew shirt) and 2) Fubu, Fila and whatever else 90s rappers wore at the time. Little did I know there was a thing called ‘running apparel’ – and I’ve now figured out what makes sense to wear, whatever the weather (on that note, check out the Fly Girl Collective running kit checklist if you need help sorting out your gear).
I wish I didn’t set off so fast
Confession: I am a sprinter. It’s how God created me and if you give me a 100 metres race, I will make sure I’m one of the first three people to cross that finish line (it is not a game with me). But it’s not about everyday Road Runner either (beep beep). When I started running, I was going H.A.M, each and every time. But starting steady, and slowly building up to a speed I could sustain is how I learned to eventually take on longer distances – but you know a girl gotta get in that sprint finish!
I wish I ran with people more often
Running solo is cool, but when I joined Run Dem Crew in 2011, this took my running ability to a whole new level. I started with the slowest group and within months I started moving up the ranks, simply because of the motivation and inspiration that came from being around likeminded runners. It’s the reason why I decided to organise the ‘Fly Girl Runs‘ – weekend sessions for women to discover the joys of social running, and enjoy a great session in the process. Running is a brilliant form of exercise – and once you can get over the hurdle of starting, you’ll probably wonder why you never started sooner.
By: Matilda Egere-Cooper (who now feels inspired to go for a quick run)
Are you new to running? Feel free to drop me a line if you need a bit of advice 🙂