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5 myths about learning to run

Have you always dreamt of learning to run but keep hearing things which put you off? Maybe you'd love to join a friend in running Parkrun every week, or perhaps running 5k is on your bucket list. We've put together the most common myths about learning to run and will tackle them one by one.

We've taught over 400 women in St Albans to run, so we're pretty clued up on the myths and rumours that put people off starting in the first place. Here's some of the most common myths and why we don't agree...

#1 - You need brand new running kit before getting started

It's easy to get carried away, but you don't need to spend a fortune before you start running. All you need is a sports bra, some trainers and gym leggings or tracksuit bottoms to get started. Once you've been running for a while and know you want to continue, you could look at investing in some kit, but keep it simple to begin with.

#2 - You need a good level of base fitness before starting a couch to 5k programme

We believe that anyone can learn to run with the right support around them, and that includes those who aren't exercising currently. Our tried and tested 8-week programme builds your fitness gradually each week, starting with run-walk intervals and increasing the running time bit by bit. Commit to the programme and trust the process, and we promise you'll be running 5k before you know it!

"I can't believe the programme worked, it's magic!" – Athena Beginner 2022

#3 - Running is bad for my joints

This is a big one and possibly the most common reason we hear for putting off learning to run. Whilst there can be some reasons for joint pain from running (we always recommend talking to your doctor if you have existing issues), most joint pain associated with running is often caused by muscle imbalance and weakness, not running itself. To put it simply, if one muscle is weak, another muscle may be working overtime to cover for it. That muscle can then hit 'burnout' and that's where injuries occur. Regular stretching and strength work alongside your running can help you combat this, and this is something Athena can support you with.

#4 - Running takes too much time

There's two sides to this one... the first is sometimes we need to make time to prioritise ourselves! When was the last time you did something for you? Took time out each week to focus on yourself and work on achieving your goal? Learning to run will take a certain amount of commitment each week, but our beginner graduates say this is the best thing about the programme as it gives them a chance to get some headspace and has a huge mental health benefit because of it.

The other side to this is that running doesn't always have to take a long time. Heading out for a 15 minute run is better than doing nothing (and you're lapping everyone on the couch!). If you can't get out for a long run all the time, there are plenty of methods to get a good workout in a short period of time.

#5 - I want to meet people, running seems lonely!

This completely depends on how you decide to run. We find that running with friends or a group is the best way to ensure you achieve your goal when learning to run, as that support and accountability will help you to push through when it feels tough. That's why all our 0-5k Beginners Running courses are held in small groups of up to 12, with a dedicated run-leader per group. You'll chat away while you run and be at the end of the session before your brain has even clocked on that you're exercising! Our beginners love the social side of running so much that they often use their private WhatsApp group to arrange to meet up for their homework runs too!

So, what's stopping you?

There are many myths and rumours about learning to run, but it is a great way to get fit and meet new people. If you want to get started, click here to take a look at our upcoming Athena 0-5k Beginners Courses starting soon, or feel free to contact us for more info.



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