Are you ready?

Illustration by Sam Island

What shall I wear?

All you need are comfortable trainers and clothing. It need not be running-specific gear to begin with, just something that won’t chafe or get too hot or heavy if you sweat.

Where do I start?

The ideal surface for your first sessions is a level park path or grass, but if you only have pavements at your disposal, that’s fine. ‘Out-and-back’ routes have an in-built mental advantage: you’re heading home from the halfway point. Or if you’re not sure you can continue for the allotted time, small laps near your house eliminate the risk of ending up too far from home.

What about eating?

Ideally allow a couple of hours to digest a meal before exercising, but if you haven’t eaten for four or five hours, have a small snack, such as half a banana or a pot of yoghurt an hour before, for energy.

How should I feel?

It’s fine to feel a little breathless and to get a bit hot. But you shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable during the session, or exhausted by the end of it. Imagine a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being your maximum effort – you want to rate your effort at around a 5 or 6.

How about technique?

Stay relaxed but ‘tall’. Imagine you have a helium balloon gently drawing you upwards. Keep your stride short and think ‘fast and light’ when your feet touch the ground.

Next up, work out which training plan is right for you. Take a look at our six-week First Mile plan. If it suits you, off you go! Not fit enough to tackle the 20 mins of walk/run in week one? The four-week ‘pre-plan plan’ starts with 10 minutes of walking, which can be broken into two five-minute walks.