How should I get started as a middle-aged new runner?

It may feel a little daunting at first, but it should also feel exciting to be embarking on your new running adventure.

To start with, make sure you've got a decent pair of running shoes to cushion and support your joints. Plan how you are going to fit your new exercise routine into your busy home and work life. Build up your fitness gradually. If you are new to running, it’s best not to run continually to begin with – don’t run every day, so you have time to recover.

Start by running and walking – going out for 20-30 minutes (run for two minutes, walk for a few minutes, then repeat for the duration). Then gradually build up the time you spend running. Take it easy during the running parts, as your body needs to adapt to the impact and muscle demands of running. It’s good to run on softer surfaces, such as trails, when possible.

If you want to boost your fitness more quickly you could do some cross-training on non-running days, but still ensure you take a day off.  Running should be enjoyable so plan some nice routes and perhaps make it sociable by joining a beginner’s group, or try a parkrun.

To boost your motivation, set yourself a long-term goal, such as completing your first mile or first 5K race. But remember to be patient – your main aim should be consistency. Listen to your body and be guided by it; if you feel unusually tired or develop a niggle, take a rest day. Make sure you have a good diet, with adequate protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fruit and veg to help your body recover and prepare for the next workout.

Feeling inspired to take on your first race? Enter the Westminster Mile for free with Runner's World First Mile!