On your marks, get set . . . hold on, let’s just get ready to get started

If it has been a while since your last run, make a gradual comeback to ensure running becomes a long-term habit

Root out your running shoes, comfortable clothing and some reflective lights or bib for these dark days

Are you ready to Get Running?Opens in new window ]

If you are feeling the effects of an indulgent December, you may be itching to get moving now 2018 has just begun. There is nothing like the start of new year to point us in the right direction.

Most of us are motivated, determined and confident in these early January days. The big challenge is to maintain this focus as we return to the routine of our regular busy lives and leave the holiday season behind us.

Fear of the Unknown

If you are the type of person who really wants to feel better and get running but doesn’t have the confidence or the knowledge of how to get started, you are not alone. The fear of the unknown has prevented many aspiring runners from getting started. Running can be intimidating. My aim is to take the uncertainty, discomfort and stress out of the process by guiding you along the path to becoming a better runner and help you this spring to enjoy running.

A Helping Hand

Next week we relaunch our '"Get Running'" coaching programmes which have helped so many runners over the years get started and keep running. We are back to hand hold you through these early weeks of 2018. In each of the programmes I will guide you step by step with videos, tips and training plans delivered to your inbox every week for eight weeks. Three sessions each week is all I ask of you and you will gradually and simply build your confidence, fitness and mental strength.


Choose your plan

There are three plans to choose from. Our beginners “Get Running” programme assumes you can walk comfortably for 30 minutes and will move you from walking to running 30 minutes by the end of the eight weeks. Our “Stay Running” programme is suitable for anyone who is regular or lapsed runner and wishes to get stronger over their 5k distance. We also have a programme to build from 5k to 10k for anyone looking to double their distance.

A sensible comeback

Many lapsed runners return to the streets on January 1st. If it has been a while since your last run, make a gradual comeback to ensure running becomes a long-term habit. Avoid the equivalent of a January crash diet by launching into an intense training programme. There are no real gains in tough sessions if you don’t have a good starting base.  Feeling sore and uncomfortable will only knock your confidence right now. Less is more as you build your running habit this month. Focus on enjoyment rather than intensity for now.

Make the first step

This week you don’t even have to run. In fact, all I want you to do is to commit that you will make a change and get organised. Root out your running shoes, comfortable clothing and some reflective lights or bib for these dark days. Get out and walk, enjoy the fresh air and get excited for what the new year will bring for you. Next week, the fun and the running will begin.

Surprise yourself

Don’t let your initial new year enthusiasm be replaced by excuses as the month passes by. You have an opportunity now to get started and use our support and guidance to point you in the right direction and help you stay on track. In eight weeks’ time you will look back at today as the starting point and be amazed at how far you have come. Only you can make the decision to start. Join us as we all work together to Get Running this January.

Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with ForgetTheGym.ie. Mary is also the creator of all our Irish Times Get Running programmes – Beginners Get Running, Get Running Stay on Track, and Get Running 10k.

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!) and Get Healthy for 2018. 
First, pick the programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: This programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
- Stay On Track: The second programme is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week.
- 10km Course: This is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!