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The charity making life better by water

How to start running and stick with it

We know that spending time by water can makes us happier and healthier and exercising by water simply enhances the benefits of spending time there.

Running by the canal

However, we also know that starting and sticking to a new exercise regime can be tough.

Here at the Trust we work hard to make sure that our towpaths are always open so that you can use them to escape the traffic and run in a far more beneficial environment. We're playing our part to help you keep happier and healthier so it's now down to you to make good use of our towpaths.

We’re proud to support This Girl Can, Sport England’s initiative helping to empower women to get active. Canals and rivers are great places to get started.

Monika Yarnell

What would you say to someone who has never run before?

Don't start on your own. Have someone with you who will support and motivate you. Look for local running clubs who run beginner running sessions and go and join them.

Running with others is a completely different ball game to running alone. As a beginner you need more support to keep going and having like-minded people with you will give you the encouragement you need to carry on, even when you're feeling tired.

How do you get over being self-conscious when you run?

As an experienced run leader, feedback is that new runners feel self conscious when they start running and prefer to stay away from the main roads. Our club is based close to parks and the canal which we utilise a lot, especially now it's had a new smooth towpath, creating an excellent running experience.

Our members love the summer runs along the canal where they can relax and reconnect with nature. It's an ever-changing setting and is never boring, there's always something new to see. It's also pretty flat, which helps too.

What do you need to get started?

All you need is a pair of comfy trainers. Don't go and spend lots immediately, give it a try first then you can go and visit a local running shop that will analyse your running gait and can recommend shoes that will be right for you.

How can you go for a run when you're tired after a busy day at work or taking care of young children?

This is the time when you should especially go for a run. You may need to dig deep for motivation, but once it's done you will feel energised again. An endorphin rush always makes you feel fantastic, your fatigue will fade into the distance.

What would you say to someone who says they just don't have the time to run?

We all need to find and make the time to exercise. If it means waking up a little earlier then so be it. Schedule time into your diary, commit, make it happen.

How can you force yourself outside when it's cold and/or raining?

This is where running with others really comes into its own. A good run leader will deliver a fun and effective running session and you'll soon forget the cold. In fact it won't be long before you're hot and sweaty and removing layers. Rain? A chance to become your inner child again. Run through puddles, have a splash around. It's only water, you‘ll dry off!

What's the secret to enjoying your run?

Knowing you're creating a healthy life for yourself and your loved ones where you'll look and feel better. Inactivity and obesity from inactivity costs the NHS billions of pounds. Let's do our bit, stay active and healthy.

How can you make sure that you stick with it and don't give up?

Group runs with motivational and inspiring runners and coaches will make you look forward to your next session and look back on your last with happiness and good memories. Take photos regularly, see the changes in your body, feel the changes in yourself. This will keep you going for years to come, why would you want to give up?

Our top tips for running

Last Edited: 09 May 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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