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I’m a keen runner, although my body isn’t always on my side. I get shin splints from time to time which normally takes me in an on-off pattern of running and then stopping. At the moment, I’m working up to 5k every few days, and I’m getting back up to the fitness level I’m happy with. A few years I was running 5k every day without fail, and I want to get back to that. I’ve teamed up with Forever 21 Active to give you some of my running tips for beginners as well show you some cool but practical workout clothes.

Dress Appropriately

As with any workout, you need the right gear to help you stay comfortable, safe, and happy while you run. Looking good working out, to me, is the number 1 most motivating thing. Feeling happy with my outfit before setting out cuts the embarrassment factor and also doesn't make me feel like when I rock back home a sweaty mess I don't look TOO bad. It’s important to base your running outfit around layers. Lightweight, non-cotton materials are best, especially during drizzly or colder days, but then you also need light layers to take off if needed. Forever 21 have a range of stylish mix and match workout wear to suit any shape, size and taste. I personally like long fitting leggings style and vest tops. But you can go with whatever look that you like! Yoga pants and a sports bra, shorts and vest! The combinations are endless.

Prep & Plan

Planning for a run takes a little bit of forethought — when to go, what to eat, and what to wear should be part of your daily running checklist. Make sure you have a set of running clothes clean and ready to go, and always check the weather, so you know what to expect if you've planned a run that day. Plan your meals ahead of time so your not too full or too hungry when you set off. A little prep will help you so much in the long run and you're not running thinking "gosh I need a sandwich".

Steady as she goes

No ones going to be 5k ready as soon as you start to pound the pavement. Running is always going to be hard in the beginning even for the most enthusiastic new runner. Try and be realistic with your expectations and keep at a pace that is comfortable for you to begin with. I really recommend couch to 5k for absolute beginners are it’s a running and walking plan which will help you work out when you need to slow down and speed up without over working yourself.

Set your Goals

I recommend setting yourself mini goals as you go along to keep you motivated and on track. Signing up to a race or joining a group running club can do wonders for your motivation levels. If your overall goal is to lose weight, then don't make that the whole reason you decide to take up running. Clearly it's one reason why people decide to take it up, but using this as the sole goal can hold you back. It's easy to get discouraged because results aren’t that fast as your working on burning fat and toning up. Therefore setting a race goal or distance target is much better in the long run and helps you set a clear goal.

Believe in yourself!

There's no secret to becoming a dedicated runner. It’s simply a case of just keep going and working on speed, endurance and confidence. For me the hardest part about running is always having the confidence to do it, I always worried about not being able to run X amount and that I'd just be THAT person being a huffy mess. Once I got past the initial fear I realised I loved running, and I love the time out it gives me. It doesn't even feel like exercise to me anymore as I enjoy it so much. Stick with it and build up your running technique and you can surprise yourself. When I finally hit my 10k goal I was so proud and amazed that I could achieve something like that!

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