Get into running
If you want to take your first steps in improving your health and fitness, or if you just want to stay healthy running is cheap, fun and easy to do. If you're looking to start running, or want to get out running more, this page has information to help you.
Run Durham is our activity programme to help you get into running, from Get Run Ready to Couch to 5K. Jogging and running can be more fun and easier to become part of your lifestyle when others are involved. Whether you want to be a regular runner or you just want to give it a try, we can help you get started.
Get Run Ready
Join our running programme for beginners, the programme includes six weekly sessions designed to build your confidence, improve your wellbeing and gently introduce you to running through a mixture of walking and jogging.
Get Run Ready focuses on taking some time to get outdoors and do some exercise! This course is for complete beginners and will start over at a gentle pace, slowly progressing throughout the weeks.
Once you have booked your place just turn up wearing some comfy clothes and trainers. You may also want to bring a bottle of water.
Couch to 5K
Across the county we are delivering free Couch to 5K running courses. Couch to 5K is for everyone, whether you have never run before, or if you want to get back into being more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter, happier and healthier in just 10 weeks. The plan works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. Week one involves a target of running for two minutes at a time, followed by walking for four minutes, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start. The weekly sessions are approximately 45 minutes in duration and include warm up and cool down activities.
Tips on how you can get run ready
Ensure you are in good physical health before you start any kind of physical activity. If you have any concerns about your health discuss with your GP before you begin.
- Make sure you can walk for 30 minutes at a time before trying to run. If you haven't been walking regularly and you attempt to go straight from a sedentary lifestyle to running you will increase your risk of injury. Don't try and do too much, too soon and if you feel any pain, stop. You're beginning to run to make yourself feel better and healthier, not to cause yourself harm.
- Warm up and cool down. To help prepare your body for physical activity, take the time to gently warm up before your run. Do some movements such as lunges, squats, high knees and heel touches to get your muscles and joints moving. After your run remember to cool down with some light stretching. Alongside this, it's a good idea to dedicate another 10 to 20 minutes to stretching at least once a week. You may not feel the benefit at the time, but over the course of weeks, months and years these stretching sessions can help to reduce muscle tightness and keep you flexible.
- Run slowly at first. During your first days of running, your running pace should be only slightly faster - or exactly the same speed - as your walking pace. One of the main things which stops people from continuing to run is the feeling of not having enough air in their lungs. It's not a very nice sensation and if you're running too fast, you'll likely find yourself gasping for breath.
- Progress at your own pace. Take it slow, especially at first, as your legs and lungs are building up to running. Don't worry at all about speed or distance covered it doesn't matter. If you do have someone with you, you should be able to talk and hold a conversation. If you can't, you're going too fast.
- Wear the right clothing. The last thing you want to worry about is your shorts falling down, or your t-shirt chaffing. Try to choose comfortable clothing that fits and supports you well. Dress accordingly for the weather. If it's hot outside, wear loose-fitted clothing made from breathable fabrics to help you stay cool. On warm sunnier days it's a good idea to wear a cap, sunscreen and sunglasses. If it's a cold or rainy day, wear long-sleeved layers, and a windproof and waterproof jacket. If you're running early in the morning or in the evening when it's dark, wear reflective clothing so you can be seen clearly.
- Running requires very little equipment. It is important to wear a good comfortable pair of running shoes that suit your foot type. These will help to protect your joints and reduce your risk of injury.
- Make a plan for yourself. Take a little time to plan where and when you'll walk or run over the course of the week and try to stick to that plan. You shouldn't go more than a day without taking part in some form of physical activity as if the gap increases to two or three days or longer, you will in essence be starting over again each time you go out.
- Do what suits you. If you're new to running, you will find that there are elements of trial and error. For example, some people like to listen to music, podcasts or audio books while they run, while others prefer to take in the sounds that surround them. You may find that having a snack before your run doesn't quite sit right on your stomach. But someone else may feel better taking on some fuel before they run. You might be an early bird and prefer to do your activity first thing in the morning, while others prefer lunchtime or evening. Everyone is different, so see what works best for you and remember everyone started somewhere!
Created by England Athletics, the national governing body for running and athletics, it provides fun, friendly, supportive and inclusive opportunities for everyone in England, visit Run Together for more information on events and activities.
There are a number of affiliated athletics clubs across the county. Whether you are new to running, need encouragement to continue running or want to improve at running, a running club may help you. Visit Club Durham's club finder to find a club near you.
Become a volunteer run leader
Visit our Culture and sport volunteering portal to find out more about becoming a volunteer run leader.