Matt Rimmer shares his 5 top tips to get out and start running!
Matt is a highly experienced runner. He is a running coach and manager of the independent running shop, myRaceKit in Sharrow Vale, Sheffield.
After we caught up with Matt to ask what keeps him running. He’s completed an Ultra marathon (a distance further than a traditional marathon, 26.2miles) more times than most of us have run a Park Run!
Interview by Sam Clark
5 Top Tips To Start Running
1 Getting started
The hardest thing is getting out the door. Once you have done that, do what you can and be proud that you have been out, however long it was.
Everyone starts at a different level, but many people have similar concerns. For beginners there is a great free app, the NHS – Couch to 5k. It’s a great way to get started with an easy-to-follow plan, gently building up to 5k.
If you’re starting level is more than 5k, then I suggest getting out for a set time, 10, 15, 30 minutes at an easy ‘chatty’ pace – if you can’t talk, then you’re going too fast! 2 or 3 runs a week is a good aim, slightly increasing the time and distance each week.
Everyone runs for different reasons. Some people like events and challenges, some push themselves for PB’s, some like the social aspects, some prefer to run on their own and some simply run to get fitter. There is no right way or easy secret to motivating yourself. Think about what is your own reason for running. That is the most important thing. If you have to force yourself to get out every time, you may need a new focus or challenge. It can be good to talk this through with others.
Motivation can be short or long-term. If you just need to get out to clear your head, use that for that run. If you are going for a PB or big challenge, the focus can last for weeks or months.
3 Running Kit
First, find clothes you are comfortable in. If you are starting, you don’t need to pay a fortune for all the latest gear. The most important thing is getting the right footwear. Find shoes that are right for the terrain you are running on. Make sure they fit correctly and that you like the look of them. If you don’t like your shoes, you won’t want to put them on!
Pop to your local, independent, if possible, specialist running shop. The staff in these are usually runners with good experience and will listen to what you want. Find a few pairs to try on and look at how you move in them.
When you get more into it, you might want to look at more specialised kit, fully waterproof coat, bags, belts, shorts, tops, smartwatches. Again, if you find a good honest running shop, they will help without pressuring you to buy things you don’t need.
This goes back to motivation. Ask yourself why you want to improve and answer honestly. Joining a local running club can be great for improvement. Most offer sessions and runs to cover a wide range of abilities. A Running Coach can give a more specific and tailored training plan. There are a lot of Coaches out there. If you are looking for one, chat with a few and choose one that works in a way that is right for you and you are happy to listen to and follow their guidance.
The most important thing is to get out and run. Not many people come back from a run regretting they went out. Reward yourself for the little wins you have that could be running for an extra 5 minutes, running that extra mile in a week or getting a new PB. They are all important and saying well done to yourself for achieving them, no matter how small, it’s well worth it!
5 Keep going!
Don’t beat yourself up if a run doesn’t go the way you wanted. It’s ok to walk if you need to. You should be pleased you got out. There is always the next run.
SC: It seems like you’ve always been running Matt. How did you get started?
MR: I ran at school and college, cross countries and stuff like that but stopped when I left. In 2011 I did a 10k with some workmates (I did it in 1h 20m). Then we decided to try the Sheffield Half in 2012. But they all dropped out, and I was the only one of us left on the start line. It felt nice to be running around Sheffield and get home with a medal to a fish-and-chip tea. It kind of just went downhill from there!
SC: It’s Sheffield, it’s either up or down! What have been your ruining highlights since then?
MR: I’ve enjoyed many different kinds of events, from cross country 5 K’s to ultras. I suppose a highlight has to be completing my first Ladybower 50 mile ultra.
It might sound a bit corny, but I also enjoy helping people run as well. Pacing races, coaching or just sharing some advice. It’s a different kind of buzz, and it’s always nice.
SC: We always spot you out and about. Where have you been running recently?
MR: In 2022, I kind of fell out of entering events and races and just did my own thing. I think it came from lock-down. I’d done quite a few events pre-lock-down, but then I just enjoyed the ease of getting out of bed and going for a run for as long or short or as fast as I wanted to. There were no logistics to worry about, getting to and from events. I could just leave the house and run.
SC: How did you challenge yourself?
MR: The idea for 2022 was to do an ultra-a-month. In 2021, I ran 2021 miles, and 2020 miles the year before. I wanted to keep the pattern going. But I missed February with COVID and picked up an injury in December. When I realised I wasn’t going to hit the miles I ignored it. I still want to be able to run and relax and enjoy it. I doubled up a few months and managed 13 ultras through the year.
SC: Were these staged events, I thought you were taking some time away from them?
MR: No, I’d just leave my door and go. There are some things I’ve wanted to do for a while. My parents live just over 30 miles away and I wanted to run to their house. Anything that I thought of. I like the Sheffield Half so I ran to the start, did it twice then ran home again. There is a great event that we support with the shop called the Round Sheffield Run. It has a really nice route so I did it the proper way, then turned around and did it reverse. The Sheffield Way is a circular route, about 46 miles. I’ve done it previously and didn’t enjoy it so I wanted to do it again and enjoy it.
SC: These are not just a Park Run Matt!
MR: Well, there is a 2 mile figure of eight around Millhouses Park that I ran around 15 times. I got a few strange looks, but watching the park come to life and fall asleep again as I ran around was fun. Another time I did 9 loops around Ecclesall Woods.
SC: Where will we see you this year?
MR: I’m not sure. Pacing events like Park Run, the Sheffield Half and Percy Pud I’ve seen people really push themselves and it’s inspired me to think again about running some events. I don’t feel like I’ve never done myself justice in a marathon so that could be something to aim for. Really, I just want to run longer, further, faster. Simple as that.
If he’s not out running you can probably find Matt at myRaceKit, the independent running shop in Sharrow Vale, Sheffield
You can find out more about Matt’s coaching on his website here: mattrunning.co.uk
Read about our visit to the Walsh factory
Legendary running shoes handmade in Bolton!