With its many green spaces, its proximity to the trails of the Peak District, and its friendly community of outdoor enthusiasts, Sheffield is a welcoming place for the beginner runner. We asked members of the city's running groups what advice they have for new runners in the city. Read on for their top 5 tips.
1. Embrace the hills
It might be tempting to try and avoid them, but running up hills regularly will give you extra power and stamina. Take them at your own pace, even if that means walking at first. Just remember, you'll soon be running back down the other side.
2. Go off-road
Sheffield's parks and woodlands are filled with brilliant, accessible trails. The Sheffield Round Walk makes a great spring/summer run; it's 14 miles in total, but can be taken on bit-by-bit for a series of shorter trails with some spectacular views, like that of the city from the top of Meersbrook Park. There's a wide variety of organised Parkruns in the city too, and they're each friendly and very motivating – which is just what you need at 9am on a Saturday morning. And be sure to try out The Outdoor City Run Routes around the city. Launching in spring-summer 2016, the first phase of the Run Routes include several parkland and woodland trails aimed specifically at beginners.
3. Join a Run England group
Many running groups in Sheffield don't just welcome but encourage new runners to join them. There's no pressure to go fast or to last a long time from groups like Sheffield Running Club's Learn2Run – they're all about simply getting people together to have fun, exercise and support each other. For advice on shoes and kit, visit one of the city's friendly independent running shops (e.g. Front Runner, Accelerate, Up and Running), or join the Sheffield Runners Facebook group, where experienced runners are happy to help. All Run England groups are delivered by a qualified run leaders who have completed the Leadership in Running Fitness course.
4. Make the most of the Peaks
Just a short drive (or a long run) from the city, the Peak District opens up a whole host of excellent trails. Kit yourself out with an OS map of the area and get exploring. Alternatively, find fellow beginner runners by joining in local village races or regular, family-friendly runs like the Longshaw Trust10 trail run.
5. Find your pace
Starting out running can feel daunting, but don't put too much pressure on yourself. Rather than comparing yourself to others, focus on yourself and enjoy your own pace – no matter what it is. Before you know it you'll build up confidence and stamina. A good place to start is with the new Outdoor City Run Routes – with lengths and terrains to suit all levels of runner.