If you’ve been inspired by tales of complete amateurs deciding to do something about their sedentary lifestyle and signing up to complete a marathon in a fit of madness, why not set yourself the challenge?

After all, running is incredibly good for your health, helping to shift excess weight, boost metabolism and tone the muscles. Plus, the sense of achievement you get from finishing your first big race is something that keeps novice athletes coming back for more.

Charlene Hutsebaut, exercise expert for The De-Stress Diet, noted that you need to prepare for a marathon a few months beforehand to ensure your body is up for the challenge - four to six months of training is recommended so that beginners can safely build up their running mileage.

"This allows the runner to stay injury free and enjoy the running rather than doing too much with not enough time and either hating it or incurring an injury," she pointed out.

"For novice runners a walk/jog routine is recommended. Over a period of ten to 15 minutes do a walk for two minutes followed by a jog of 30 seconds. This seems small but it is a great way to feel like you’ve accomplished something and still enjoy the process."

When you’re training for a big run, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated. Treat yourself to eco-friendly gifts in the form of an aluminium water bottle - these are fully recyclable and mean you don’t have to resort to plastic bottles that are thrown away after the drink is finished to clutter up landfill sites.

And now that spring is here, you can take your jogging regime outside to enjoy the sights and smells of the new season. Joanne Tranter, co-ordinator at Running4Women.com, pointed out that running outside has lots of benefits, such as boosting your mood and making you feel more invigorated.

"One can go running outdoors at any time by simply stepping out the front door, and there is no cost," she added.

Posted by Freya Harper