Does the very thought of going running make you need to sit down? Judy Johnson has found just the thing to help you take the first step...
You might have noticed that running has become a bit cool in recent years. Anybody who's anybody is at it, because it's good for your heart, tones you up, keeps you healthy and, even better, it doesn't cost a thing - unless you don't even own some kind of gym kit of course, in which case you'll need to add trainers to your shopping list. (Though the trendiest way to exercise these days is barefoot running, so perhaps you don't even need those).
From last year's launch of Home Run ( www.homerunlondon.com ), an organisation that encourages commuting by foot on one of their group running routes, to the inspiring image of Jessica Ennis sprinting down the track at the Olympics in 2012, more and more people are pounding the pavements in an effort to get fit and shape up.
But what if the mere thought of donning your trainers and hitting the treadmill brings you out in a cold sweat? Celebrities such as Elle Macpherson and Reese Witherspoon make it look oh so simple, but it's a high impact exercise which is hard work if you're anything but fit; and more than a little daunting.
While most runners will airily tell you how easy it is as they trot past you on their tenth lap without so much as panting, a group called Splendid Things have a little more empathy and have created Get Running, an app which does exactly as its name suggests.
Based on Josh Clark's 'Couch to 5K' plan, the simple yet effective app guides brand new runners - yes, including those who can't even bear to jog for the bus - through a nine week training plan.
With three runs a week, the app has voice instructions and splits your run into sections so you start with a walk, then run for a couple of minutes (the sections get longer as you progress), and alternate between the two paces. You can even listen to your preferred playlist of upbeat music and the voice commands will pipe up as and when you need to change your speed - genius.
The app is incredibly simple to use yet very well thought out; you can repeat a week if you don't feel ready for the next stage, you won't feel overwhelmed by the short bursts of running at the very start (if we can do it, you can too - honest), and by the end of the programme you'll be running for half an hour in total. Imagine that...
Get Running is £1.99 and available here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/get-running-couch-to-5k/id319043985?mt=8