Get into Running
Find out how to start running - and fall in love with it – with our beginners' guide to running.
Running has so many benefits it’s difficult to know where to start: It’s a great calorie burner so will help you to loose weight. It’ll also massively improve your cardio fitness levels; making you fitter and stronger in every way. Beginners may be surprised to know that running can also be – wait for it – enjoyable. Yes, that’s right, that sport which you last did at school whilst your thighs went a deep red and you thought you might die – done properly, this exercise can be mightily fun.
Whilst running is essentially putting one foot in front of the other, there are some fundamental running-know-how tips to get to grips with before taking those first steps…
Choosing a Route
One of the biggest appeals about running is that it can be done anywhere. Obviously you’re super-lucky if you live close to a park or a coastal path, but pavements and riverbanks work pretty well too! Fitness and Lifestyle coach, Jamie Tulloch (http://www.tullochpersonaltraining.co.uk/) says, “Pick a route that you know well to get started, you don’t want to have to worry about navigational skills on top of running. Focus on building stamina until you find the confidence to venture off track.”
If you know some keen runners, chances are you’ll know they tend to spend half their lives ambitiously training for events and the other half grumbling about injury and disruption to training. Learning how to keep injury at bay is vital. Jamie says; “Strengthening your posterior chain (this includes biceps and glutes) and your core and legs, is crucial to ensure you prevent injury and will help you build stamina and muscle. Try adding in squats, lunges and lots of core work around your new running regime.”
Join the Club
Whilst the appeal of running for some can be getting out alone, joining a club also has its benefits: Gina Granger from Holme Pierrepont Running Club in Nottingham (http://www.hprcrun.co.uk ) explains; “Joining a running club can have a great impact on motivation – the social side of it helps you to stick to a schedule.” What’s more, they’re a comparatively cheap form of group fitness as yearly memberships tend to range from nothing - £25; “It’s got to be the most reasonably priced fitness membership you can get”, says Gina.
To eat or not to eat?
This is the question…luckily experts tend to agree that the answer is yes! “People often forget to fuel up before and after a run”, says Jamie, adding: “Load up with carbs before your run, or a quick banana and glass of water would suffice if you are really pushed for time. It is important to refuel after your run, ideally within the first 30 minutes, especially with a good dose of protein to repair broken down muscle tissue. Don’t forget to take plenty of water with you on your run to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.”
Get your Kit on!
Unless you’re an utter gear-geek you really don’t need to spend that much on running specific stuff before heading off.
A brief beginners guide to running kit rules:
Bras: Forget what you know about lingerie shopping – shopping for a running bra is a different sport entirely. Choose something specifically designed for high impact exercise. www.lessbounce.com have lots of info about sizing and which bras are best for certain activities.
Shoes: You may have heard of ‘gait analysis’ – this is an increasingly popular method of getting the right shoes for runners. Basically, you’ll need to find a specialist running shop that offers this service; their expert will assess the mechanics of your running and then fit you with an appropriate shoe. Whilst fit is most important, running shoes don’t have to be dull. Look out for the new Adizero Adios Boost from Adidas (£110) (www.adidas.co.uk) for comfort in style.
Socks: Decent socks are really important in running as they can reduce the risk of blisters – don’t make the mistake of spending a fortune on running shoes only to match them with your socks you wear day-to-day. Try the Performance Socks from Sole (£9.50) (http://www.yoursole.co.uk/)
Jacket: If it’s a day when the mere thought of just wearing a vest top gives you the shivers you’ll need an extra layer. Keep it lightweight though so as not to overheat. See OLDO’s Windstopper. (£150)
Going off Road
David Denton (www.runningwithdavid.com ) is a cross country and fell running expert: "The sport of cross country running has always suffered from a negative image as, in school, it was something one was 'forced' to do when sports pitches were unfit for play. However, in recent years, the sport has flourished as courses have become less demanding, usually using parks and other similar places where the terrain is flatter and less uneven.”
Expert Lee Saxby (http://www.vivobarefoot.com/uk/ ) tells us; “Barefoot running forces you to run in a more healthy and effective way, making you less prone to injury, quicker and lighter on your feet. Running barefoot improves the running technique by optimising the biomechanics and posture commonly associated with walking and running barefoot. This allows the runner to develop a more natural running style due to the brain's sensory feedback.”
• Live barefoot, first. And be barefoot as much as possible (80% of the time is about right!). If that’s an issue our casual range of shoes might help.
• Learn to focus on walking: heel, ball, toe…
• Now try running a – very shot distances.
• Build up slowly, very slowy, little and often.
Chi Running [Katy, I think we might need a registered trademark sign after and it’s written like ChiRunning®]
Chi Running Instructor Michelle Muldoon (www.corerunning.co.uk ) says; “Chi Running is a mind body approach to running. Alignment and relaxation are key principles. It allows you to become a more efficient runner while reducing impact and your risk of injury. Core strength is developed as you work on your form, and as your form improves you can run for longer distances improving your aerobic capacity. It’s a practise much like t’ai chi, yoga or pilates and if you treat it as such, you will be able to improve at Chi Running for years to come as you deepen your mind body connection. If you can run pain free in a more relaxed way, the joy of running naturally increases and running can become something you enjoy for the rest of your life.”
Apps such as Mapmyrun (http://www.mapmyrun.com) and Runkeeper (http://runkeeper.com) are fantastic for tracking previous runs and therefore progress.