Thinking of starting running?

With good weather just around the corner some people will be thinking of taking up running and this week we break down the things to look out for before you start.

Running can be a very good way to get healthy and to stay in shape throughout the year. So before you throw yourself into some new trainers and into some reflective ankle straps it would be best to start with where you are in terms of general fitness.

You need to consider where you are in your overall fitness and assess how best to begin your goal of running. If you are the typical couch potato with a really bad diet of chips and crisps the likelihood is that you may need a few weeks of moderate exercise to build up your stamina in order to start actually running. To throw yourself into any aggressive exercise after time out for whatever reason would be a bad idea and could lead to immediate injury or massive setbacks.

Be honest with yourself about where you are and always start off slower than you think you can go with the physical exercise otherwise you’ll only be kidding yourself. Take it slowly in the build up of your base fitness and be sure to have the correct attitude to stretching and your equipment buying as poor tools will mean you do a bad job!

Best foot forward

Running unlike other forms of exercise only really needs one good piece of equipment, a good pair of running shoes. The importance placed on how good a trainer supports you during exercise cannot be overlooked. Get advice from a specialist running retailer and go for a trainer that supports your foot arch type and has sufficient shock absorbing ability. Don’t be put off by the high price of a good pair of running trainers as they will really look after your feet and keep you safe and healthy throughout.

Split the workload

Most people when initially beginning to run won’t be able to run for 30 mins straight away and so it is important to split the workload when starting to run. Think of your first few sessions as more walk than runs and aim to be able to walk swiftly with some ease for 30 mins. When you are comfortable doing this you can move onto an interval split of 2 mins running 3 mins walking in order to build up your cardiovascular base. Eventually following this process you should find yourself running solidly for the full time you give yourself. Always remember to cool down and bring your heart rate back down with a slow walk and stretch at the end and start of every run.

Stay consistent

For beginner runners it is vital to plot your route and the time you want to go and exercise. It would help if you could write this down in your diary or planner as to have it in mind and make sure that you achieve your goal each day. When beginning try to get out for at least 2 days a week and stick to the days you pick. With this consistent plan of attack your running style will improve and your body will adapt to the training methods.

Stay motivated

With the repetitive nature of running it can be easy to become less motivated over time to actually go out and run. There are a few things you can do stop this however and the following ideas should help with your training and your future goals.

Run with a friend - It sounds obvious but a reliable running partner can really help keep you on track and add extra motivation to your runs. You’ll not want to let each other down and this will build a good relationship up and help you help each other’s running goals.

Keep a diary - Another simple but effective way of keeping track of your progress and looking back at where you have come from should help keep your morale high.

Mix the route up - Keep your running route interesting and varied by extending the length of your runs and mixing your route up where possible and safe to do so. Join a running club - This is the perfect way to commit to running on a regular basis and the ability to find someone at your level is key to your own enhancement. You may also be able to find a running partner for time away from the club itself.

This should be a good start for the beginner runner and should see you start to build a good base for you to experiment with training partners and routes etc. Remember to give it your all during training but never to push yourself over the edge and give yourself time to recover from the weeks efforts with enough days rest between exercise.

Next week we will look at stepping up your training and what is involved if you want to reach the next level with your running regime….and remember, ‘Do The Damn Thing!’


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