Getting into running can be a daunting prospect. You probably haven’t done much exercise over the last few years. As the years have passed you have probably put on more weight. With the extra weight you have put on you probably feel the most unfit you have ever been. Not to mention you may not even know the right gear to buy. Despite all these perceived obstacles you must start somewhere right? Right!! Where to start? First thing first, you must get rid of perfectionism. You are going to start slow to ease your muscles, tendons, and cardiovascular system into it. Take it one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I am going to give you my top tips on how to begin running.
Running for beginners’ top tips
Tip 1 – Get the right fit! The shoes you run in are so important. Many injuries can be caused by the way in which your foot hits the floor. This is assuming that you heal strike. If you are a forefoot runner it doesn’t matter too much about your footwear. The best way to find the best running shoe for yourself is to go to a specialist running shop that sells footwear. They will do a short running assessment and advise the best footwear for you. Tip 2 – Don’t forget your warm up Warming up your muscles is very important if you want to avoid injuries and perform better on your runs. A warm up consists of an activity to raise your heart rate gently, and then some stretches. It is easier to stretch your muscles when they are warm. Think of your muscles like an elastic band. When you stretch a cold elastic band it may snap. You don’t want this to happen to your muscles. A warm up can consist of skipping, side steps, hops, gentle jogging, squats, lunges and tuck jumps. Once you are warm do your stretches and of you go! Tip 3- Forget about miles, focus on minutes! You are a beginner. You are not going to be able to just run for 5 miles without stopping. You need to build an aerobic base fitness. Focus on doing ten minutes for your first time. After a while you can build up to 20 minutes, and then 30 minutes. Tip 4 – Run, rest, walk, jog. You may find that the first time you try to jog that you get out of breath quickly. Don’t worry. This is normal for most people that get into running for the first time. There is a solution. It is called interval training. Interval training for beginner runner involves jogging for a short period of time and then resting. The rest and run intervals can be random. This is known as fartlek training. However, I think that a timed approach is better. For example: You may jog for 2 minutes. Walk for 2 minutes. Over the course of 10 minutes you would spend 6 minutes running and four recovering. After a few weeks you may be able to run 10 minutes without stopping. Tip 5 – Learn the right running technique. Most people think that anyone can run, but this is not true. As a running coach I have seen people run in the most inefficient ways possible. It easier to start how you mean to go on. For example, you wouldn’t buy a car and start driving it and then crash it. You would take driving lessons to reduce your chances of a crash. Learning to run is the same thing, it will help you to avoid injuries. Be sure to keep your back straight and body upright as this will help with running efficiency. Tip 6 – Watch your fluid intake Don’t forget water bottle. Especially when the weather is hot. You may get away with not having a water bottle when you are doing 10-minute runs. However, when your runs are getting longer then 30 minutes, which they will. When this happens, you need to have water. A large part of your blood is made up of water. When you sweat you lose water, and it causes your blood to get thicker. If your blood is thicker it becomes harder for your heart to pump blood around your body. This causes your heart rate to speed up. Tip 7 – Fill up the tank! Try to eat a big meal 2-3 hours before you go for a run as this will provide your body with the energy to get through your work out. If you are going for your run in 30 minutes and you haven’t had time to eat a large meal go for something small. A banana 15 minutes before a run will release energy into your body, but will be small enough to eat without it sitting on your stomach. Tip 8 – Ride the rhythm This is all about personal preference. Some people prefer to run without music as this allows them to connect with their body. Others prefer to listen to music as it acts as a distraction. There is no right or wrong answer. Personally, I prefer no music. Tip 9 – Learn to breathe When you learn to breathe correctly it will allow you to relax and run with greater efficiency. You will notice that you will use expend less energy. The most efficient way to breathe is to breathe through the nose and out through the mouth. Never, breathe in through your mouth. You will bypass the sections in your body that humidify the air before it goes into the lungs. It is fine to breathe out through your mouth. This is because you will be able to expel more air from your lungs through your mouth. Tip 10 – Stretch Stretching helps to reduce injuries and helps to get rid of lactic acid that may have accumulated in your muscles. Tip 11 – Train your core. Train your abdominals 3 times a week. You will be amazed at the difference this will make to your running.
Gerald has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise, Nutrition & Health. He is an ASA qualified swimming teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Gerald has developed his own exclusion diet, which he uses to help his clients lose weight.