Top tips for beginner runners
TOP TIPS FOR BEGINNER RUNNERS
No one’s really a beginner runner. We all know how to do it because most of us started running soon after we learned how to walk. That said, if you haven’t done it for a while, there are still a few tips you should keep in mind that will help you get the most out of your running session.
GET KITTED OUT
You don’t have to break the bank on the latest trainers to start running; just make sure your footwear gives you plenty of support. Wear what’s comfortable, but splashing out on some cool leggings, shorts and a top is great for morale and can get you in the mood to run.
JOIN A GYM
Jogging for beginners is all about starting out gently. Joining a gym means you can set your own pace by starting to run on the indoor treadmill. This is a great way to start conditioning your muscles and begin to build up your stamina.
However, many people make the mistake of ditching the weights in favour of miles on the treadmill. While the added mileage might be beneficial for increasing endurance, it might actually lead to extra injuries. The pounding from running puts an immense strain on the body. If the muscles aren’t prepared to handle the load, stress gets absorbed elsewhere including bones and connective tissue. Over time, overuse injuries including shin splints, stress fractures, and “runner’s knee”. Ensure you incorporate strength training, squats & lunges into your routine. A strong upper body is essential to maintaining a good arm movement pattern whilst running.
Before you start running, eat some light, high energy food like a piece of fruit, a smoothie or an energy bar, but never try to run on a full stomach, unless it’s to catch the bus home! Replenish your spent energy after running by eating some protein and carbohydrates, such as scrambled eggs, a lean meat sandwich, yoghurt, granola or berries. Also, top up on fluids!
The London marathon can wait for now; just take it easy at first. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. That said, it’s important to set some goals, such as running a specific distance on the treadmill, aiming for a higher average pace. Set realistic targets so you can measure your results week by week. After a month, compare your beginner cardio readings to see how far you’ve come!
GET THE HABIT
Staying motivated is the key and once running becomes a habit – typically, after a few weeks – it really does get easier. Before you know it, you’ll feel full of energy and the running habit will be part of your daily or regular routine. Finding a running buddy is a great way of staving off boredom as your distances increase and because you can chat as you run, those miles will slip past unnoticed.
It’s important not to get too attached to the treadmill. Once you start to feel more at ease running, try some outdoor runs in the morning, or at weekends. Now’s the time to consider entering a 5k or 10k, half marathon, or even a marathon – just give yourself plenty of time to train properly.