Looking to start your own running journey? Are you a new runner looking to become a fitter, healthier version of yourself? Here a few top tips to help you get off on the right track
“YOU'RE NOT A RUNNER – YOU'RE AN ATHLETE THAT SPECIALISES IN RUNNING”
1. Getting the correct kit.
Your journey begins with getting a comfortable pair of shoes. Now, this can be a complete minefield, so let’s keep this simple, FIND a comfortable shoe!! Shoes come in so many different fits, with different heel drops, stack heights, lightweight, stability, neutral….. all of which can play a role in how you run and influence injuries.
Comfort should be the priority, for now, start here and then start making changes if you need to.
As you pick the shoes I’d also recommend some good socks, they can make a big difference as well. Moisture-wicking and breathable, you may prefer a slightly lighter pair or a heavier pair, again personal preference.
That’s the feet sorted, next you want some kit. You want to be looking at a kit that’s made from a technical fabric that’s breathable and comfortable. Depending on the time of year you’re running you may need a winter waterproof jacket, winter tights, gloves etc.
2. Have a plan & goals
I have found that having a plan & goals is key to success. Plan when you going to fit your runs in your lifestyle. Are you going to run in the morning to fit in before work/afterwards, can you run commute? Or when the kids are in bed?
Plan your runs, actually where you’re going to run and for how long. Planning different routes will prevent you from becoming demotivated, it’s nice sometimes to repeat routes as they can provide you with a great indication of your progress.
Setting a goal like completing a 5k run without walking, so set some short term goals and that will lead you on to some longer-term goals.
If you need help with a training plan I do offer a couple of plans aimed towards new runs, my Run5Project and my FitnessRunning plans. Please complete my coaching foam (foam).
3. Start of steady
One mistake a lot of runners do is to do too much too quickly. Start steady; it may involve a fair bit of walking with some running. For example, start with a brisk 5-minute walk then run for 1 minute, walk for 2 minutes repeat and then a 5-minute walk to finish. The session should last for around 20-30 minutes.
Recovery starts before you even start out on your run, making sure your well fuelled before heading helps, then making sure you get the fuel in afterwards, and hydrate.
Adding some mobility work into your training plan would also be beneficial, stretching a little after runs, a little foam rolling, it all helps just promoting healthy blood flow back into the muscles.
Sleep is the biggest recovery tool, making sure you get at least 7 hours. Sleep allows your body to repair broken-down cells, enabling you to get back out training.
Eat well and stay hydrated! NOW, just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you like. What you want is a nice balance of carbs, protein and fats, everything in moderation. Yes, you can enjoy a bit of cake or a pizza after a run just not after every run.
Hydration super important and all forgotten about, you want to drink little and often throughout the day. Waiting up until 10-15minutes before you run and downing a pint of water is just going to make you feel like crap, it’s just going to sit and slosh about. After your runs, you want to take on fluids to top up your electrolytes.
6. Strength Training
Something else that runners generally neglects. Strength training is import for all runners at any level, preparing and building a stronger frame is only going to stand you in good stead.
As we run, it impacts the whole body massively; bones, muscles, tendons, like it or not your body roughly absorbs 2.5-3 times your body weight. So, now why aren’t you strength training? You don’t need a gym or fancy equipment simple by adding in some bodyweight exercises will do, or if you have a couple of dumbbells or my favourite training tool the kettlebell.
More information on strength training check out my post The Importance of Weight Training