I must confess this evening something extremely strange happened.
As I was reading my daughter a rather riveting bedtime story (something about a Superworm) and as I tried desperately to ignore my sons screams for extra milk demanded specifically in his cow cup, my wife entered the room in her running kit and uttered the words I’ve been wanting her to say for some time.
Stop it, no not that but….
‘I’m going for a run’
I should make it apparent that my wife is a regular gym goer, however I think its fair to say she hasn’t exactly shared my passion for running which is why it was such a shock!
This revelation along with receiving some warm feedback on previous running posts has prompted me to write my top tips on the best way to embark on your running journey – if you’ve just started or perhaps just contemplating giving it a go.
1.Treat yourself to some decent running shoes.
Running is a fairly cost effective sport in terms of kit. However, your feet are your main source of equipment so you’ll need to look after them. The first step I would advise is to get your running gait analysed.
We all run in slightly different styles, think Phoebe from friends.
However, the manner in which we run and the way in which our foot strikes the floor determines the best type of shoe to wear. This can help with comfort and injury prevention.
For example, a majority of runners in the UK over pronate their foot on landing which means the foots rolls inwards. This can cause injuries like shin splints for example. Shops that measure running gait will get you to run slowly to identify how you run and offer you a trainer that will compensate for your style. In this case a more stable shoe offering support would help the runner. In Cardiff, shops like MOTI on Albany road or Run and Become on St Mary Street offer this service.
Once you know the shoe you require, shop around. Running shoes are updated year on year and it is possible to get some great bargains by buying last seasons version.
I regularly meet people who tell me that running isn’t for them or that they are simply not a natural runner (READ PREVIOUS BLOG ON THIS)
While I accept not everyone will enjoy running, there was a time when I also despised the very thought of it.
Go easy on yourself and don’t run before you can walk (excuse the pun) Don’t expect to be able to run park run overnight and understand that fitness can take a little while to build although it does build quickly the more you do it.
All runners struggle with motivation from time to time but it is worth remembering that the more you do it the easier it gets. The first two or three runs will be the hardest that you will do and it is only an upward progress from there.
There are also incredible initiatives and Apps that offer strong support and guidance to help you along your way. You only have to google ‘Couch to 5km’ and you will find that the BBC and or the NHS offer Apps with a fantastic progressive starting plan – happy days!
3.Get Social – Find a running partner/Join a running club
If you have great intentions to run but are struggling to motivate yourself then running with a friend could be the solution. Running with company is a great way to motivate yourself and is a really enjoyable way to pass the time. Although the ‘talk test’ is always a good measure of how hard you are working!
Another great way of getting into running is to join a running club. Running clubs welcome new runners regularly and offer a great way to meet runners of all levels and will cater to your running ability. You should be able to locate your local running club by visiting British athletics and selecting the ‘find a club’ feature.
4.Enter a running event
Why not? What better way is there to motivate yourself then commiting to an event?
A great goal to start with would be to run at your local Parkrun which is 3.1 miles and incidentally run around a park.
This event is attended by runners of all levels of ability, young and old and even runners with prams and dogs. (Head to Parkrun uk to find your local even) and although it is timed is only as competitive or non-competitive as you make it.
Personally I am in awe, week in and week out by not only the running community but the volunteers who give their time to run this free event.
If you’re feeling a little braver then websites like findarace.com will provide an extensive list of 10kms , half marathons and many more races around the uk.
Remember the word ‘race’ is a loose term in running as and I quote the words of Baz Luhrmann (Sunscreen)
”Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, the race is long, and in the end, its only with yourself’
In running you set the benchmark and nobody else so give it a whirl as if nothing else the experience and atmosphere are something to cherish.
5.Aches and Pains are normal
It is normal to feel some aches and pains or DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) when starting to run as you are using muscles and movements you might not have previously.
As you get used to running more often these pains subside. ( Of course this is within reason, if an injury is particularly painful or re-occurring make sure it is rested and or checked with your Dr.)
If you concerned about the prospect of knee pain as a result of taking up running then the following statistic might be of interest.
In 2013 a huge study of nearly 75,000 runners and 15,000 walkers found that runners were almost half as likely to develop arthritis than walkers, and the more miles a week runners did the lower the risk was for them.
So there you go! No excuses, now get yourself some kit and give it a go – you won’t regret it!
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