So you want to get in to running but not really sure what you're doing? Just started but find it a constant struggle and can't seem to get past it or improve?
Then this article is for you. A quick look into all the things you need to consider when starting out...
1. Pace Yourself
If you're starting totally from scratch, it's a really good idea to hold back from running for miles on end and work up to it sensibly. Boring, I know. But also MUCH safer for your legs and your chances of continuing your new running habit, so scrap that all or nothing mentality and let's do it properly.
Take five minutes to warm up (raise your heart rate, limber up your joints, quick stretches), then attempt 20 minutes of jog 1 minute, walk 1 minute. If this gets too easy, increase the jogging to 2, 3 or 4 minutes and cut the walk down to 30 seconds. Do this over the course of a few weeks and build up to running happily with minimal rest.
Always always remember to cool down after (lower your heart rate, stretch it out). Your body will thank you for it.
To start with, pace is not something to worry about. If you're planning on running for three minutes before walking for one, pace yourself so you can manage the whole three minutes. Once fitness picks up and you're getting used to going out running, then you can progress to playing with speed.
2. Look After Your Trotters
Trainers that fit properly and are made for what you intend to use them for are super important for protecting your body. Trainers need to cushion your landing and support your feet, if yours don't then it's time for a new pair (yay!) before your ankles, knees, hips and/or back start hurting.
When buying new trainers, discard fashion and go for what suits your feet best first. If possible, find a shop with a treadmill and video camera set-up so the retailer can see how you run and what your individual needs are.
3. Breathe Right
If you aren't breathing, expect running to be a struggle. A lot of people tense up when running, so working on a breathing pattern can help fix this. It also gives you something to focus on which can make hills and distance feel more bearable!
Sometimes I time my breathing to my footfall. Depending on speed and how hilly it is, I usually breathe in to the count of three footfalls and out to the count of three more. Sometimes it's two, sometimes four. Find what works for you next time you head out. Deep and calm breaths.
4. Proper Posture
However, even with the best focus on breathing pattern, it won't mean anything if you're hunched over and crushing your lung space. Proper posture makes breathing and therefore running much easier. Make sure your shoulders are back and chest is open to open your lungs, this should also help your core muscles engage to help keep your upright. Also, keep shoulders down- running shouldn't be stressful so relax.
Finally, don't forget to use your arms. Even if one hand has a water bottle in it, you can still use it! I see many people struggle because their arms are dead stiff. Running is a full body thing, so use it all to help you along. Especially on steps and hills!
5. A Note On Hills
Talking of hills, try to pace yourself when going up them. Tackle small ones first and work up. The idea is to be able to pace yourself all the way to the top because after every uphill there is a downhill and the downhill is a perfect chance to let gravity help you along whilst you catch your breath back.
Proper posture and breathing patterns are most important when taking on a hill so stay focussed until the hill is done. Developing a strong mindset is invaluable here.
This way of running hills will become super useful if you want to start picking up the pace or running further.
Last but not least, mantras. I picked this tip up from a friend of mine who does a lot of work with mindfulness and suggested I apply it to my running.
So instead of just looking at my breathing pattern and counting 1, 2, 3, 4 or repeating In in in Out out out, he nudged me to find a mantra which works for me and my breathing pattern and see how I get on with that as my focus instead.
One thing I learnt- if you tell yourself something over and over whilst getting the happy buzz from running, you are going to feel on top of the world afterwards. So pick words and phrases which suit you best for that specific day and try it.
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There you have it. Six quick tips.
And if you're struggling to get up and out the door? Ready to make some changes and want some support and structure? Check out why all Hell Yeah Healthy Programs work and then find your perfect match.
Do you have any extra tips for me? Any comments? That's great- shoot me a message or leave me a comment below ❤
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