Top Tips for New Runners…
In this great ‘guest article’ my good friend and running fanatic Alan shares his top tips aimed at new runners.
Alan has been a keen runner for over forty years, and has great knowledge and experience of what it takes to be a runner.
Without ‘further-a-do’ here are his top ten tips…
1) Purchase The Correct Running Shoes:
You don’t have to spend a fortune, but most good running shops will give you a free Gait Analysis.
They will look to see how you run to make sure that the shoes you buy are correct for your running style.
This will help to make sure your feet are comfortable and help to reduce injuries.
2) Don’t Run Before You Can Walk:
Running is hard work!
Don’t set your goals too high at the start.
Running is about winning by inches.
As long as you are making progress each week it really doesn’t matter how slowly you walk/run at the beginning.
If it is a long time since you did any exercise doing too much will just make you hate running.
Lamp Posts are your friend!
Try to alternate walking and running using the Lamp Posts as end/start points in the beginning.
You may start by walking two and running one, and progress at your own rate.
3) Don’t Break The 10% Rule:
You should never increase your total weekly distance, or average running speed, by more than 10%.
This will almost certainly result in injury!
4) Join A Running Club:
This may seem really daunting but there are loads of clubs across the North West, and all provide a warm welcome to new runners.
Many of them offer beginner groups, and they make sure that no one, regardless of fitness, gets left behind.
The way they do this is by looping back on training runs.
Every few hundred metres, the runners at the front turn back and run to the back of the group.
This way, the faster runners get to run further and faster, and everyone remains together.
Running with others will improve your experience.
Find a couple of local clubs, give them a call or message them on Facebook, and I guarantee they will welcome you with open arms.
You may even improve your social life!
5) Make It A Habit:
Starting is the hardest part.
It will take you a few weeks of perseverance before you get used to running.
There are hundreds of excuses that you can find not to run.
I won’t bother to list them as I’m sure you already know them.
Keep going and I promise it will become fun!
Especially if you join a club or find others to run with.
If you really don’t feel like running on a certain day, what I do is say to myself “I will put on my running gear and run for 400 metres, If I still can’t face it, I’ll turn back”.
Guess what? – I never turn back.
Having your running gear on with your front door closed behind you is the hardest part!
6) Track Your Progress:
Most beginners start by using their phones – there are dozens of running apps out there.
Strava is the most popular, but it doesn’t matter which you use.
Start the app, take your phone in a pocket, or in an armband, and upload the run when you get back.
Seeing your distance, average speed etc, and seeing it improve is very motivational.
You will soon want to be beating your best statistics.
If it’s Christmas or birthday time or you have some spare money, buy yourself an activity tracker.
Garmin are the most popular and they are very addictive.
7) Don’t Start Running & Dieting At The Same Time:
If, like most people, you are looking to lose weight, running will definitely help.
However, undertaking a running programme and dieting are a deadly combination at the beginning.
Your body will be in shock from this new expectation you have put on it, and if you diet too much it will be an almost certain way to fail.
Let your body get used to the extra demands before cutting calories.
At the same time, don’t over reward yourself.
Running burns between 85-120 calories per mile depending on your weight and the intensity you run at.
A very small piece of chocolate cake can easily contain 300 calories.
Would you rather run another three miles or skip the chocolate cake? (who has a small piece anyway? – make that 6 miles!)
Running is hard enough, so most runners feel that they’ve done enough and skip the stretching.
If you don’t stretch, your muscles will tighten and this will put pressure on tendons, ligaments and joints which will lead to injury.
Maybe consider Pilates or yoga.
Both are excellent for runners.
If you really feel like pampering yourself, a sports massage will leave you feeling amazing (although expect to wince a little during the massage, especially if you are already a little tight in the muscles).
Once a month if you can afford it would be great.
Doing a strength workout will not only help you avoid injuries but it will help you to run faster too.
It doesn’t matter if this is by using weights in the gym or doing bodyweight exercises.
When you run, it may be your legs doing most of the work, but your core is what supports you and provides stability.
Having a strong core makes you more controlled and will help avoid injury due to weak spots in your body
10) Set A Goal & Have Fun:
There are many races every weekend, and they attract crowds of runners all with different goals.
Some are looking to win and others to just get round.
Some runners race most weekends.
It will really get you hooked and give you a buzz.
There are runners of all abilities, so you don’t need to worry about being last and even if you were, the organisers will make sure they look after you.
A great place to start is Parkrun – a free weekly 5km run/jog/walk.
There are hundreds of events all across the country on Saturday mornings.
They are the most friendly and welcoming events for all runners, and especially new runners.
I’ll let you Google for more details.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I genuinely hope you give running a try, it’s given me over 40 years of pleasure (well, mostly) and I haven’t met a single runner who has ever regretted taking it up.
You won’t find a more friendly bunch of people than those you meet as a runner.
Good luck and please feel free to contact me if I can help or advise you in any way.
Guest Post by Alan Jolly
Ian David Worthington | GymWolfPT.com