Running, we are led to believe, is one of life's great simplicities. Buy some shorts and trainers and get out of the door whenever you can. But there is a little more to it than that!
The sea of information can seem daunting when starting out, so we have come up with the essential advice you need in the key areas of training, shoes, clothing and injury prevention.
- Make sure you warm-up, stretch and cool-down for every run.
- Don’t make the mistake of trying to do too much too soon. Start off very gently and remember that if you cannot hold a conversation when you are running, you are pushing yourself too hard.
- Don’t worry about how hard you are training or whether you are doing enough, just get out and establish the routine first. After about a month of your training, your consistency should start to feel like a habit.
- At this point think about involving a professional. Find a recommended personal trainer to progress your training at the right rate for you. If you don’t belong to a gym then find a freelance trainer that will come out to your house. This doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive just a couple of visits and they will write you a plan and show you different techniques.
- Alternatively, you could download a half marathon training plan compiled by a professional coach to get you started.
Buying a pair of running shoes can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of pairs on the market and unfortunately it’s not just a case of buying a pair that feel comfortable and look cool. These are our top tips to help you get the right pair:
- Forget about colour – prioritise fit, function and feel.
- Don’t buy the ones your friends have always run in, they may not be right for you.
- Take advice from a knowledgeable and trustworthy sales person who understands why you require the product being sold. Only buy sports shoes after you’ve tried them on.
- Keep your feet dry. Running-specific socks will help stop moist or sweaty feet from blistering.
- Gait analysis will show how you move. Use this to hone your footwear purchase, learn about where your technique can be more efficient, and understand what preventative maintenance is required to prevent injury.
- Footbed? This can be added to enhance the support that the shoe offers and help with knee hip and back alignment.
As a new runner, the first words you should add to your clothing vocabulary are ‘wick’ and ‘wicking’. This is how fabric deals with the moisture (sweat) the body creates. A good piece of running clothing must transport moisture away from the body towards the outside environment, so even with intensive sweating you can feel comfortable and dry.
The piece of clothing should also be able to regulate body temperature; this doesn’t mean it comes with a hot or cold switch that you can turn off and on at your leisure! You should try to layer your clothing so you’re able to adapt to the weather as it changes.
Many people start running with the greatest of intentions, only to be struck down by injury a few weeks into their training regime. This is an unfortunate and unnecessary setback, which can be prevented or at least the risk reduced, by taking a few simple precautionary steps:
- Ensure you are running in the correct running shoes for your running style and bodyweight.
- Always carry out a thorough warm-up before exercise, which should leave you slightly sweaty and your body prepared for the upcoming activity.
- Ensure correct and adequate stretching is incorporated into your training regime, including at least one session of stretching away from your running sessions.
- Avoid the temptation to run too far and too fast before your body is ready for it; overloading the tissues, can lead to injury.
- Seek advice with regards to your correct posture and any muscle imbalances.
It’s easier to prevent an injury than it is to treat one once it has occurred.
This also means that you don’t have to take time out of your fitness regime to recover and spares you all that pain!