Getting Started

 

At the risk of putting you off running forever……

 

Goals

Be clear about your goal for running, e.g. keeping fit, doing a charity run / challenge, be competitive etc….  e.g. if you want to just keep fit, don’t worry about looking at half marathon training schedules.

 

Getting started

Take it easy to start with because;

1. if you’ve not done much running for a while it takes time for you body to adjust to the change in load,  your bones and muscles respond to increased exercise by becoming tougher/stronger, but it takes time.

2. with us living in the 21st century (most of us anyway…) our bodies have got used to sofas, desks and memory foam mattresses. We don’t have to climb trees, jump over rivers and club a woolly mammoth to death for our dinner, consequently a lot of important muscles are underused and imbalanced vs other muscles. This causes a lot of problems to new runners and strengthening these are as important as running (in my opinion)  knee problems are a common source of injury to new runners often caused by weak thigh and butt muscles.  I often go to pilates and/or another ‘core stability’ exercise class once a week to keep on top of things.

 

If you’re a complete beginner, I wouldn’t go for runs of more than 20minutes to start with, incorporating walk sections and by running sections, www.runnersworld.co.uk has training schedules, for 5k and 10k races, they’ll give you an idea how to progress, shortening the walk interval and increasing the run interval.  Don’t go too fast, if you are find breathing a bit difficult, slow down.  The first few weeks are about getting your body used to running.  Get through that and you’ll soon be away….

 

One rule of thumb is “Don’t increase weekly mileage or individual run by more than 10%”  Naturally I’ve always ignored this rule, but then I have been injured a fair bit in the past.

 

Running Technique

 

This is a slightly contentious bit…… there are a couple of camps when it come to how to run, some believe we can naturally run and any problems you encounter are due to you your natural ‘issues’ and can be corrected by techy shoes and expensive podiatry treatments, then there’s the ‘barefoot’ hippy camp, who also believe we have a natural ability to run, but it has hindered by our squishy techy shoes and lack of mammoth hunting….  I tend more towards the hairy shoeless camp, though have muted my enthusiasm a bit.  Again this is my opinion (and also of many others) but running is a technique sport just like any other, get it wrong and at best you might not perform to your ability, at worse get injured.

 

Technique tips….

 

1. relax – all the time, very important!!

2. don’t stride out – sticking your leg out front when you land acts as a brake, slows you down, uses energy and can ruin you knees (had a lot of physio to find this out)

3. try and lift your feet off the ground rather than push, imagine running quietly, over hot coals, on water or something like that.

4. never go for a ‘plod’ always go for a run, make it quality even if it’s only short, and never feel like you’ve got to get the miles in – I’ve always trained less than all the runners I know, and am competitive with most of them, rest is important too…

5. relax – like I said very important…..

 

See other pages for more on my thoughts on running technique

 

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