How to start running
Running fever has hit Ireland and it’s no surprise why. Running is a brilliant way to lose weight and keep fit. But it can be daunting if you’ve never run before, especially if you have friends, colleagues or family members who talk casually about how they run 7 miles each morning before breakfast!
Don’t be put off. Follow this advice and you could be running your first 5km race before you know it:
1. Talk to your doctor. Most people can start to train for running with no problems, but it’s worth checking in with your doctor before beginning a new exercise programme – particularly if you’ve had heart problems or recent foot or knee surgery.
2. Buy the right gear. It’s worth splashing out on a good pair of shoes and, for women, a high-impact sports bra. Choose comfortable shoes specifically designed for running, not cross-trainers, and only use them when you are running. If you run regularly, plan on getting a new pair every three months.
3. Start slowly. Try alternating five minutes of walking and one minute of running for 20 minutes. As you get fitter, you can lengthen the periods of running. Once you get used to running, you can alternate slow jogging with fast sprints.
4. Use the correct technique. Beginners can find it difficult to relax while running, so keep your head up, your lower arms to hip height, and run without bouncing. It all helps to work your body more efficiently.
5. Set a goal. Give yourself something to work towards. If you have never run before, then find and enter a 5k race. Your goal may just be to complete it without stopping, or to do it in under half an hour – it doesn’t matter.
6. Vary your routine. Don’t run every day and do something different every time — short, high-intensity runs on some days, distance runs on others.
7. If you are interested in building muscle mass, alternate running with weight training (running might be an excellent fat-buster, but it doesn’t build muscle very effectively).
8. Finish with flexibility . Just five minutes of stretching and muscle release exercises after your runs is enough to maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints and prevent tight muscles, which can lead to stiffness and injuries.
Right, if you’re now feeling really gung-ho to get started, maybe begin by checking out this 8-Week Beginner’s Programme from Runners World and we love this great app from C25K, which is perfect for beginners. And finally, if you want help to track your distances, then check out Map My Run.