Follow our simple steps to running success and you can’t fail to go the distance.
What kit do I need?
A sports bra, t-shirt and shorts should suffice, but the most vital ingredient is the right shoes. Make sure they are tailored to your foot and running style, with enough support and grip.
How long and far should I run?
Consistency is key, so avoid radically altering the distances and frequency of your runs. The common building scale is 10% per week. A person starting with 10 miles a week or 50 minutes in total could increase this gradually to 11 miles or 55 minutes. Or, if you start with 10 minutes, aim for 11-12 minutes after a few days, don’t jump straight up to 60.’
What if I do too much too soon?
Injury and fatigue are common consequences and beginners should take a rest day between runs. Gradually, your distance will increase and one day on, one day off can become two days on, one day off then three days on, one day off – until you reach your capacity to run consecutive days without soreness or impact.
How should I warm up and cool down?
Chris advises a 5-10 minute walk to warm up, increasing the pace briskly towards the end. If you stretch cold muscles, you risk damaging them. Instead get the mind and body ready by warming up gradually. To cool down, reduce the intensity before stretching your calves, your quads, your glutes and your buttocks.
Should I follow a special diet?
As long as you have a healthy, balanced diet and ensure you are adequately fuelled and hydrated before a run, you should be fine. Caffeine before exercise can enhance endurance and speed, but beetroot juice is an increasingly popular and healthier option.
How can I avoid injury?
Progress steadily and don’t overload your body, give it time to adapt and grow stronger. Consider a running and gait analysis before you start running more frequently. Trainers and running coaches with experience will be able to spot mistakes that may lead to injury and recommend strength work specifically tailored to your muscle weaknesses.
How important is technique?
Very! As a child, we were often taught to run faster and further with big, long strides. In reality, we should do the opposite. Your stride should be nice and short, with good, upright posture, relaxed shoulders and small, quick steps.
How important is routine?
Again, very! Routine keeps you from overdoing it, yet ensures you’re running regularly enough to achieve your goals. Make sure you design a routine that fits into your normal lifestyle, or you’ll never be able to keep to it.
How can I stay motivated?
Have a specific target in mind such as running for a charity. Setting yourself goals means you’ve got a reason to get out and run. Create a ‘journey’ to your target, with objectives building to the week and day of the race. What you do in each training session then has meaning because it links to all the other goals. Even if you only improve by a few seconds, you’re still going in the right direction.
Also make sure you have the right attitude towards running. Instead of saying “I’ve got to go out running today” say, “it’s my time to go running”. Have fun with it. Running with a smile on your face can change how you feel. Kids run for the fun of it and sometimes we need to be a bit childish about our running too!
Are you overdoing it?
Watch out for the warning signs!
- It’s natural to feel sore during training but a specific, worsening pain could be a sign of something serious. It’s an indication that something is overworked, or isn’t functioning correctly for the load you’re giving it.
- Feeling constantly stiff and sore, even after rest days, is another sign that you haven’t fully recovered. Take more time to rest. It’ll give your muscles the time they need to recover adequately, plus it’ll mean you’re fit and raring to go when it comes to your next run.
- If you used to be energized by running, but have lost your drive, you may be overdoing it mentally. This means general exhaustion not just “I can’t be bothered to run today”. You need a rest. Remember, it’s meant to be fun!