More and more people are taking up running these days, whether it’s to help shed some weight for the summer, to improve your fitness or to help de-stress and unwind. There are many benefits to running, but if you’re new to the running scene there are a few things you should take into account before you get started.
Running shoes will be the most important piece of equipment that you need to start running. Whilst you may be a bit unsure if you will stick to it, your whole running experience will be much better if you have a proper pair of running shoes to try it with. Won’t a normal pair of trainers do the trick? Well – no, not really. Running shoes are designed specifically for running. They allow your foot to touch the ground properly to reduce the shock that then travels up your leg. Clumpier trainers can do more damage to your legs and feet than a proper pair of running shoes. If you’re seriously thinking of taking up running then you should definitely invest in a good pair of running shoes.
Other gear you will need – if you’re a female, then a sports bra is a no brainer. A high impact sports bra will make the world of difference. Running strains the cooper’s ligaments, and without a well supportive sports bra it can lead to sagging, discomfort and pain. Some shorts, or tight fitting leggings, and a breathable t shirt are also a good idea. These help to wick away the sweat leaving you feeling more comfortable – particularly on humid days where you will just feel more sticky and dehydrated without them. When running during the darker months high visibility clothing and accessories are essential.
When starting off running you are probably not going to be able to run 10 miles instantly. Taking it slow and building your miles up is the best way to go, rather than throwing yourself in at the deep end and ending up scaring yourself off of running. The concept behind it is you walk for a certain amount of time, then run for a short time, then walk some more. Each day you gradually build up the amount of time you are running for, and cut down on the amount of time you are walking for.
Try to run 3 times a week. Tracking your progress is a great way of seeing how you are improving, which will help to motivate you to stay on track. Logging where you ran, how far, and how long it took you will give you a good indicator on your improvements. So on those odd days where you may feel unmotivated, you can look back through and see how much you have achieved!
Always take a phone with you just in case of an emergency. If you can, it is always best to run with a partner or a group, but if you can’t then you should always tell someone where you are running to and when just in case. During the darker months you should always wear high visibility and fluorescent clothing and accessories to make yourself visible, and stick to routes that you are familiar with.
You are going to ache from time to time. It is important to know the difference between a few aches and pains, from a serious persistent injury. Anything that actually hurts more than an aching leg you should keep an eye on. Do not continue to run if something hurts constantly, and make sure you get it checked out. When in doubt follow RICE; rest, ice, compress and elevate.
Keeping hydrated is so important, particularly when running as you will be sweating more than you do on a general day to day basis. It is always best to take water with you – just in case you feel dehydrated or light headed be it a short or a long run you have planned, especially if it is a hot or humid day. When doing any intense training or running for longer than 90minutes, you will probably need to replace the electrolytes lost. This is where a sports drink may come in handy. However, on a regular run, stick with water.
Running with a partner or a group is great from a safety perspective, but also to help keep you motivated and on track. There will be the odd day where you think you cannot be bothered, or you think you can’t do it, and having someone to motivate you and push you past that phase is a great thing. Likewise, when your partner may need some encouraging you can do the same. Sharing goals and achievements is a great way to boost your motivation!
You may have started running to de stress, or to get fit or even lose weight. For any of these reasons, you still need to watch what you eat. Whilst burning off those extra calories may make you think you have earned a few treats, it is important that the food you eat is refueling and helping your body to recover and prepare for the next run. After running, eating a protein filled meal will help to repair your muscle tissue, and carbs help to refuel your energy levels. You can allow yourself the odd treat, but generally watching what you eat will help you with the next run and will help boost your weight loss and energy.
Setting yourself goals to achieve will keep you focused and on track. Whether it be that you want to be able to run a half marathon by the end of the year, or if it’s something much smaller such as being able to run 5k without having to stop and walk by a certain time. Setting small goals that you can aim towards will keep you motivated and once you start achieving these goals, you will really start to see what you are able to achieve when you set your mind to it.