Check out her latest blog post featuring tips on how to start training for your first race!
How do we start? Simple – by putting on some running trainers, stepping out the door, placing one foot in front of the other and moving a little faster than walking pace. VIOLA! You’re now officially a runner! Whether you’re a complete beginner or it’s your first race, we’re here to help you.
At the start, you shouldn’t stress on running the entire distance in one go. Use the walk/run/walk method – walk for 2 minutes, run for 2 minutes and then again walk. You can gradually build into longer intervals of running and decrease your walking time. Build it up slowly and don’t be ashamed to walk. Everyone starts somewhere and we’ve all been there. Soon you’ll be able to run the distance with only a short amount of walking and soon you’ll be able to run the entire distance.
Find your comfortable running pace and don’t start off too fast. We all have a comfortable pace – this is a speed where we can jog and chat casually without being out of breath. It’s very easy to start off running too fast, so we need to reign this in before you overexert yourself, which could lead to injuries. Our bodies need to adapt, which may take some time. However, this will build a stronger running base long-term. Be patient.
Remember that this is a lot of stress on the body if you’re a beginner. Even if the first run went well, give your body some time to recover. Try not to get too enthusiastic and train every day. Let your body adapt and build your fitness slowly. Always remember to stretch after your runs and also to refuel and hydrate.
Warm-up and Recovery are extremely important, whether you’re a beginner or a professional make sure you warm-up and do dynamic stretches before your run. Once you’ve finished, then keep the body moving by walking or shaking out. Three examples of helping you to recover are stretching, using a foam roller or getting a sports massage. Another key recovery point is to have either an ice bath or Epsom salts bath to help reduce muscle pain, inflammation, and soreness. Drinking plenty of fluids will help flush out any lactic acid, so drink up! High5 nutrition has a great range of ZERO TABLETS, which contain Magnesium and electrolytes to restore any salts that you’ve lost throughout sweat.
Pay attention to your technique. Make sure you’re landing softly on your feet, not overstriding and relaxing your upper body. As you relax your shoulders you should have a natural swing in the arms, which helps to rotate the hips. Short, easy steps are the way forward. Gradually you’ll be able to build into longer, faster strides.
Make sure you invest in some decent road shoes, as well as trail trainers. Mixing up your running surfaces will make you a stronger runner. Running on the road or pavement is good for faster running and you’re less likely to sprain your ankle. However, it’s tough on the joints. Don’t just pound the pavements. Mix up your terrain with some trail running. Running through the woods or parks provides cushioning, although take note that you should only do this during the day where is clear to see where you’re stepping. It’s extremely dangerous to run in the woods and parks due to poor visibility of roots, tree trunks, rocks, and rabbit holes. Stay safe. Another option is a treadmill. Please remember that most people run differently on a treadmill, so gait analysis that is done in the shops are never accurate. The treadmill is also great for interval and speed training; I highly suggest you try this out if you don’t have access to a running track. Another positive of the treadmill is the belt has a shock absorber, so it’s a lot easier on the joints and helps you land softly.
As a beginner, it’s very easy to get caught up in just running. The reality is we all need to cross-train. This can be anything from swimming, boxing or yoga. Strength work is a great way to build muscle to protect the joints and will also help you build strength in your legs and glutes for any hill work. Classes such as Pilates are fantastic for core work and your posture. Having a strong core is crucial for a runner to prevent injuries. Only doing abdominal crunches is not the answer, you need to strengthen your back as well as your front. Some people hate stretching and usually struggle with flexibility. How about a yoga class? As well as stretching and building flexibility, yoga is a great way to clear your mind and relax. If you have time I suggest Pilates and yoga at least twice a week. If you don’t want to go to a class then have a look on YouTube. It’s amazing what you can find on social media.
Last but not least HAVE FUN!! Remember running shouldn’t feel like a chore. Yes, the race may seem like a challenge but the feeling you’ll get once stepping over that finish line is euphoric. It’s a gift just to be able to run, so embrace it. It’s also a great way to spend time with family and friends, so find someone to go out and run with. Also, remember you can use it as ME time. Pop in some headphones press play on your music playlist or podcast and zone out. It’s just you and the road and a journey to becoming a great runner.
Ania Gabb – Ambassador