How do I start running?

Running is a fantastic way to get fit, it is easy, cheap and great for your mental health. However, every year between 37% and 56% of runners sustain an injury which stops them training consistently, seek professional help, or use medication - most of these are preventable.

The British Medical Council recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, others recommend doing 10,000 steps per day, a bit of running will help you reach these goals. However, if you are starting out - take it easy, for many recreational runners,free3 image the Couch to 5K is too aggressive.

  1. Start by walking purposefully, stand tall, feet pointing forward with relaxed shoulders, don’t start running until you can comfortably walk for at least 30 minutes
  2. Invest in some trainers, road or off-road, buy a pair that is comfortable
  3. Wear appropriate comfortable running gear, man-made fibres that wick away sweat, avoid wearing cotton
  4. Start off slowly, little and often is much better than doing too much too soon, set yourself small achievable targets, like running a kilometre or mile. It is better for your body to get used to the new demands you are making on it and psychologically it is much more rewarding to reach a milestone
  5. Do not eat within two hours of a run or you risk getting a stitch if you do eat stick to the fruit which is easily digested
  6. Remember to warm up for at least 5 minutes, in my experience new runners and especially anyone with asthma, may need as much as 30 minutes to warm up initially, after a few weeks this can be reduced
  7. Do some drills, skipping, side to sides, to get your muscles ready for activity
  8. Start off jogging for 15 seconds and walking for 30 seconds, gradually increase the jogging time: 30, 45, 60, etc and walk for 60, 90, 120 seconds, build up slowly and start to reduce the rest periods, so eventually you are jogging continuously.
  9. Breathe through both your mouth and nose, if breathing is an issue consider downloading and using a breathing app which encourages you to belly breath
  10. Run tall with your hips high and only a slight bend at the waist, hands and shoulders should be relaxed
  11. Join a running group, running with a buddy is much more effective than running on your own, it also helps you create a habit, this way you train consistently and it’s easier to reach your goals
  12. The pace you run at should be comfortable, you should be able to talk
  13. Do some cross-training: cycling, swimming, strength and conditioning

Don’t wait until a niggle causes pain, get some advice from a running coach.

11 February, 2020

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