It’s the London Marathon this month when runners of all ages and experience will be raising millions of pounds for good causes. Personal trainer Becca Mclachlan has these top tips to encourage you to dust off your trainers and start pounding the pavements and trails around Northamptonshire...
Running is not only great exercise, but it’s also fantastic for enhancing your mood too and the better weather and lighter nights encourage more of us to put on our trainers.
If you are a beginner, here are 10 simple steps to help you get started, avoid injury and stay motivated.
1. If you are recovering from an injury or have any health issues, it’s always advisable to consult your GP before starting any exercise programme.
2. A good pair of running shoes suitable for your foot type is crucial to reduce the risk of injury. Shin splints can be a common problem that beginners can experience from wearing the wrong type of running shoes.
There are many types of trainers on the market, so it’s best to get advice from a specialist running retailer, who will assess your foot and find the right shoe for you. The shock absorbers in trainers weaken over time, increasing your risk of injury, so it’s advisable to replace running shoes every 300 miles (482km).
3. Before each run, begin with a gentle warm-up of at least five minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping or climbing stairs.
4. When you begin to run, aim not to go off too fast too soon, just start jogging at a gentle pace. Begin by doing walk/run intervals and, as time goes on, make the running intervals longer until you are running continuously.
5. When running, it’s important to strike the ground with the middle of your foot. Avoid running on your toes as this will give you sore calf muscles.
6. At the end of each run give yourself time to cool down, taking yourself back to a walk and doing some gentle leg stretches.
7. To help with motivation, find yourself a running buddy. You’ll encourage each other when you’re not so keen to run, as you won’t want to let your partner down, and this will help keep you both motivated.
8. Aim to run at least twice a week. If you are consistent, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll start to progress.
9. Keep your running interesting by adding variety. Running the same route over and over again can become boring.
10. Set yourself a challenge. Training for a charity run or race is a great way to stay motivated.