Friday, June 18, 2010

New to Running ?

This post has been written for anyone new to running or thinking of taking up running. Here are some things to do before you start :

1) Think about what sort of physical shape you are currently in and start accordingly. If you have an underlying serious medical condition like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, recent surgery or childbirth etc go along and have a chat with your GP just to make sure you will not be doing yourself any harm.#

2) Go and buy a pair of trainers. These don't have to be the just released, top of the range Nike pair, they can be last year's model. Personally, I favour the Mizuno Wave Rider ( Over time you will find a style that works for you. You might be thinking why do I need an expensive pair of trainers ?? Well, firstly they don't need to be expensive, but there are quite a few worthy reasons for getting good shoes. When you go along to a reputable sports store they will ask you to run for just a few moments on a treadmill so that they can carry out a gait analysis and foot strike analysis. This will show whether you an overpronator, a neutral runner or supinator. Which basically means whether you foot leans excesively to the left or right when your foot hits the floor whilst running. The great thing is that the shoes can fix these problems and therefore reduce the risk of injury and provide a well cushioned stable foot whilst you run.

Trainers also offer cushioning. When you run there is a massive amount of pressure going through your joints, your ankles, knees and hips.with every single footfall, therefore you need trainers with good cushioning to absorb some of the shock and take the pressure off your joints. It is for this reason that you should also try and keep a log of the number of miles run in your trainers so you know when to replace them. A rule of thumb is to replace your trainers every 300 to 400 miles depnding on your build and the surface you run on. If you run off-road trainers will need replacing more often.

3. So, you've got the trainers. What about the rest of the kit ? Well, the truth is that until you really start to get going you can make do with a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

4. Start off slowly and steady. Find a route and measure it, let's say a mile near your home or work. First you need to warm up. If you are not a runner then just walk for a few minutes, until you feel warmer and you heart is beating faster. If this is enough for now and you feel breathless then try this every other day and gradually build up to a brisk walk. If you are fitter then slow jog or walk/jog the one mile route. Try this every other day, gradually building up the amount that you run and reducing the amount that you walk, until you can run the route comfortably. Then either expand to two laps of the route or find a longer route.

NOTE: A good rule of thumb is to never increase your distance by more than 10% per week.

Don't forget to warm down and have a little stretch after your run and don't forget to drink water to replace any fluids you have lost. Unless you are exercising for more than 45 minutes you shouldn't need any more than water. Any more than this and you might want to eat  a banana or drink an energy drink to replace electrolyes lost as well as water.

Happy Running !

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