Many of us may have watched thousands of people walk/run/jog through the streets of London last week for this years Virgin London Marathon. And today the ballot for the 2018 London Marathon opened and you may well be considering entering? I know I am! It is an event open to people of all fitness levels from the elite to running virgins. Some people enter with the intention of chasing a Personal Best time, some just aim to make it across the finish line in one piece. But for anyone that completes a marathon, it is a huge accomplishment! 26.2 miles is no joke! In fact, some people couldn't think of anything worse. The dedication, discipline and physical effort you need to have to stick to training for months in the wind, rain and sun is tough. And you're just running and running and running....
However, maybe watching the marathon left you feeling inspired. Those people dedicated time and effort into something that was going to make them physically fit, and feel proud to have completed one of the worlds greatest running races.
So, if you're now looking at your trainers thinking 'Hey, if the guy in a rhino suit ran 26.2 miles, maybe I could try it out', then here are a few tips if you want to get into running this summer:
Do you actually like running? Running isn't for everyone, some people find it very boring. So if you've thought about starting running, have you thought why? Maybe it's to improve your cardiovascular health? To have some time with your thoughts while getting the benefits of exercise? Or to set yourself a challenge by signing up for a 5k/10k/half marathon? Whatever it is, have a purpose. Because if you are someone who hates running, and is only going for a run because you feel you should. Then guess what? You are NOT going to stick with it and your running trainers will go back to collecting dust in the cupboard.
Leading on from point 1, find your own motivation. Set your own personal goals to help you maintain motivation in your training. Again this depends on you and your level of fitness. It could be to be able to jog for 20 minutes without stopping, or sign up for an event to run a set distance by a certain date eg. Race for life, Great North Run, London Marathon.
3. Trainers:This is important. Find a good pair of trainers that fit, are durable and comfortable. As tempting as it may be to go for a cheap set or the newest edition of Nike/Adidas trainer, I highly recommend investing in a good pair of trainers if you want to get more serious about running. There are more places now where you can have your gait analysed (your running technique) to see which style of trainer may suit you best. They may not always look the 'coolest' but your feet will begin to thank you for it in the long run.
4. Running solo or with company?
Are you someone who enjoys running by themselves? Or do like having a running buddy alongside you? Both are equally fine. Personally, I prefer running by myself as I can tune into my body and thoughts. It gives me a time to mull over whatever is on my mind and either let it go, or find a solution! I also like to listen to music and podcasts while I am running, you might like this too! Listen to your favourite tracks to push you along or chill you out. If you love having a running buddy then great! It's good to have someone there to chat to and motivate you along the way. Whether it is two of you or you are part of a running club/group, the social element of running can be just as rewarding.
5. Gradually build up:
If it is your first time running don't go in all guns blazing. And depending on what other exercise you do, your body might find going for a run a massive shock to the system! So ease yourself in. Maybe start with running for a 3-4 minutes followed by 1 minute of walking and gradually build this up by increasing the time spent running compared to walking. Find your own pace and rhythm and work up from there. If you are consistent with your training you will be surprised at how quickly you will improve!
6. Warm up, cool down and recovery:
Make sure you do an effective warm up and cool down to make the most out of your run. The warm up doesn't have to be long. Raise your heart rate and include some mobilisation and gentle stretches for the hips, calves and hamstrings. When it comes to your cool down, don't skip this out. It might be easy to just do your run and get on with the rest of your day, but doing a cool down will help bring your body and mind back to its normal resting state. Include some dynamic and static stretches for not only the hips and legs, but also the lower back and torso. If you experience tightness or muscle pain a day or two after running, do the same gentle stretches for around 10 minutes to ease out the body. Also, try using a foam roller or massage ball to help ease out those niggles and tight spots a little bit more.
7. Dress Appropriately:
Your body temperature will increase as you run, so you don't want to spend half your time undressing and wondering where to put your extra layers. Depending on the weather, wear slightly less layers than you would anticipate. Obviously, if it is winter and snowing make sure you wear enough layers to keep your body warm while you run.
8. Stay positive and enjoy!
Remember why you are running and be proud for investing time in your health and wellbeing. Some days your run may leave you feeling on top of the world, while others may be more of a struggle. Stay positive, stick with it and enjoy the freedom that running can bring you!
Simply Moving Personal Training
(Image reference: https://www.virginlondonmarathon.com)