A walker’s guide to running for health
Running is one way towards a healthier lifestyle – but it pays to be well prepared
We’re not all gifted runners. A lucky few can run up hill and down dale for hours and barely break a sweat. But many of us struggle to make it through a solid two minutes without fear of total collapse.
Don’t worry – there is still time to lift your game. Running events crop up all over the country as summer looms and give us even more motivation to swap a gentle amble for a strong and speedy stride.
But preparation is more important than the actual running.
Here are a few hints to help those of us who’ve never jumped on the running bandwagon but are keen to give it a go. Invest in good shoes.
The better your shoes, the better your skin and joints will feel. There are a number of specialist stores that will film your running style and select a shoe style based on how your stride hits the ground and how how your ankles and knees roll. Start small.
Don’t expect to run for 60 minutes straight on your first day out. There’s more chance of injury or strain if you go too hard-out at the beginning.
Start small – running for 60 seconds and walking for 60 seconds or running then walking between power poles. Build yourself up to running for five minutes as you get fitter, walking for one, and so on, until you’re able to comfortably run for 10 or 20 minutes at a time.
There are even running plan apps to help you learn and track your running, like Nike+ and MapMyRun. Run in comfy clothes.
Your choice of outfit shouldn’t be about fashion; it’s about comfort. Invest in shorts or leggings that let you freely move. Your T-shirt or singlet and socks should be breathable. Ladies, invest in a good sports bra that gives you enough support.
Join a running group.
Exercise of any kind is always more fun with a friend. A running group will give you a bit of extra motivation and encouragement. You might even want to set up your own. Stick to a schedule.
Create good habits by setting up a weekly routine. Get your training out of the way early if you’re a morning person.
If you’d rather run after work, that’s OK too – whatever works for you works for your training. Don’t run every day though; mix your running training up with other exercise like swimming or weight training. Get regular massages.
Running might take it out on your body, but it’s really fulfilling when you hit the finish line. One way to ease the impact is to book regular sports massages for your aching muscles and joints. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and most runners can’t go from zero to Olympic standard overnight either. Start small and build yourself up to your goals slowly, rather than pushing yourself to meet them too quickly.
You could even give yourself rewards for reaching mini milestones.
Running is one way towards a healthier lifestyle – but it pays to be well prepared.