Thousands of leisure centres and gyms across the country have been forced to close due to the government lockdown. This has affected and disrupted almost every gym goer’s routine in some way or another. On the bright side we have seen a huge increase in people trying out the age-old form of exercise which is running. I will share with you some of the things I have found useful since I started running seriously just over a year ago, which I am hoping will keep you motivated and hopefully continue running once this is all over.
- Just get started
As a beginner I had my normal exercising trainers, no technology and no clue what I was doing. This is probably the best thing to go with. There is nothing better than just going out and enjoying your run. It doesn’t matter how far you do or for how long. Just enjoy it. Get into a habit of going for a run and build on this slowly. You don’t need to be setting goals at this point, just being up on your feet more is a huge positive in the right direction. Aim for 3x a week to build a regular habit.
3. Slow down
This probably sounds like the misinformation but hear me out. Once you get into a routine and start getting into a regular pattern you will naturally want to start aiming for PB’s (personal bests). It’s only natural to want to beat your fastest time and you will do. But don’t let that become a mentality every time you go out for a run. I let this happen to me while training for a half marathon and within 2 months I had beaten a lot of PB’s but I was also burnt out. I was fatigued, not getting the correct fuel I needed to recover and becoming frustrated when I was off my PB pace the next time I was out. This quickly made me lose focus and I stopped enjoying it.
90% of your runs should be easy, which means when you are finished you shouldn’t be exhausted. With easy runs you increase mitochondria and capillaries and blood flow to those muscles, meaning the muscles can use oxygen more efficiently. Without these runs you won’t be able to do intense runs.
Complete a tempo/long/HIIT/fartlek run no more than twice a week to keep the intensity high and work on becoming stronger and faster, ensuring you are giving your body enough time to recover in between with your easy/recovery runs.
3. Gadgets and training tools
This is completely down to personal preference as I know some veteran runners who don’t log any of their runs and have no data apart from how long it took them. As for me, I am a self-proclaimed data geek. I like to see how far I have run, how fast, how many steps per minute, my heart rate and heart rate zones. All this data helps me stay motivated and want to improve on my running. The best thing I did was buy a GPS watch which logs all your data for you and pings it across to an app on your phone. I could see every bit of data I needed and more. Another great tool I was introduced to was ‘Strava’. Strava is a form of social media but for exercise. Strava logs your data like a watch would but with the built-in capability of sharing and interacting with your friends and anyone else who uses strava. This is a great way of staying on track and motivated.
The brilliant thing about running is its simplicity. You don’t need much more than a decent pair of running trainers and you’re away. Go to a speciality shop where they can evaluate your feet and direct you to the best form of trainer to help with the shape of your feet and how you land on them. The correct footwear can be the difference between enjoying running safely or injuring yourself and not being able to do any form of exercise. Apart from trainers a polyester tshirt would be a great purchase to help stay cool and dry.