Following on from my blog on Exercise – a bit more concentration on one of my big passions in life! Running is easy, cheap, makes you happy and helps you lose weight! What are you waiting for?
- Creates positivity – for me, the main benefit of running is the feeling I get when the endorphins kick into play; everything seems possible and easier.
- Lose weight – running burns calories, fast, and has a tendency to reduce your appetite. As long as you stick to your normal diet and do not start adding carbohydrates, you will see a healthy, slow weight gain as you run.
- Engage brain – running is a great mental work out. While you are out there, there are many things to look out for, people you pass, roots to run over, roads to cross. It keeps your brain really active and young.
- Easy – running is incredibly easy to get into as you can go any time, any place. As you get fitter and stronger, adding goals to your running will keep you motivated. If you are a social runner, joining a jog squad can give you a new network and a way to improve your skills and technique.
So, here are a few tips to get you started and improving:
- Shoes – the only gear you should invest in is a good pair of fitted running shoes. Each foot is different and to prevent injuries and blister it is a good idea to get an expert to analyse your foot type and running style. Most good sports shops will be able to help you with this and you will be amazed at the difference it makes.
- Clothes – in terms of clothes the main thing to bear in mind is that you want to be comfortable. Light and loose will do (for women a sports bra is a good idea) – and maybe some gloves and head band that will cover your ears if you are going to head out in the winter.
- Start – if you have never run before, the most important thing to remember is to take it slow. Start by walking, and when you can comfortably walk for 30 minutes, add in a few minutes of running. Over a period of 4-5 weeks increase the amount of time you run so that you are running for the full half an hour by the end. If you feel tired at any time, do not feel bad about stopping and walking for a bit in the middle – you are building up your stamina and this will take time – just don’t stop completely. Make it your goal to be able to run continuously for 30 minutes within 10 weeks of starting – this will focus your mind.
- Breathing – breathing correctly will seriously improve and ease your pace. It is critical to get as much air into your lungs as possible to aid your working muscles – and you must breathe deeply (into your belly!). In through your mouth or nose? Makes no difference and everyone will have their own preference. I use both techniques depending on where and how I am running. On a normal calm run I prefer breathing through my nose as this controls my pace really well. In a race and going uphill, I will often take a few deep breaths through my mouth to assist my lungs!
- Posture – keep your head up, imagine you are being held by a puppeteer, and shoulders relaxed. Lift and relax them a few times if they keep creeping up! Your arms should swing loosely from front to back with elbows at right angles, not in front of your body. This wastes energy. Keep your hands cupped loosely to avoid building tension in your arms and neck.
- Stride – feel and think light when you are out there – your shoes should not slap onto the ground when you run. Don’t lift your knees high and let your feet strike the ground naturally. Most people will land on the middle of their foot and roll quickly forward. Ensure your feet point forward – that is where you are going!