Running training approaches
Running is a great option for exercise, like any new activity we start it’s important to begin gradually. This way we allow the body to fine tune new motor skills we might require and adapt to the specific stresses and strains involved.
As you start to run, try having a session every other day. On rest days try some gentle walking and some stretches just to keep supple and active. These rest days are when our bodies grow stronger: so don’t be tempted to skip them in favour of the ‘no pain, no gain’ approach! Use a good quality pair of trainers that fit your feet well and offer you good stability and shock-absorption, a good sports shop should be able to help you here. For dedicated runners, rotating two pairs of trainers can redistribute stresses on the lower limb and reduce specific loading.
Each session should start with a warm up period - this should include some dynamic stretches, like lunges and squats, getting your mind and body ready for some exercise. The first five minutes or so of your exercise should be at no more than half your maximum speed - if that means walking that’s fine!
During the session
This will vary as to your experience and conditioning…
If you’re new to running: try alternating between walking and running in two minute bursts. Just a few of these phases, along with your warm up and cool down should fill your 30 minutes quite easily. As these sessions start to feel easier, build on your running times and reduce the walking. Listen to your body and try to concentrate on your posture, breathing and pace. If you’re preparing for a fun-run or other event, you should aim to become comfortable with longer runs approaching your target distance in the weeks before the race.
At the end of your session
Cool down by dropping to a slower pace for five minutes and finish with some static stretches for your main muscle groups: trunk, hips, quads, hamstrings and calves. Start gently with these, work into the stretch with a long out breath, holding for around 30 seconds, repeat again if you’ve got the time. This will re-balance your natural tone and avoid muscle tightness and dysfunction.
The day before the event
Aim to have a light walk or jog, drink plenty fluids and eat a good meal with high carbohydrate and some lean protein content - try pasta with salmon or mixed beans - Mmmm!
The day of the event
Eat a light breakfast two to three hours before the event and drink plenty of fluids. Remember to warm up - most events will have some opportunity for this, if not a group warm up session… You could always do some of your own routine before you set off. Try and keep a steady, even pace and enjoy it! Eat and drink plenty of fluids afterwards and have something warm to put on. Take some time to stretch your main muscle groups out after the event.