I love it when clients tell me they have never done any consistent running and it’s time to start.
Personally, I believe you are already half way to being a successful runner… because you actually want to run. A lot of people hate it and the thought of it makes them sick. The fact that your mind is saying yes is the hardest part!
Whilst it’s all well and good for the mind to be willing, the body has to agree also. I do recommend seeing a medical professional before you start. Whether that is a Myotherapist, Osteopath, Physiotherapist or even a personal trainer to have them assess and scan your body for possible injury and injury preventative tips is a must.
Once that is sorted it’s time to hit the road. Not literally. Starting a running program is all about progression. The efficiency of movements rather than volume of bad habits that will see you improve. Not the other way around.
With that being said here are my top things to look out for when beginning your journey.
Footwear: Do yourself a favour and head to a podiatrist or running shoe store that actively examines your foot for what shoe will suit you best.
Running Surfaces: I like my first timers to start of softer more forgiving surfaces like grass, rubber athletics tracks, gravel (think Tan or Albert Park Lake) rather than rock hard cement roads. This just helps the body adjust to the rigours and shock of running. They say that each step when running at a fast pace is anywhere up to five times your body weight going through your feet. It will also help decrease the likelihood of shin splints.
Technique: without going into nitty-gritty technical details there are just a few pointers that I can give you. There is no one size fits all with running as everyone is biomechanically different and everyone comes from different sporting, or lack there of, back grounds. Basically, the ways to keep yourself injury free are to maintain an up right posture (keep your chest up and eyes looking 30m in front of you). When running aim for high cadence with a short stride as long steps leads to over striding and hip drop. Then foot placement becomes important. Foot strike should be mid foot to avoid knee, heel and lower back injury. Elbows bent to 90degrees and try and relax your shoulders and hands.
Start slow: The best method to get your running going, in my opinion, is one minute on two minutes off ten times. It equals thirty minutes of work and 10minutes of actual running. These means we run at a comfortable pace for one minute then walk for two. As you progress the time domains will change and before you know it you will be running for thirty minutes without stopping. At the start only try and run maximum three times a week. Do this in order to avoid fatigue, muscle soreness, burnout, injury and boredom.
Routine: Whilst it is not always easy, getting into a workout routine is the best thing for your mind and body. If you start trying to exercise at the same time every day, then things start to fall into place. You are able to understand your body a lot more in regards to eating, sleep, digestion, energy levels and stress levels. These all play major roles in our exercise outcomes.
Warm-up: Gone are the days of pre-run stretching. If I can offer any advice its grab your foam roller or spikey ball and get stuck in for two or three minutes targeting your calves, glutes and upper back. After that start with some glute activation drills (see me for further information) and then get moving….
When I first started running I am not going to lie… It sucked. I was out of breath, out of control and all over the place. However, once I learned to control my breathing and focus on my technique I improved out of site. For those that have never run before I envy you. The experience that running gives you isn’t just physical but completely mental. I started to notice that once I could control my breathing and my thoughts it all became quite meditative for me. Before exams, I would run and it would completely calm me, before big decisions or busy days it would give me clarity and now it has given amazing lung capacity to push really hard when I exercise. I wouldn’t change a thing and it has taught me a lot about myself.
I hope I have inspired non-runners to get out and have a crack. You might just like it.