Have you thought about completing the Race for Life or jog for fitness?
Here’s some hints and tips to help you take the first step out of the door and keep you on track when it gets hard and your motivation dips.
- Forget distance and run for time. Start with 15-20 minutes and build up to 30-40 minutes over months, not weeks.
- At first, don’t try and run continuously. Run-walk-run-walk- run- walk- admire the bluebells-run-walk-listen to the birds-run-walk etc. Also, don’t run on consecutive days, running three times a week is ideal!
- Keep a running diary. Writing it down enhances the sense of achievement, particularly when you look back on what you’ve been doing.
- If possible avoid roads and traffic. We live in a beautiful area and a run on forest trails or along the sea front is far more rewarding and enjoyable.
- Forget fashion, wear what’s comfortable. Don’t overdress as you will get warm quite quickly. Comfortable trainers are essential. Also, don’t give a thought to what anyone else thinks. You’re doing it for you.
- You will have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ runs; often for no explicable reason. Never let a bad run put you off.
- Hills and strong wind can feel a little demoralising sometimes. It’s just increased resistance so therefore is doing you good(honest)!
- Although running is ‘natural’ there are good and bad running techniques and although putting one foot in front of the other is the priority, it can help to think about ‘falling forward’ with each step.
- Sometimes it’s good to let the mind completely wander off (which is why the forest is preferable to roads) but sometimes it’s good to focus on the running and helps to have positive thoughts.
- Some people like to run to music. If you do, be aware of possible damage to your hearing and also the traffic around you.
- You don’t need to change your eating habits (i.e. eat more). It’s quite possible to run for up to two hours on empty stomach. A light meal or snack two hours before is fine, but do have a glass of water an hour before you go out. Poor hydration is more likely to slow you down than lack of food.
- Once you feel comfortable running continuously for 30 mins, however easy your pace, think about adding some different activities, a bit of swimming or cycling or a class. Cross training keeps you motivated and encourages all round fitness and ‘balance’.
- On race day (or any run for that matter), start easy, finish strong. Runners call it the ‘negative split’ when the 2nd half of the run is slightly faster than the first half. Everyone will rush off and there’s a temptation to get swept along, but start gently and you will soon start reeling them in and over taking people.
- Finally, Good Luck! Enjoy the experience and sense of achievement. Book your first 5k now!