Running can be incredibly effective in boosting fitness levels and mood. If you’re a newbie, follow our 10 steps to mastering the art of the run – you won’t regret it!
1. Gear Up
We’re not talking about a hot outfit here but rather a decent pair of running shoes and socks. Well fitted shoes do wonders to balance out issues such as flat feet, high arches etc. Google a running shop or sports shoe shop near you and get properly fitted. Investing in good socks prevents blisters which can sideline even the most motivated runner! Want more shoe tips? Check these out.
2. Lace Up
Many people don’t tie their laces up tight enough, right from the front of the shoe, which can cause friction in your shoes, leading to blisters and strains. Follow these lace tying tips.
3. Follow The 10% Rule
Build up your speed and time spent jogging gradually. Around 10-20% per week is a general rule of thumb. EG if you jogged a total of 10 minutes (with rests) in your first week, then jog 11 minutes next week etc. This means by week 12 you’ll be jogging for 34 minutes, which is a great effort!
4. Strength and Stretch
It’s important to do some leg and core strengthening and stretching exercises to balance out your muscles. This helps to prevent muscle imbalances and helps protect your joints. Try these various exercises for runners.
5. Red Face? Good
Going beetroot red after a run is actually a good thing. It means your body is being efficient at cooling you down. When your core temperature rises, blood is sent to your extremities (such as your face). What this does is boosts your metabolism for up to 15 hours (burning more calories), improves circulation, and acts as a natural detoxifier (sweat, like urine, expels many of our impurities. Just try working out after a few drinks and you can sometimes smell the alcohol in your sweat!). For some people the redness reduces as they get fitter, other’s remain a beetroot even when they’re marathon fit. Wear it like a badge of honour!
6. Music Makes a Difference
Having a ripper playlist to listen to really improves a workout. It helps your feet and breathing to settle into a regular rhythm. It motivates you, keeping you in a positive, upbeat state of mind, and can help you get and stay ‘in the zone.’ Here are a few favourite songs from our experts.
7. Treadmill or Outdoors? You Choose
There are plusses and minuses to both types of running, so don’t obsess over which one you choose. They’re both better than sitting on the couch!
8. Follow a Program
If you are new to running following a beginners running program is a smart idea. The program will progress you at the right pace, balance out your muscles with other exercises, and give you great stretches as well. Check out our Learn to Run and other running programs.
9. Join a Crew
There are so many amazing running groups out there, be it face to face or virtual. You can learn so much from like-minded teammates. For example the 12WBT Runners Connect Crew have all levels of runners and are a wealth of experience, knowledge and inspiration.
10. Mindset Matters!
Running is the perfect platform to observe your inner voice, or the angel/devil sitting on your shoulders. The angel is telling you what a good job you’re doing, the devil giving you 101 reasons to stop. Use your workout to practice focussing on the angel voice and blocking out that pesky devil voice. The more you can practise this, the more it spills over into other areas of your life.
Remember running is a form of meditation, a way to clear negativity, settle your thoughts and of course get your body fitter in a short space of time. No matter how hard it feels at first, if you persevere there will come a tipping point where you find a pace you can keep consistently. Once this happens most people learn to LOVE running, to love the feeling of being fit, the energy it brings to the rest of your day, and the quiet time where it’s just you, your thoughts, and the rhythm of your feet. Enjoy!