I love to run, but this was not always the case. It is great for physical and mental health as well as being a great social outlet. A while back I was only able to run 500 metres before I had to walk to catch my breath, but in a few months I was running my first half marathon (and running the entire distance without stopping to walk!).
1. Have a goalWhy are you running? To lose weight, to get fit, to do a fun run or a half marathon? Make sure that your goals are SMART and that you have told someone to keep you accountable. Continue to update your goals once you have reached them. If you haven’t got a goal sign up to the next run in your city. Finishing a half marathon or fun run brings with it a great sense of achievement and the atmosphere at the run is uplifting and encouraging.
2. Strength training. The stronger something is, this less likely it is to break. Ensure your legs and core are strong. Strength training is important to prevent injuries and it will also increase your power to make your running faster. If you have realised that one side of your body is stronger than the other, it is really important to strengthen both sides so that you don’t get injuries from compensating with certain parts of your body.'Tineke Stuart, NZ athlete training for a triathlon
3. Make time. Time is not something that you will find during the day. There is always another meeting or paper to read or friends to see. Time is not found, it is made. If you need to wake up 30 minute earlier do that. If you need to run straight after work because you will lose your motivation when you get home, do that!
4. Don’t be discouraged when you have to walk. Everyone started out this way. Many people start with the "Couch to 5K Program" which involves a lot of walking at the beginning.
5. If you are just starting out, only run every 2nd day. Ensure you have a day between your runs to let your body heal and adapt. Once you can run a fair distance relatively easily you can start to run every day. Rest days are important! If you really feel like you should be doing something on a rest day, do stretches or go for a gentle swim.
6. Use phone apps –Strava, Map My Run and Run Keeperare popular, you can also add friends so that they can see what you are doing and vice versa. These apps will ensure you can look back on how far you are going now compared to a few weeks ago.
7. Music Vs. Podcasts. On long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to keep my mind thinking, but I also like music as it pumps you up for the run. Keep your music updated – You will get bored with it if you don’t. Keep switching it up to keep your mind guessing. Sometimes not taking any earphones can let you notice if you are heavy on your feet or if the sound of your breathing sounds off.
8. Hydrate. Before and after. If you are going for a half marathon you should have started to hydrate 2 days before. Yes, you will be going to the toilet 10 times in the morning before the race.
9. Lip balm, shoe laces and underwear. Make sure all are comfortable and in the right place before a run. No one likes dry lips that you have to keep licking, stopping to fix your shoes or underwear that keeps ending up where it shouldn’t. Of course, it's important to pick good shoes and consider adding Formthotics insoles for additional balance, support, comfort and endurance.
10. Run different length courses throughout the week. If you are busy, run a quick 3 kms. When you have more time, do a 10 km run. This will ensure you don’t get bored or plateau, and you can also work on speed with smaller course.
Bonus tip! Join a run group Jeremy and I both love Parkrun(a free 5 km run held every Saturday morning in different places around the world) and have recently joined up to Crosbie Crew (a group that meets in the evenings close to where we live). We also like Hash House Harriers (a social group that has groups all around the world). A quick Google search will bring up a whole lot of running groups in your city. Don’t be afraid by your lack of experience or slowness, runners are encouraging people who love to help others reach their goals!