• Helen Phillips

Success Tips for Rookies to Help You Run Right



Maybe you’ve been running for a while, or maybe it’s all new to you. Either way, making the decision to start running can feel confusing, daunting and stressful. Read my Success Tips for Rookies to Help You Run Right for tips and advice to help you take those all-important steps out the door.


How do I start running?


It’s important when you start a new activity that you start slow, running within your current capability and build gradually, that way you’ll not ‘shock’ your body too much that it’s so sore and broken that you’ll never want to run ever again!


Lots of new runners, who have an ambition to run a race, maybe a local 10k or half or even to realise a dream to run a marathon, think the best way to start is to go out and see just how far and fast they can run. Unfortunately doing too much too soon can lead to burn out, frustration and injury, especially if you’re trying to ‘prove something’ to yourself or a friend!


When you start running I suggest you start with a RUN : WALK method. You’ll run for a minute, then take a recovery walk break, then go again. As you become fitter and stronger at running your running segments will get longer, you’ll cover more ground and eventually build up to running 5k, then 10k and maybe more!


But one step at a time!


You should also include rest days in to your week, I recommend running on alternate days, so you don’t ‘shock’ your body too much too soon and to allow your body to recover from your running. If you’re completely new to running you’ll be using some little muscles that might never have been worked before. It’s important that these recover and repair between your runs, otherwise you could end up injured later.


How do I actually run?


When you start running you don’t need to get too hung up on the physical action of running, but I do have a few tips that will help.


Pick your feet up, don’t shuffle along. This might feel a little unnatural, especially if you’re a ‘shuffle walker’, but having a left foot, right foot run shuffling running action when you drag your feet on the ground wastes energy and will make your running harder. Try to run light (think of running light on your feet and miraculously you’ll find yourself ‘running light) it’ll really help.


Run tall and try to avoid hunching over. Imaging that you’ve a string attached to your head pulling your torso up straight and think of yourself running tall. Ladies, wear your most supportive bra, as with bigger boobs we have a tendency to slouch.


Breath and breath deep. Breathing when you start out running is easier said than done! Sometimes when we work hard and exercise we hold our breath (strange but true!) Breath through your nose or mouth, it doesn’t matter and try to breath deeply in to your lungs. When you start running you might find your breathing short and sharp, or feel out of breath pretty much all of the time. Use your walk breaks to catch your breath and practice breathing deeper into your lungs.


Wear proper sports shoes. I’m not suggesting you go and buy a new £250 pair of ‘go-faster-Nikes’ but do suggest for your first run you wear whatever ‘trainers’ you have, rather than going out running in heels, flip-flops or even bare feet. Right now wear whatever feels comfortable for you, but I do recommend you can invest in proper shoes soon.


Don’t worry about your arms. Your arms will work out what they should do. But try to avoid running with them folded across your chest (see advice re bras ladies!)


And, smile! Running might feel tough, but studies have shown that running feels a lot easier when you smile. So get out there and run with your cheesy-est cheesecake runner grin!


How might your run feel?


If you’re not used to aerobic activity running might feel a bit odd. Here are 3 things I didn’t like when I started running, but they are nothing to panic about.


Your heart rate will be raised. It might feel like your heart is about to explode from your chest, but it’s probably just beating a little faster than normal. Right now you need to be running at an easy pace, rather than pushing yourself in a sprint. If you're feeling your heart rate is too high, then next time try to run a little slower. Go at your pace that’s right for you now, not the pace you’d like to be running at.


Your breathing rate will be higher. If you’re finding it hard to breath and catch your breath, again it might be that you’re running too fast. Your breathing will be faster (to get more oxygen to your muscles) but it shouldn’t be so hard that you’re struggling and out of breath.


You sweat – Yes, you sweat! Sweating is good for you and is a natural by-product of running. It’s how your body cools down. We all sweat at different rates and as you increase your running you’ll get more used to sweating. Embrace sweating and make sure you drink water after your runs to rehydrate.


So now you know ‘how’ it’s time to get out of the door.


Let’s do this folks … Let’s run!

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