Yes, you can be a runner!
Whether it’s to improve your fitness, lose weight or build stamina, design achievable goals and track your progress. If you’re a first-timer, aim for a five-kilometer run and after reaching that goal move on to a 10-kilometer run and so on.People are more likely to stick to external goals (those you can’t put off), so look for a fun run to do in your local area and train with that in mind.
Dressing the part
Update your trainers if they’re more than two years old (or one year, if well-worn) and invest in lightweight, breathable running gear. The most important thing is not to overdress. Wear light layers that can be removed once your body warms up.Recruiting a running mate
“Whether you run with a mate, running group or personal trainer, running with someone gives you greater motivation and commitment, You’re less likely to miss workouts when you have somebody else to answer to and you’ll push yourself harder.
If running with a friend, try the talk test to make sure you’re not overdoing it. You should still be able to gossip without gasping for air, so if you’re struggling, slow down.
Testing the terrain
An experiment on What’s Good For You found treadmills and grass are ideal to run on, as they impact on your body the least, reducing injury risk. Other good options: A rubberized athletics or gravel track, which absorbs water easily and allows cushioning of the joints.
Beach running is a good strengthening exercise, but it requires more exertion, so you’ll give up sooner. Cement is the toughest surface, so remember to stretch thoroughly if you run on the footpath.
Putting your foot down
Firstly, focus on your posture. “The most efficient way to run is with a slight lean forward so your arms, back, neck, shoulders and diaphragm relax, Move your arms in a pumping action to propel you.
Start slowly: After warming up, try running for one minute, then walking for five. As it becomes easier, extend your running time and reduce your walking time until you can run for longer. “Maintain a pace that’s comfortable. Short strides use lots of energy and can cause calf pain while long strides can cause shin splints and exhaust you, so find a happy medium.
And remember not to stop cold: slow down as you near the end of your workout and spend 5-10 minutes stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.
Interval training has been proven by Canadian researchers to burn three-and-a-half times more kilo joules than an even-paced run. Try jogging for two minutes, followed by a 10 second sprint and repeat 10-15 times depending on your fitness level.
For best results, mix interval training with low intensity cardio. “Stick to long runs (more than 30 minutes) at 60-75 percent heart rate capacity (calculated by subtracting your age from 220). This is known as your fat-burning zone.
What to eat and drink
Eat energy-packed food (such as a banana, porridge or toast with honey) an hour before running. And sip water: don’t guzzle or you’ll feel queasy.
As for refuelling, we suggest eating a combined meal of protein and carbohydrates within an hour of running. Your muscles will recover more quickly and your body will increase its capacity to store glycogen.
Alternate routes, run in different directions at different speeds and add hills to keep it interesting. Cross training is also important. Your body gets used to any activity you do repetitively, meaning you’ll adapt and plateau.
We also suggest combining long and short runs with weight training and strength work and adding interval training and sprints to continually shock your body. Need a break? Try low impact exercises such as swimming or yoga to rest your joints on non-running days.
Excuses, excuses …
Don’t indulge in ifs and buts. If you’re prone to stitches, relax your breathing and slow down.