Back to Basics (Part I)

So far my blogs have been autobiographical and detailed where I’ve been and what I’ve done and where as I’d like to think some of you may have picked up a few tips here and there and a few do’s and don’ts, I’d like to go into a bit of detail when it comes to learning to run. Each week i’m planning on releasing at least one of these types of blogs where I’ll go into technique, warmingup, reviews of running gear, recipes and just general stuff that should (I hope) help those of you new to running.

1. Pick a training plan that isn’t too ambitious.
You’re in this for the long haul, don’t set your goals too ambitiously. If you push yourself into running too fast and too long your body won’t be used to it, you’ll lose interest quickly or in the worst case you’ll pick up injuries. If possible its worth speaking to a personal trainer or use GPS software on a phone such as Micoach or Sportypal. There’s also a great app on Iphone that a friend of mine is currently using which follows the plan that I learned to run with. It’s called the couch to 5k plan http://felttip.com/c25k/ and is great as it builds up slowly. It starts off with you running for short manageable stints and then taking longer recovery periods of walking. The plan builds up slowly but very quickly you’ll be running your first 5k.

2. Listen to your body.
It’s likely that you’ll pick up injuries along the way. As obvious as it sounds running on an injury will make things worse and thinking that you can run through the pain is just being stubborn. By agrevating an injury you’ll risk being out of action for even longer which is even more annoying and even though I’ve been guilty of it from time to time, it’s a hard lesson to learn and I’d stress that this is one rule I’d reccomend you stick to.

3. Reward yourself.
This is important. As rewarding as running your first mile is, it’s important to treat yourself regularly. Sometimes you’ll have a bad week when you’ll want to do anything but get out and run and it will be a struggle. Remind yourself that what you’re doing is a great thing, and that you’re making great progress. Buy yourself some new running gear (it doesn’t have to be expensive) or some new songs from Itunes to run to as motivation … you’ll be suprised at how much easier going out for your next run will be with having the option to try your new gear out.

4. Pace yourself
When out don’t push yourself too hard, initially you’ll probably find yourself out of breath quickly but within a few weeks you’ll find what speed is natural to run at. You should be aiming for a speed where you can still hold a conversation and run. Don’t worry if you’re not going all that fast even now my average pace is only about 10 minutes per mile. As you progress and your fitness levels improve you’ll naturally be able to run quicker but by pushing yourself too hard you’ll not enjoy your running.

5. Breathe
Learn to breathe properly, as I mentioned above you should be running at a speed that’s comfortable but breathing properly is equally important. You should be slowly inhaling and exhaling rather than taking short sharp breaths as this will only place stress on your diaphagm and cause you to get a stitch.
If you do get a stitch regulate your breathing taking long deep breaths, very soon you’ll find the pain eases, if needs be, slow down to a walk or stop but with practice you’ll be able to carry on and run through it.
Its especially important to focus on your breathing in cold weather as naturally you’ll take shorter breaths in the cold if you’re not careful.

I hope these few tips will help a few people out along the way. I’d like to stress i’m no expert when it comes to running and what works for me might not work for you but i’m hoping that at least some of these tips will help a few of you out there who are new to running, and provide you with a few key points to focus along the way.

If there’s anything you’d like to see me focus on in these blogs feel free to leave a comment and i’ll see what I can do !!

Col

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One response

  1. Loving the back to basics tips – they’ve been very useful (but you’ll still never get me in a bath!!)

    May 11, 2011 at 8:18 am

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