You’ve got your shiny new trainers and your breasts are safely strapped away.
It’s time to run.
So where do you start?
Aside from the obvious – actually walking out of the door – there are a few tips you can bear in mind when you take your first tentative steps towards becoming a runner which will help you on your way.
Do not start too fast. In fact, I’d suggest barely beyond a fast walk.
Starting fast will probably make you need to stop pretty quickly. When you start to run, you are using your anaerobic energy system (lactic). This is the energy system you use to run for a bus, or run the 400m. It makes your muscles burn and leaves you gasping for breath. The quicker you run at the start, the harder it will be to break through this ‘burn’ and reach the happier aerobic energy system. This is where your body gets fuel from fat and uses oxygen. Once this kicks in the run will feel more comfortable and you may find you can pick up your pace.
Make it through the first ten minutes and you’re on to a winner.
Finding a regular rhythm for your breathing will make the running process much easier and more enjoyable. It will also reduce your risk of getting a stitch. I still think 3 steps to inhale and 4 to exhale or similar (it might change if I’m on a hill). I love the rhythm you find from breath control.
Don’t underestimate this one. You will probably feel quite tense. Tension and fear will affect your run. Breathing and circulation will all feel harder. I say this because the second run you do will always feel 100% easier than your first. Like having babies, the first is the hardest. I’ve done runs after a long time out (think pregnancy and post natal rehab time out) where I’ve genuinely thought I might die. Relax and trust the process. Your first run will always feel pretty awful…
… which leads me on to those endorphins or ‘runner’s high’ – it will come. But you’re going to need a good few weeks, maybe more until you can shuffle off down the road with a care free runner’s air. One day, you’ll pop on your trainers, pop in your ear buds and pop off down the road AND you’ll want to keep going. Yes you’ll have heavy legs days but you’ll have days when the sun is shining and you just FEEL SO DARNED AWESOME.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to running. Some like to externalise. To run and think about the trees and birds or to let their thoughts run free. Others like to go all internal and focus on what their body is doing. The boom boom of your heart, the sound of your breath or the pounding of your feet. Sometimes it’s good to switch between the two. Whatever you choose it will distract you from the effort it can feel to actually run.
6. WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT A STITCH?
There are two main reasons for getting a stitch. Eating too close or the wrong things close to a run or being too hungry (I used to have a banana half an hour before a run). Another common cause is no breathing rhythm or erratic breathing. If a stitch does come, try slowing down and regulating your breathing or leaning forwards slightly into the stitch can help. Over time, your tendency to get a stitch will decrease. Just keep on running.
Check out: Help, I’m afraid of running.
Fit School has a team running in this year’s Race For Life on 15th July. So if you’d like to run, jog or walk why not do it with us? Check out all the joining instructions on our website: Race For Life 2015