I’d always wanted to try running, but was intimidated. I was finally inspired to start after seconding a friend while she ran the Comrades Marathon.
I went from not running at all to running at least 3 times a week. I pushed myself from huffing and puffing to finish 2km, to running two half-marathons in my first year. I must admit it was not easy when I first began, I had some setbacks because of some mistakes I made as a beginner. However, I was determined to keep learning, to push myself and improve my skills as I had been bitten by the running bug.
I want to share with you five running tips that I wish I knew before I laced up and began my journey. If you are a beginner like me or just recently got into running, these tips will hopefully motivate you and help you avoid some major discomfort.
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes.
It’s important that you get properly fitted shoes, you can get this done at a speciality store such as Sportsmans Warehouse. Almost always, your running shoes will be slightly bigger than your normal shoe size, your feet swell a little while you run, which will make your normal shoe size too tight while you run and cause blisters. However, if your shoes are too big, this too will cause rubbing and blisters. Hence it’s so important that you get help choosing your first pair of running shoes. Lastly, you running shoes are your running shoes!Don’t wear them to the gym or walking around.
- Get a running app.
There are lots of running apps you can download for your phone, I use the Nike Run Club app. It does not matter which one you choose as long as it has the following features: tracks your running pace, records each of your runs and tracks your progress. Keeping track of the progress you make over time is a great motivator!
- Set a goal and work towards it.
Running is not easy, it takes time for your body to adjust to this new form of exercise. To improve your running you need to be consistent and run regularly, so it’s important to have something to work towards. A lot of us start off by wanting to get healthy or lose weight, then the running bug grabs hold of us and that is when we start to set concrete goals to help us stay consistent with our running. For me, this was entering a race, but if racing isn’t your thing then time goals and distance goals will help you become a better runner.
- Warm up before each run.
This part of your running routine is so important to ensure that you minimise your risk of injury, allows you to be more comfortable in your run and recover quicker afterwards. You can brisk walk before you run or do some dynamic warm up moves. According to some studies dynamic warm up moves such as butt kicks, high knees, lunges, legs swings are more effective in getting your muscles warm. So save the stretching for after your run and help your muscles relax.
- Don’t forget to breathe.
When you running or doing any kind of exercise your muscles need more oxygen, the best way to ensure that you are getting enough oxygen is to breathe more. You need to take deep inhalations and slower exhalations. The best tip I found online to help me with my breathing was to sing the alphabet song in your head (any guesses why?).
When the song goes up (A-B-C-D), you inhale.
When the song goes down (E-F-G), you exhale.
Once you can find a way that can help control your breathing you will notice that you will experience fewer stitches and you will also be able to keep a steady pace.
Most importantly, have fun and remember to run your own race and your own pace, stay hydrated, eat the right food and walk if you need to. I hope you are feeling motivated to run after this post and if you have some tips that have worked for you then please leave a comment below.