When it comes to running we all have dreams of running as easy and as effortlessly as Usain Bolt makes it look, but when the reality is you’ve been slacking on the training front or barely left the couch since spring announced its arrival, then those dreams remain just a dream.
Whilst keeping fit and healthy should be a priority all year round, with the London Marathon in just under two weeks’ time and summer on the horizon, the time to get outdoors and stride out has officially arrived.
Running isn’t always easy, and whilst it is a partly a case of mind over matter when it comes to pushing yourself harder, there are a few ways in which you can get you’re A-game run on.
From getting started, to keeping your running stride intact and avoiding injuries, there’s a lot more to running than simply donning your trainers and best workout gear and hoping for the best, so take a look at our guidance on just how you should be training.
Ease Yourself In
You may be eager to start running and whizz off into the distance, but doing too much too soon can be extremely bad for you.
Ease yourself into running and begin by alternating running and walking. You could use lampposts as markers in your journey or run for one minute and then walk for two or three minutes.
Find a pace which works for you and stick with it until you can build up the frequency and distance you can run.
If Muscles Ache then Stop
‘No pain, no gain’ is a dangerous phrase to live by and just because your body is starting to ache doesn’t mean that you’re doing a world of good.
In fact, you’re probably doing quite the opposite. Listen to your body, it’s normal for muscles to ache a bit whilst you exercise but if the pain gets too much then it’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down a bit.
If post-run your soreness persists then you may need to see a medical professional.
Set Yourself a Goal
Setting yourself a running goal whether you are preparing for a race or just running to improve your health and fitness can help you to push yourself that little bit further and inspire you to achieve more.
It may be to run for five minutes longer each time or to run an extra half a mile, or set yourself race goals such as a 5k or 10k before you begin to think about marathons.
Try this great running program to get you set up for any 5 or 10km race – Click here
Race Day Preparation
The big day is on the horizon and it’s time to get prepared mentally and physically for the challenge ahead.
Depending on the distance you’re running you should have aimed to complete near enough the total distance you’ll be running on race day, but don’t push yourself too much before the run as you could run the risk of burnout.
Carb loading before you run is the best way to make sure your body is packed full of energy but be sensible and eat complex carbs for a longer lasting energy release.
Post-race you’re likely to fall into one of two camps; either feeling that endorphin rush and plotting your next run or wondering why you ever did it in the first place.
Whatever group you sit in, it’s important to not do too much too soon. Whatever distance you’ve ran it’s always going to be tough on your body, and if you’ve completed a marathon it can take around two to three weeks to recover properly.
Once you are fit to run again then do so gently and at a slower pace, before gradually building up your pace again.
Treat Muscles Properly
Our muscles are quite literally what keeps us moving, abuse them and they’ll recoil in pain, treat them with care and they’ll do their job without making you wince in pain every time you take a step.
Always cool down post run and if muscles ache for longer than a few days then it’s probably time you seek help.
A sports massage can help to relive pressure in your muscles, tendons and ligaments by improving muscular functions and stretching out any pain.
Whether you run for pleasure or competitively, it’s an exercise that we can all benefit from doing, so take it slowly at first and build up gradually.
Ben Barker (Aston villa Physio)