Sunday 16 September 2012

Top Ten Tips For Running Beginners

I was just thinking the other day about when I started running and how it took me a while to get to grips with some of the basics. Although running is in some ways a relatively simple sport there are a number of things to consider that will make your running experience that little bit easier.

So from what I have leaned over my running career, my top ten tips (in no particular order) for running success are:

Tip 1 - Running Shoes

Buy a pair of running shoes, that fit you feet well, have plenty of room, feel comfortable and are relatively light (but don't have to be minimalist). Just because a shoe is expensive does not mean that it will perform any better than something cheaper. Don’t worry about pronation control, motion control etc. there is quite a bit of evidence to show that this method of choosing a shoe is outdated. A neutral shoe will suffice. The Natural Running Centre have written a good  post on finding the right running shoe.

Tip 2 - Running Routes

Keep you routes interesting by changing them - you will soon loose interest if you plod the same route all the time. Vary your route and do not stick to just roads - bridleways and footpaths can be fun places to run. Take a look at my post of the factors you should consider when choosing a running route for more information  Consider driving to a new spot (possibly in the country) at the weekend for a run. Remember variety is the spice of life!

Tip 3 - Adaptation

Start slowly and build - start running short distances and build up slowly to avoid injury. There is a rule of thumb that says you should not add more than 10% to the following weeks running distance.

Tip 4 - Training Plans

Consider a plan - if your are entering a race consider following a training plan. The Internet and running magazines abound with training plans for a range of distances, take a look at Runners World for some good examples.

Tip 5 - Nutrition 

For the beginner a few tweaks to usual eating habits can work wonders. Eat a healthy diet obviously. But you may need to consider adding more slow burn carb to you general diet. Take a look at this short guide from the RealBuzz site.

Tip 6 - Hydration 

When running you need to drink more. The best think you can possibly do is set off for your run fully hydrated. It is down to personal choice but for a run of up to an hour I do not bother with a drink while running. The heat, distance, time and intensity of your run will obviously have a large impact on how much you need to drink though. Drink to thirst when you are running.

Tip 7 - Technical Clothing 

Technical clothing is made to take (wick) sweat away from your body and release it to the air. It is not advisable to wear cotton t-shirts etc as they hold sweat and will therefore become very uncomfortable, heavy and rub. Technical clothing is not expensive.

Technical Running Shirt

Tip 8 - Research

Read, read and more reading - there are many running blogs freely available where you can learn more - this blog obviously- but also take a look at the blogroll list at the side of the page.

Tip 9 - Injuries

Even if you have come from another sport when you first start running it will take a while for your body to become used to the rigours of running. You will find that you get a lot of muscle strains and possibly some muscle soreness. Don't worry too much you should never run with a serious injury obviously but with injuries like muscle strains light activity allows oxygen to get to the damaged area and aids recovery. If you do not move then the longer it will take to heal - so play it by ear a walk or a light run will aid recovery.

Tip 10 - Running Diary

Keep a history of the runs you have completed e.g. location, distance, time, pace etc. It can be extremely motivating to look through your running diary and see what you have achieved in comparison to when you first started. In its simplest form this can be paper based.

Can you think of any more tips that might help new runners?