By Chris Nelson, Anytime Fitness
Running is all too often the ’go-to’ for people looking to kick off their fitness regime, largely because of the low start-up costs, the fact that you can do it just about anywhere and the no lock-in contract!
I’ve heard it many times before… Simply buy some shorts and a tee, a good pair of running shoes and you’re good to go. How hard can it be, right?! WRONG!
Because of the low cost and ease of access, many new runners aren’t prepared mentally or physically for the untapped demands they’re about to put on their bodies though. It’s important to remember that all good things come in time and running is no exception.
But beginners, don’t despair. As long as you have patience and are ready to celebrate small successes, running will get easier and soon become your new favourite activity!
Below are my 5 top tips to help ensure your new adventure turns into a running success:
1. Get New Shoes & Training Gear
Start by visiting your local independent running store. Smaller stores like these tend to be filled with actual runners who know and believe in their products that fill the shelves. They normally provide you with a gait analysis which will reveal your foot strike and in turn provide you with a professional recommendation for the correct show for you.
When choosing the right running shoe for you, DON’T cut corners, be prepared to spend $100 – $150 for a decent pair of running shoes. The team at Bridge to Brisbane recommend Brooks Running Shoes for Race Day.
Technical Fabric is by far the best gear to run in. Avoid materials such as 100% Cotton as it retains sweat and can cause chaffing, irritation and in most cases blisters. Technical fabric promotes moisture to rise to the surface, so it can evaporate making it more comfortable overall.
2. Hire a Trainer or Join a Running Group
I cannot stress enough that success is determined by your level of motivation, inspiration, accountability, commitment and, of course, how much fun you have doing it.
When you have someone like a trainer, or a group of people pushing you and holding you accountable for your training, you are more likely to commit to your goal. Your trainer or training buddy will keep you accountable, especially on those cooler mornings or evenings when you don’t want to stick to the plan and bail on your training.
Check your local Anytime Fitness Club for a recommended trainer or training group.
3. Make a Plan
Starting to run can be easy at first because you literally just have to get off the couch and get moving on a treadmill or outside. But when your motivation starts to drop, you need a plan or a set of goals to return to. Set some realistic goals and know that at the end of the 5km or 10km, you will look back and be glad you set those goals and stuck to them.
4. Fuel Your Body
A car can’t run without fuel and neither can your body! Fuelling your activity is critical and timing is everything.
A rule of thumb is to eat 200 – 400 calories of mostly complex carbohydrates and a little bit of protein 1.5 hours prior to your run. This will help with digestion and the delivery of the energy that is needed. Not eating enough, or running on an empty stomach, may make you feel fatigued throughout your training, and eating too soon can cause stomach issues.
What works best from person to person will vary, however, a few pre-snack meal options may include, yoghurt and granola, an English Muffin and natural peanut butter or a medium banana (life hack; put the banana with the muffin and PB and drizzle a little bit of sugar free maple syrup… you are welcome!).
Refuelling is important too. I recommend eating a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein 30-45 minutes after exercise. This will give your fatigued muscles the right nutrients they require for recovery. A low-fat chocolate milk is a great example a 4:1 ratio product.
Finally, water – being well hydrated is just as important as being well fueled. Drinking at least 400 – 600ml of water about 2 hours prior will allow your body to be hydrated and ready for your run. Alternatively, after you have been running for any longer then 45 minutes you need to switch to a performance-based drink such as electrolytes, which are minerals such as magnesium, sodium and potassium. These play a vital role in keeping and maintaining water balance in the body.
5. Warm Up & Cool Down
Before you head out on your run or walk be sure to warm up your muscles with some dynamic stretching and simply walking for the first 5 minutes of your run will help warm up those much needed leg muscles. Save those stretch and hold kind of stretches for after your run.
Cooling down should be roughly the same time in duration as your warm up. You also need to listen to your body and take rest when rest is needed, over training can cause injury and that is not what we want. When you first start running, I recommend taking at least 1 day off between running days.
So, there you have it, running in my eyes should be fun and enjoyable. Following these 5 tips will promote those two things alongside completing your first 5km or 10km run or walk. I look forward to seeing you at the start line of the Bridge to Brisbane come August – you can register now by following this link.