This year I’m working with the AJ Bell Great Run Series, to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with running, and to share my advice and experience with anyone who is working towards an event.
So, if you’ve taken that first step, clicked the sign-up link and you’ve officially entered – what next?
First of all, huge congratulations on getting this far, whether you’re taking on your first run or you’re already addicted to that finish line feeling. Signing up for an event is a commitment, but focussing on the whole journey, rather than just the destination, means you’ll really get the most out of the experience. Often runners find keeping consistent the hardest part of running. I’ve put together some of my top training tips to help you along the way.
Everyone has to start somewhere, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself through setting big outlandish goals. Be realistic with what you can fit in around work/life commitments. If you only have 30mins of free time each day, then let’s make that 30mins count.
It’s super important to kick start the day with a good nutritious breakfast and make sure you’re adequately fuelled to get out there. Porridge is such a simple and easy thing to make, and you can alter it to suit most dietary requirements. I like to mix it up with different toppings throughout the week. Whatever you choose, make sure you keep those energy levels high. Low energy will have you crashing and lacking motivation.
Establish a routine
Find a couple of slots in the week that will usually work for you and block out your training time. If you have a shared work or family diary add the time in, so people know you won’t be available. For me, getting a run done early is always the best, but if that’s not possible, choose your times and prioritise your run in these small windows. Life might get in the way, but even setting the intention will make it a lot easier to stick to a plan.
Wear the right gear
Sometimes some new kit can be enough to lift your spirits. Look good, feel good. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but investing in a good pair of running appropriate trainers can make all the difference and stylish practical activewear is available for all budgets.
Keeping consistent means looking after your body. When it comes to stretching or foam rolling – aim for little and often. Targeting a big hour-long session isn’t realistic for most individuals, but getting in 10-15mins each day, feels much more manageable. Keeping your muscles flexible and loose will reduce your chance of picking up any niggles; allowing you to be for more consistent in your training.
Relax and unwind
Taking time off from training is just as important as training itself. So be kind to yourself and ensure you have enough recovery days and time off through the week. The body needs to recover in order to adapt and push on. Have a bath. Read a book. Do whatever you need to do to switch off.
Getting enough sleep is the most basic of tips but it’s the cheapest recovery tool you can get – it’s free! If it means you have to forgo another Netflix episode for that extra hour’s kip – do it. Your mind and body will thank you for it in the morning. A tired runner is a runner who will end up losing interest or even worse, be struck down with an injury or illness.
I hope my tips have given you something to think about as you’re working toward your event. If you’ve yet to set yourself a goal this year – click here to find out about an AJ Bell Great Run Series event near you.