If you’re thinking of starting up running in 2018 or maybe you’ve been put off by a bad experience and you’re raring to get going again – we asked our army of Great Run regular runners to tell us what they wish they had known before lacing up their trainers.
"Tell everyone that you’re taking part in an event or starting to go running"
This then becomes a talking point between your friends and family and keeps the pressure on to keep the running going.
"Buy a device or download an app that helps record your runs"
It’s not always easy to know how far you’ve run or how fast, especially when you’re just starting out, so get one of these in the early days so you can track your progress. It's also a great incentive to keep the running going, particularly if you can follow friends on the app you’re using too.
"Not all runners are fast"
Runners come in all different shapes, sizes and speeds. You don’t need to be the next Mo Farah or Laura Muir to achieve great things. Whether your pace is 12 or 7 minute miles, try not to compare yourself to others. There are many factors that can affect your speed so just aim to improve.
"It’s not always enjoyable but it is always rewarding"
If you plan to go on a long run and you call it quits after 5 minutes don’t worry. You’ll have good runs and bad runs, and some days it will feel like you’ve got bricks attached to your feet. It’s all part of the learning and improving process of running so don’t let a bad run ruin your perception of it.
"You shouldn’t eat loads more just because you’re a runner"
Yes, you’re burning more calories and it will make you more hungry, however the trick is to have a balanced diet whilst training. You won’t lose weight if you’re stuffing your face with takeaways after each long run. There are lots of nutrition tips and myths out there so watch out. Just make sure you’re eating the right things and stay healthy to compliment your increase in physical activity. Check out this protein blog.
"Your feet will never be the same again"
You might not lose your toenails but the occasional blister will occur depending on your running shoes, socks or even your sweat. If you're planning a Summer holiday after a half-marathon or full marathon, you might need to book a pedicure in before you go! It's important to look after your feet if you're training for an event as this can really set you back if you've got a problem or pain point. But if you want to show off, then by all means share with the world your running wounds and gory photos – after all it proves you’re working hard and getting the miles in!
"Don’t see rest or missing a session as a negative thing"
Rest is a form of training and it’s essential to give your muscles and body time to recover, especially from longer runs so fitting this into your weekly schedule is a must. This means you’ll be fit and ready to up your mileage the next time.
"It never gets easier…. you just get quicker!"
It’s great when you start to feel more comfortable as you build up your running strength and cardio fitness, but if you feel like every run is more of a jog then it’s time to up the pace. Essentially runners want to get quicker, so as soon as you feel like it’s ‘easy’ it's time to step up the effort. Make sure every run has a purpose.
"That you are supposed to continue into February and beyond!"
Many people take up running as their New Years resolution's which seem to quickly grind to a halt. So make sure you sign up to a Great Run event so you keep running beyond February! A spring 10k or half-marathon is a great aim for the first part of the year.
"Stretch, stretch, stretch"
Stretching is an essential part of any sport and running is no different. Ensuring your muscles are warmed up before your run and cooled down after is important to prevent injury and increase your flexibility. You don’t want stiff hamstrings and calves on the morning of a long run day, so build this into your regime and make it habit.
"Find your hard, steady, relaxed and easy pace"
This may sound too technical for a first time runner but to break it down, try not to stick to one pace. Having a steady pace is good for your gentle runs but by pushing yourself every so often to that hard pace you will reap the benefits and see progress much quicker than if you stick to a comfortable speed.
"You don’t need all the gear"
There are lots of things on the market from clothing, technology and nutrition advice for runners, but don’t feel like you have to listen to all of them. Just listen to your body and buy what you think will give you that confidence boost or help with any niggles you have. At the end of the day, all you need to run is a decent pair of trainers and some breathable clothing and you’re off!
Why not kick start your 2018 and enter into one of our spring events including:
Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k – Sunday 6 May
Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k – Sunday 13 May