How are your New Year Resolutions going?
OK? Great? Not so much?
If one of your resolutions was to exercise more but you’re feeling low on inspiration/motivation, or simply ideas, then I’m here to help with my 7 top tips for new runners!
I am a huge fan of running – this does not mean that I am an expert. I have however been a pretty dedicated runner for several years (Including half marathons), I’m a busy Mum, I work and I struggle to make time for myself in almost all areas of my life – except exercise. Exercise is so important for my well being and health that I have learnt to make it a priority.
This does sometimes mean pulling my trainers on at 5am, or 8pm (when I’d rather be watching Scandal), or doing an Insanity workout in the living room while my children laugh at me.
The point is – while I may never have the figure of a 20-something again I do like to be vaguely toned, I like my jeans to fit and most importantly I want my body to be healthy. I enjoy feeling healthy.
If you’re a new runner, or just thinking about starting the following should help!
- Good shoes – Ideally your trainers should last for 400-500 miles. Think about it…that is a lot of miles. Of all the things you can buy (most of which you don’t need) trainers are the most important. A good running shop can analyse your gait and make sure you know which kind of trainer to buy. A good pair of running specific trainers will cost upwards of £50 but don’t be afraid to bargain hunt. I recently bought a fantastic pair of Nike trainers for £26 in the sale.
- Speaking of kit – technically it is true that once your trainers are sorted you can run in pretty much anything. I do think it is important to bear a couple of things in mind though: A sports bra is very important – again, don’t be afraid to bargain hunt, TXMax and M&S do some great options. If you live in England you need your kit to be wind and rain proof – I don’t recommend running with soaking wet tracksuit style bottoms. Check out http://www.fabletics.co.uk for entire outfits from only £22, I was really impressed.
- Relax – when I started running I noticed that after a few miles my back began to hurt. After suffering with the problem for far too long I read an essay about running technique which described my symptoms exactly – as in my technique was all wrong. I was running with my shoulders bunched up around my ears, fists clenched and gritting my teeth (attractive right!) no wonder I was hurting. The answer…relax. Relax your jaw muscles, relax your shoulders, shake out your arms and flex your fingers. I noticed a difference within minutes!
- Take what you can get – If I always waited for the perfect time to exercise it would never happen. I could so easily be doing a ton of other stuff for other people (or just watching scandal). I just tell myself – I’ll go for 15 minutes. 15 minutes is better than nothing – it’s a hell of a lot better than 15 minutes of sitting on the sofa. I don’t think I’ve ever just done the 15 minutes, once out there it’s easy to push myself, but it’s nice to know I can bail out at 15!
- Listen to your body – The amazing Dr George Sheehan once said ‘You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain‘. If your just starting out you might expect your body to hurt but listen to it carefully – there is a big difference between sore muscles and pain. I enjoy the ache of a workout well done but I know my body, I have learnt when it is telling me to stop before I get hurt. Better to have a couple of rest days than be laid up for weeks of recovery from something more serious.
- Set realistic goals – It’s perfectly fine (even downright sensible) to set the smallest of goals when you’re starting out. Run for 5 minutes at a time without stopping, then up it to 10. If that’s no problem start looking at miles (there are some very easy to use apps that track distance). Sign up to a 5/10k or even a half marathon – there are many training plans available online and they are fantastic guides to follow when goal setting.
- Enjoy yourself – yes, it can be lots of fun! When my life gets a bit crazy (the girls are being difficult, my husband’s being difficult, work is being difficult and the house is a mess) I put on my trainers, make sure I have some great music and I head out. I am never in a bad mood when I get back!
Do you like running? Are you thinking of giving it a try? If you have any tips of your own I’d love to share them so please let me know in the comments below!