Running raises your fitness level in a short period of time, but it can also be a quick way to injure yourself.
So, remember when starting out, 'slow and steady, wins the race'!
HOW OFTEN AT THE BEGINNING?
When deciding how you're going to approach running, you'll find it a bit of a trial and error. All of us are built differently and frame size will play a big part of how much running you should take on and when. But if you want to enjoy it, don't try to master it straight off the bat, build it up slowly to enjoy an injury free experience.
HOW FAR OR LONG?
Don't think to hard on this or set yourself targets at early stages, even if you dedicate 5 mins of your workout to a run, this is going to be beneficial, you want to simply get your heart rate up. By doing this and more regularly, it's going to strengthen your heart muscle through a gradual process, force a deeper breath and increase oxygen into the blood - this will bring up your energy levels. Once energy is up, even just a whisker, you'll find motivation starts to kick in.
We advise you to alternate different types of running so you don’t get bored with the same workout every day. Mix between running outdoors and on a treadmill. The treadmill is a great option during the winter months, as you're not limited by the weather conditions, it's also kinder on the knees and you can control the level of effort at a touch of a button - it's also a great social environment being in a gym. However, there's nothing like filling your lungs with fresh air, and joining a running club can also be as much fun socially! For more variety, find different locations to run in your neighbourhood or sometimes run during lunch time at work or go somewhere entirely different like a beach or park!
Whilst you'll find great progress in your fitness levels if you can alter the amount of speed in your runs, it's not a necessity, if you prefer to keep to an easy pace, rather than step it up, then do that - what's important is that you're running! You can also switch from fast walking to slow jogging until you feel you're at a comfortable fitness level.
A great way to measure your progress and set yourself some goals is to find and create a circuit in your neighbourhood, a place where you can do a complete circle which is between 500m to 1K. Then each time you run you can check the distance you ran or walked it, what time you did it in and then compare one day or week to the next. The great advantage with a circuit is when you suddenly stop, you won't be too far from home. But seeing yourself progress, is an amazing confidence boost, so there's a lot said in running in the same place.
Once you start running / fast walking 1K in less than 10 mins, you're ready to progress your distance or increase your speed. Try to add on at least 1K to your distance each week over a month period, ideally you want to get your fitness level where by a regular 5K run is a weekly experience, regardless of the pace, this should take you anywhere between 20 to 40 mins, pending on your speed and fitness progress. To build up your endurance levels, start changing your pace, if you're running at 10 mins a km, try to bring it down by running the last 1K slightly faster than the previous. It's okay to rest or walk every 1KM, until you feel at ease.
Once you are running 5K regularly, you'll find that all other activities in your life become easier, you won't be out of breath, energy levels will be flourishing through your body and your mind will so much clearer and aware.
To get into more detail about different running workouts to build up strength and endurance follow experts online - we like Doug Hay's “8 Running Workouts to Build Strength and Endurance”, Doug explains the different types of running and sample workouts to follow.
WHAT TYPE OF RUNNING?
We have summed up the 4 most common types of running. You can choose which one is best for you depending on your goals:
1. Regular Jogging (Easy Run):
Sustaining a steady pace (60-80% of your maximum speed for a long time)
Pros: Good for endurance, easy to maintain
Cons: Less calories burnt, can become boring
Running as fast as you can, for as long as you can
Pros: Calories Burner, good cardio exercise
Cons: Very tiring, higher risks of injury
3. Interval Running:
Alternating sprints with short resting period of walking or jogging
Pros: The most efficient calories burner and cardio
Cons: Can’t be sustained for long
4. Hill Running:
Run steadily for a long time, with a high incline
Pros: Bum enhancer, good for endurance
Cons: Risks of knee or shin injury
WHAT TO WEAR?
Having the right gear can inspire and motivate you in so many ways. Primarily, you need to feel comfortable and confident - this will make it easier and pleasant. Music can be a great companion for runners, but can also be dangerous on the road, so be mindful of your surroundings and be safe. Where possible go for bright colours when running on roads and try to wear reflective gear or strap on lights at night.
1. Which clothes?
Layer up when you run, that way, you can remove layers as and when required. Also look for breathable clothes that are lightweight wherever possible. If you're looking for short regular runs during cold months, then go for our thermo-regulating bamboo gear, as this will keep you warm and regulated as well as fully covered, and it's breathability will ensure you won't get smothered. If you need additional layers, than try one of our cotton poplin tops, as they are wind resistant but 100% breathable, so you can let out the heat whilst protected from the cold.
Our bamboo hooded towelling tops are also great for warming up in and you'll soon find your running 10K without having to take them off due to their unique breathability. In the summer, we have alternative bamboo pants in varying cuts to suit your preference, some like biker length style shorts, as they cover your thighs - but we also have our cotton poplin runners shorts, these are ideal for more competitive running.
2. Which shoes?
If it is the first time you are buying running shoes, when you go to a store, ask for advice, as it's hard to find the perfect shoe. There's options for all conditions and situations including tailor made sole's that can help compensate your heal shapes so that you can run with the right posture - all of which can help avoid long term injury from running on a badly fitted shoe. You may also like to advise what surfaces you are likely to be running on, what style of running.
Our Tip: Once you think you have the right shoe, run around the shop for a couple minutes to get a feel of the shoes before you make your decision.
WHAT TO EAT?
1. Carb up!
Your body needs energy so make sure to eat enough carbohydrates. Potatoes, brown rice or whole wheat pasta are brilliant and long lasting carbohydrate sources.
These are essential for a full functional body especially when you are sweating a lot during a long distance run. Bananas are rich in potassium. You can find good amount of magnesium and calcium in leafy green vegetables such as kale. For chloride and sodium – which are found in table salt – we recommend whole foods like olives over unhealthy snacks such as crisps.
Make sure to take enough water on your run to keep your body hydrated and your mind clear.