The Five Step Beginners Guide to Running
By Erchana Murray
Spring is here and the days are about to get warmer and longer. For some, this won’t change the gruelling fitness routine they have religiously maintained through winter. For others, this means dusting off the old running shoes, lacing up and trying to remember how to get to those amazing trails. However, for many, this spring will signal a time to try this fitness craze for the first time. Thinking of being one of those people, but not quite sure how to get started?
Below are a few of my top tips to help anyone, and I mean anyone, get outdoors and start running.
1. Wear a decent pair of shoes.
This is my number one tip. Getting fitted into a shoe that lifts your arch, stabilises an over-pronation or supports your foot-strike style (mid-foot or forefoot) is fundamental to an injury free run. Remember, the feet take all the impact in running and an incorrectly fitted shoe can cause your stabilising muscles to become over-used and prone to injury. Running-specific stores like RunStopShop, have staff who can recommend and fit your shoe based on your style of running, prior injuries and running goals.
2. Build into it.
Like anything, fitness takes time and running a marathon in your first week is a recipe for injury and a fast decline in motivation. Try alternating through running and walking during your first week. After that, try aiming for 5 minutes of consistent running with two minutes of walking. Don’t feel that an inability to run 5km on your first day means you’re not meant to be a runner. I like to get bit technical here and recommend getting yourself a decent activity tracking watch. Not only can you look back at your efforts, you can log on to the compatible phone/computer programs and track your progress over time. I just purchased the Garmin 735X and love it. These watches also have walk/run functions you can set in the beginning to allow you to follow programs without any extra thought or effort on your part.
3. Pick a goal event.
I find that choosing a Fun Run a couple of months down the track can become a fantastic motivator when the training gets tough. Melbourne marathon festival, for example, has many different distances you can enter, so it’s time to get excited. When you cross that line you know that all your hard work has paid off.
4. Find a friend.
Running socially is a fantastic way to stay motivated, combine exercise with gossip and importantly, remain accountable to your new fitness regime. Everyone has a day when they don’t feel like running, but when you know your mates are counting on you it can help you lace up those shoes. There are many clubs in Melbourne alone that cater for runners of all abilities and goals. RunStopShop has a free Run Club that meets every Wednesday at the Melbourne CBD store at lunch (12.15pm) and then again at the Tan at 6.30pm. Additionally, established running groups are often led by a professional coach, who not only oversees your session but can guide you through technique pointers, breathing exercises and stretches to allow for a safe build up to your goal event.
5. Stretch after every run.
Running is a repetitive movement that can tire and tighten certain muscle groups. Performing dynamic, movement stretches before a run is a great way to loosen up and static or still stretches after your cool-down, even for ten minutes, can reduce soreness the next day and keep you injury free for your next date with the road.
Erchana Murray is the Running Technician for RunStopShop