Running tips for beginners Couch to 5k
New year, new exercise, new you?
Sounds fantastic right? There can be right and wrong ways of starting a new exercise routine.
The starting point – Running
Running is probably the most popular method of exercise, it’s cardiovascular, promotes weight loss and it’s free!
If you decide that you would like to start running as your chosen exercise, great! Start with a walk first. Build up your stamina at a rate you can keep up with and enjoy. Walk up hills, start to build up your heart rate.
Start to add a gradual jog to your walk, stop and start. Gradually over a couple of weeks increasing the amount you are walking to jogging.
It’s vital to gradually build muscles and stability in your ankles, knees and joints. Helping to avoid injury, your body will thank you for it. Take days off in between, allow your body to recover. If you are jogging outside, off road. Be aware the ground you are running on may be less than perfect especially in winter. Hard frost or muddy runs can be challenging and could cause an injury so be careful.
Running with another person or as a group can be a great way to motivate yourself on those cold winter mornings. Running clubs such as Park Run can be great fun and local. If you have a dog that’s fit and healthy, turning the daily dog walk in to a jog can be beneficial for both parties. The NHS campaign Couch to 5K has some great information and weekly exercise break downs, that are easy to follow and could be very useful.
Our bodies are all different, many of us have in balances within our bodies, which can impede on our performance.
Feet: inverted ankles, arch prolapse, plantar fasciitis are a few conditions can affect how you run, long term. After a few runs if you feel pain, other than usual worked muscle pain, don’t ignore it. Listen to your body. Pain is your inbuilt alarm system telling you that something isn’t right. You may need insoles in your shoes to correct your feet positioning, this will help avoid conditions such as runners knee.
Hips: Tight hip flexors, calfs quads and hamstrings can sometimes inhibit your running capability. A regular, daily stretching routine with a resistant band is incredibly helpful in loosening tight lower body muscles.
Lower and upper back: Over extended upper back muscles can be caused most commonly by desk work. Being sat over a computer for 7+ hours a day can have lasting detrimental effects. When running always try and run relaxed, loose and not curved forward. Your body may want to naturally curve forward, you need to teach it to do the opposite. Engaging your core will help straighten yourself, you must try and be mindful to hold your core throughout your run. This can be tough to remember but essential you keep trying, until it becomes automatic, this does take some time…
If you do start to suffer during your run, don’t give up. Seek professional advice on what you can do to help yourself. Personal trainers, running clubs, sports massage therapists and physio’s will all be able to help you back on the road to running.
Always stretch before and after exercise. Pilates and Yoga, are the way forward. Look after your body, it’s the only one you’ve got!
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