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Running tips from an unnatural runner…

Posted Jun 08 2011 3:10pm

No I’m not a natural runner. I wasn’t born to run. I’m not the quickest and I probably will never win any races. I just simply love to run…

..the enjoyment it brings, the escapism, the relaxation and most of all that runners high after achieving a personal best!

Since really pushing myself and setting running goals every month I have made some real achievements that I never thought possible, such as running a distance of 9 miles without stopping and increasing my speed to 9.51 minutes/mile. So based on my own experiences I thought I would give you some useful tips that I found useful on my rather haphazard running journey.

1. Be realistic

There’s no point trying to run before you walk-pardon the pun! :D When I first started to run I found it beneficial to set my self short running distances to start off with. I can remember that my first mile involve more walking than actual running. I was training on the basis of walking 30 seconds and then running for 30 seconds. Then I built up to running for one minute and walking for 30 seconds, until I could run that first mile without stopping. After that I increased my distance by small increments each month. The best I advice I read on running distances (I can’t remember where now) is not to increase your distance by more than 10% on each run. I was always pushing myself to run much further distances than I was capable of in the beginning, only to feel disappointed and deflated when my body burnt out too soon. It’s all about taking baby steps when you first start out.

Before you know it you will be running much longer distances and your initial training will be a distant memory.

2. Fuel that run!

Eating a small snack before a run or workout really helps to sustain your energy levels and endurance. If I’m going to run in the early hours of the morning I like to eat something like a banana or a few dates and nuts, which release their energy really quickly. An afternoon/evening run for me requires something a little heavier to combat that regular afternoon energy dip.

You can read more about the benefits of a prework out snack in a previous Friday Feature Post .

3. Recovery snack

Eating after a run, long runs in particular is just as important as fuelling your run.

Imagine that your body is seriously tired and you’ve put your muscles through their paces-they need some love! In these instances I find something high in protein really helps my muscles recover such as green smoothie containing protein powder or one of the many energy bars that have been designed for this purpose .

4. Invest in some good running shoes

This is something that I am notorious for not doing, but it is high on my priority list for next month. I’ve been meaning to get fitted with some good running shoes for a while, but never seem to get round to it.

This is a major mistake! I do have some middle of the road running shoes, kind of average, but I think getting fitted and having my gait analysed is the best way to go. Not only do good running shoes safe guard you against injuries, but they also ensure that you feel stable and comfortable whilst running. A comfortable run means that you will perform better and run at your body’s best!

5. REST upon injury!

Last month in particular I realised how important it was to rest when the tendons on both of my knees were tight and inflamed. Although this wasn’t a serious injury many of you made me realised that if I had continued to run with my knees in that state I could have been out for a lot longer than 10 days. Even the slightest twinge could be your body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong. Don’t ignore these signs, no matter hard it is for you it really is better to rest up. Instead of running I steered towards more low impact cardio such as spinning and the cross trainer. Whilst injured I discovered my new obsession Body Pump! I also found that increasing my yoga practice during this time worked amazingly well for my recovery. It stretches out your limbs and muscles perfectly without any impact, which was exactly what I needed.


6. Motivational music

I don’t know about you, but I really need to some hard hitting beats whilst out on a long run. Having a great running playlist really keeps my spirits up and motivation high.

Embarrassingly, but I will share anyways, my track list always starts with Eye of the Tiger, before moving something of my own taste.  The rest of my playlist consists of  R‘n’B, hip hop tracks for my runs. I just find the first few bars of Eye of the Tiger really motivational and all I want to do is to get out there and run.

7. Track your progress

Having a way to track your runs is a great way of keeping on your progress. Something like Daily Mile is great as it stores all of your previous runs, you can log how you were feeling, giving you the opportunity to look back and see how your body responds to training. For example you can see if you are over training, if you are challenging yourself enough, analyse the run you did prior to being injured. For me tracking my runs has been invaluable to me as it has allowed me to see what makes my runs successful and what doesn’t work for me whilst running. Also, I find that tracking my stats can be highly motivational as I see my mileage increase.

On a final note my biggest tip would be to NEVER give up! If I can do it believe me when I say, so can you! :)

Do you enjoy running? What would be your best tips for people that are just starting out?

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