Want to get in shape and improve your general well-being in 2020? Then why not try running?
Bryan Lawton of Up & Running Oldham (the town’s only specialist running store) believes that most people can run at least 5K if they follow a few basic principles and most importantly of all have the desire to do so.
“If you’ve not been active for a while, we would advise that you may want to build your fitness levels gently,” says Bryan. “If you have any underlying health conditions it is advisable to seek medical advice before embarking on a fitness programme.”
To avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it’s essential to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several outings. Start each run with a gentle warm-up of at least five minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side-stepping and climbing stairs.
When you first start out, try alternating between running and walking during your session. As time goes by, make the running intervals longer until you no longer feel the need to walk.
Give yourself a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and a doing few stretches.
Running requires little equipment, but a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type will help improve comfort and prevent injury. Get advice from a specialist running retailer who will assess your gait and find the right shoe for you.
Women should also consider using a specific sports bra. These are sturdier than a regular bra and provide additional support. Again, a specialist running retailer will be able to advise.
Regular running for beginners means getting out at least twice a week. Your running will improve as your body adapts to regular training. It’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run six times one week and then do nothing for several weeks.
Whatever your level, setting challenges is useful to stay motivated. Training for a race, such as a 5K or charity run is a good way to keep going, as is signing up for your local free weekly Park Run.
Keep a diary of your runs. Note down your route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt. That way, whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by how much you’ve improved. Keep your running interesting by adding variety. Running the same route over and over again can become boring. Vary your distance, pace and routes.
A running club is a great way to commit to running regularly. Most clubs have running groups for different levels, including beginners. Clubs are also a great way to find running partners to run with outside of club sessions. Several local running clubs offer Run Together programmes for beginners, ideal to ease non-runners into the world of running in a friendly and social environment.
Remember the next decade will be a marathon and not a sprint… So, pace yourself and enjoy the experience!