When people first think about running, it can be a daunting prospect, where do you start? SCOTTISH RUNNING GUIDE wanted to find out more about beginner running, so got in touch with Ann Lister from the Glasgow Running Network, to get Five Top Tips For Beginners...
1 - Have a goal
To stay motivated in the first few weeks, a goal is required to give focus to the commitment to train safely. If the mind is kept focused, the body will follow and as endurance running is at least 80% psychological, a strong resolve is needed.
2 - Follow A Programme
The best option, in my opinion, is to find a running group that caters for beginners. They will have a programme of training that will enable the beginner to progress gradually, to prevent injury and allow the body - particularly breathing - to adjust to this new form of exercise. Running with a group gives the new runner support from a trained and experience coach or jog leader. The group will support each other and you are more likely to find someone at your level, who would like to run with you out-with group sessions.
3 - Kit
The most important piece of kit is correct running trainers. These should be purchased from a reputable running shop which offers gait analysis and a wide selection of stock. Expect to pay around £60-85 for a good quality pair of running shoes, although most of these stores give a discount if you run with a club or group. For the ladies, a proper supportive sports bra is also a necessity and again fitting is very important, no matter if you are neat or voluminous in this area.
4 - Diet and Hydration
Starting to run is a great incentive to look at the diet as a whole. Eating a healthy balanced diet will help the muscles required for running, including the most important muscle - the heart - to grow stronger, supply energy to keep on running and aid recovery after running. Leave at least a two-hour gap from the last time you eat until you run, to help prevent side stitches, which are a common problem in beginners.
It is best to keep hydrated generally, rather than gulp down lots of water just before running. Think about what you drink, as this will be a good time to adjust the amount of coffee, tea and fizzy drinks, reducing or changing to more suitable fluids. Take water with you if required.
5 - Stretching
After running, it is important to develop the good habit of stretching, allowing muscles to recover after working heard, preventing discomfort and stiffness. When you have done one round of stretching, do it again, not forgetting the arms, shoulders and neck areas, which can be a bit vulnerable in beginners.
The Glasgow Running Network has recently started a series of beginner running groups across the city. For more information, visit their website.