A Beginner's Guide to Running
Running. The word that can strike fear into your heart with just two little syllables. The thought of heading outside in the cold when you could be curled up on the sofa is a little terrifying to most people, but it doesn’t have to be.
We caught up with Outdoor and Lifestyle Blogger Clare Potts to understand more about what inspired her to start running and why she thinks you should too.
I used to be one of those people that wouldn’t even run to cross the street. My motto in uni was ‘I run for no man’ but since getting the basics down over the past year I am now a running convert!
It all began when I invested in my first pair of running trainers and a good quality sports bra; with the right support I felt confident enough to join my boyfriend for a short run around the block. I instantly fell in love with the rush of endorphins and the feel of my feet on the tarmac! But this lasted about three minutes before I was struggling for breath and fearing for my life… Since then I’ve plodded on, finding what works for me and building up my stamina. I now run around 10k a week and feel so much better for it!
So if you’re contemplating taking up running, go for it! I am no expert but I’ve managed to go from barely being able to run 100 metres to being able to run 10k in an hour so take a look at my tips and get out there.
Choose Trainers that Work for You
The right trainers will become your best friend as a runner, there is nothing worse than a blister or rubbing when you’re running so it’s vital that you get a good fit and the style is right for the terrain you’re running on. Merrell's All-Out-Rush Trail Running Shoes are my absolute favourite at the moment; they are light, fit like a glove and are so comfortable.
Finding your pace can come quickly for some and take a while to settle for other, start slow with a jog and build up to your optimum pace; there’s no need to run as fast as you can and injure yourself, after all it’s not a race!
If you’re running outside in the cold, make sure that you are wearing a couple of breathable layers, this will keep the heat in as well as letting it out to make sure your body's temperature stays regulated. Baselayers work really well for keeping you at an optimum temperature; I love the Helly Hansen Baselayer as it’s comfortable, flattering and has reflective chevrons on the arms, safety first!
Control your Breathing
Getting your breathing right can be tricky, it took me a few weeks to get my pace right and my breathing to match. Focus on your breathing at the beginning by breathing through your mouth, simply because your mouth is bigger so you can take in more oxygen.
Breathing in patterns with your pace can really help too, it will quickly become second nature! Try breathing in for two steps and out for two steps, until you find the right pace for you.
Water is key, I always run with a water bottle in hand to make sure I’m hydrated throughout. But don’t drink too much, a sip every now and then will keep you hydrated but make sure you don’t feel bloated. Make sure to drink water before and after too, that way you’ll be hydrated and re-hydrated! Also, if the weather is hot, splash your face with water to keep your temperature regulated.
Track your Progress
It’s incredibly rewarding seeing your hard work pay off so keep track of your progress. I use my Polar Gear Activity Tracker to make sure I’m getting enough exercise throughout the day and keeping active; it’s also great for tracking runs and walks! It tells you exactly how much exercise you need to do before you reach your activity goal, whether it’s 25 minutes of jogging or an hour of walking - a great little motivator!
Set Yourself a Goal
Whether it’s signing up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon or simply wanting to shed some pounds, set yourself a goal for the future as it’s always easier to keep yourself motivated when you have something to aim for. Running with a friend can also be a great motivator. I have recently started a running club after work where two days a week five of us run a 4k or 6k circuit; it’s amazing to have everyone around you cheering each other on and to inspire you when you’re not feeling confident.
Got any running tips or words of motivation for beginners, or have you been inspired by Clare's story? Leave a comment below or share them on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages now. #Life Outdoors