Essential Running Tips for Beginners
Are you a new runner? If you are then read further.
How quickly you increase your running, wearing the correct shoes and what surfaces you run can reduce injury.
We have put together some useful tips to set you on the right track for running success!
Get up and go! Yes, great attitude but be smart, don't forget the importance of basic anatomical strength.
Single leg calf raises are a great way to test calf strength before starting a run programme. Biomechanically, every stride involves a single leg calf raise, so we need these to cope with the impact.
Before you start running, make sure you can do ten repetitions on each leg.
Perform a single leg calf raises until failure, and make a note of this number to check improvements in the future.
Do not count calf raise that have not been performed correctly, this is the failure point.
If you can't do 10 repetitions (reps), break it down into reps until to can do 10 back to back
Day one 5x2 reps, day two 3x3 reps, day three 2x4 reps, day four 2x5, day five 10 reps, ( rest 10-15 seconds between each rep) you may find you can progress quicker.
The second test is a squat to make sure the glutes, hamstrings, quads are strong.
We don't want our knees going inwards. If they are then the glutes are not strong enough to keep the knee pushed out and in-line with the hips.
Running with weak glutes and core can potentially cause injuries further into your run programme.
Running itself will improve strength in all areas, but it all comes back to the old saying, “don't run before you can walk.”
Running too much too quickly with cause fatigue and bad form, resulting in avoidable injuries!
My biggest advice would be, do not rush! Don't be a keen bean too early. Take a bit of extra thought in your first month of running as it will pay dividends in the long run.
Begin with intervals, for example:
“2-minute run, walk 1 minute, and repeat for a total of 5 minutes, then increase your run duration by 1 minute a week. Build this up to give you a base duration of 20-30 minutes.”
The Golden rule is don't increase your running duration by more than 10% a week.
This sounds over-cautious, but as a beginner runner and due to the high impact nature of running, it is very important to introduce this gradually, allowing the body to get used to the impact.
Nobody is a superhero, even elite athletes “recovery is training.” Your body needs to rest and recovery at whatever level.
As a beginner with none or little running background starts with, one day on, two days off, but still stick to the 10% rule and don't get carried away.
The heavier you are, the greater impact there is on your joints and muscles.
You don't have to avoid every running surface, but be mindful of what surfaces you are running on during the early stages of running.
Throughout the months you can introduce more road running, especially if you are training for a road race.
So we have talked about surfaces, so what about trainers?
Firstly make sure you have the right shoes for your feet from the beginning. Trail shoes for muddy off road runs, and road trainers for light trails or tarmac.
Trainers come in 3 types of structure; neutral, cushioned and support. These all depend on how you run.
Your local running shops can help advice and will let you run with trainers on a treadmill.
Take advantage of this and spend the time on getting the shoes right and buy your first pair from the shop!
Then shop for those mega deals online when you need to buy a new pair as you will know what style you need.
DO NOT wear brand new trainers for a race or long run.
Yes, I am guilty of this, but I have learned my lesson the hard way, resulting in a run-walk and blisters.
If you are going to get some new trainers, make sure you wear them in. If you are between trainers, gradually transition into you new ones over a space of 1-2 weeks.
Secondly, DO NOT wear really old trainers.
You can check how worn a trainer is by looking at the sole and also knowing how much wear they have had. Yes….this includes walking and other activities.
Thirdly, DO NOT walk lots in your running trainers.
This can increase wear in areas of the trainer that is different from when you run.
Biomechanically, you will be putting force through different parts of the foot compared to when you run…..save the cushioning and bounce!
- Avoid long durations running on concrete; concrete is 7x harder than tarmac!
- If you are running on the treadmill, set the gradient at 0.5-1% to make it more natural...remember when you are running outside it is never 100% flat!
- Avoid lots of running on off camber surfaces, for example, cambered pavements or roads, this can cause overuse injuries due to the uneven run surface!
Co-written by Hannah Drewett.