The wonderful Hannah Adshead, who runs the inspiring page @_healthyhann has written a wonderful blog on her site – you can read more of her articles here!
When the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced the UK’s first National Lockdown back in March last year panic mode was activated amongst us all. How long will it be until we can: socialise again? Go to the pub? Hug our families? Go on holiday? And, more importantly, GO TO THE GYM?!
Despite how we were all now meant to be locked away in our houses I’m sure that it was noticeable to you like it was to myself, how many extra people were venturing outside- in gym gear nonetheless.
On a side note- I’ve just asked myself who I’m referring to when saying ‘they, and, I’ve just realised, I am ‘they’. It’s amusing to think about actually. I think we’re all definitely guilty of doing at least some of the above. I am definitely guilty of utilising Strava for all it’s got and showboating my achievements on Facebook and Instagram, because, well, why not? It was a huge achievement to go from running 0km to 21km and I’m proud of it! Suddenly everyone’s biggest worries were concerned with ensuring that their feet weren’t blistered by their newly-bought running trainers, making sure that they picked a quieter route so that they didn’t have to move out the way for others- which would spoil any chance they had for smashing a new PB, and of course making sure that they linked their social media to Strava so everyone had no choice but to see their progress.
Since March 2020 here’s what I’ve achieved:
Despite how I thoroughly enjoyed the competitive mindset that I adopted while running, I fell slightly out of love with it when I have begun finding it more challenging to beat the PB’s that I’d set. Due to this I took a step back and stopped worrying about the times and just enjoyed being outside running in the fresh air! A run is still a run, a run is an exercise, and surely that’s a positive no matter the time taken right? If you ever end up running into the same problem yourself, mind the pun, then I recommend that you try this too. Take a step back, and enjoy it.
MY TEN TOP TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME RUNNERS:
I often get asked for tips on how a beginner should approach running for the first time, especially now that we’re in the thick of a third National Lockdown, so I thought that I’d compile my top tips for my first blog post!
- Get yourself a good playlist set up. It has been suggested that if you listen to songs that are 120BMP (beats per minute), at least, then you are more likely to: run faster, run further, and smash your PB’s. Sticking on a groovy Tech House playlist is something that I have definitely benefited from.
- Map out a route before you run. Whether your preference is to run along the main roads, off-road, or through scenic parks, I’d say that planning out an exciting route, that won’t bore you, is key. I’m a sucker for having a nosey and people watch so I often pick out routes through busy villages or parks. This automatically shifts my concentration away from feeling tired and bored and, instead, diverges my focus towards taking in my surroundings.
- Find a running time that works best for you. I would most certainly describe myself as an early bird so I needless to say perform to a higher standard on an early morning run. If you’re just starting out I would suggest trialing running at different times of the day, and before and after eating, to test the optimum conditions for yourself.
- Don’t go out with a set distance in mind. On my very first run, back in March 2020, I didn’t set out to run 5k. I just popped my headphones in and went out for a run. Removing the added pressure of feeling like you need to complete a set distance can aid your running in two ways: it takes the thought out of your head so you will naturally run further, and it excludes the risk of feeling disappointed in yourself if you don’t manage to run the set distance.
- Wear an outfit you feel comfortable in. You just can’t beat putting on an outfit that you feel cooland comfortable in, can you? I got some new running gear for Christmas and, oh my, it gave me such a confidence boost! This boost in confidence inevitably meant that I performed up to the mark. Also, getting kitted out with some convenient gear, like a running bag belt, is especially beneficial. There’s nothing worse than getting distracted by carrying a phone or getting tangled up in your headphones!
- Make sure you’ve got the correct supportive trainers. Wearing the correct trainers and ensuring that they’re not worn out is probably the most important tip that I can give you. There are many running shops, such as Running Bear, that can carry out a gait analysis when you run. This enables you to be paired with your most-suited running trainers, thus reducing the possibility of picking up an injury. And, on the same note, it is equally important that your trainers and their support don’t wear out as you increase the amount that you run you, or you’ll end up with the dreaded runner’s knee.
- Don’t run when you notice an injury. Running on an injury, even the smallest one, will most likely result in a greater injury. So, this one’s pretty simple- utilise your rest days and don’t run if you notice an injury!
- Stretch, stretch, and stretch. I’m a nightmare when it comes to stretching. I just can’t seem to force myself to warm-up or cool-down, and for sure I end up paying for it afterwards the next day!
- Go out with another fellow runner. If you often find yourself lacking the will-power towards the end of a run then why not take a friend out with you? The support that you can get from others will spur you on to get that run finished!
- Couch to 5K. I know many that have found the Couch to 5k programme useful in building up their stamina and running ability. If you struggle to run off your own back then why not give this a go?
I am by no means an expert in this field but these are my own personal top ten tips that have helped me over the past ten months. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my first post and have found these tips helpful. Feel free to reach out, via Instagram or email, if you have any further questions.