We may as well start the blog with the most popular exercise in the modern world, running!
When it comes to running, many people buy a new pair of running shoes and just go outside and run for as hard and long as they can for a few times. This leads to many people dropping it after a few sessions due to not enjoying it and feeling terrible afterwards. Not to mention how easily people injure themselves this way and end up with painful shin splints!
We always believe that people should ease themselves into running at the beginning! While running comes naturally to our bodies because of the way we’ve evolved, years of sitting and being sedentary in school and teenage years, as well as our working environments, changes our body as it ages. You can also see this in the way that babies can naturally squat very easily, but we develop bad habits as we grow older and most have to re-learn that ability.
We also recommend before running that you buy new, specific running shoes. While its tempting to don a pair of hi-vis Nikes and just go, everyone’s unique body and genetics means they have a different cambre and gait to their run/walk. Some people land on the balls of their feet, some on the heels, some roll outside, some inside, some people feet turn out naturally and some turn in. We suggest going to a dedicated running shop such as http://www.runnersworld.ltd.uk/ to have them give you a gait analysis so they can tell which which shoes are best for you.
This means that wearing a general purpose shoe may work against your body’s natural tendencies. The wrong shoes and worn out trainers are the main cause of running injuries. So while it may be more expensive, it saves you the trouble of being injured and perhaps being off work for a couple of weeks or longer!
So, how should you start running at first?
We recommend that you take up walking at first, and adding short bouts of running into this and gradually increasing the workout time. So what we’d recommend is
- 1st day: 20 min walking
- 2nd day: 19 min walking, 1 min running
- 3rd day: 18 min walking, 2 min running
- 4th day: 17 min walking, 3 min running
- 5th day: 16 walking, 4 running
- 6th day: 15 walking, 5 running
- 7th day: Rest
- 8th day: 20 walking, 5 running
- 9th day: 19 walking, 6 running
- Etc, etc.
This way, after a month you should be running 40 minutes straight and feel comfortable doing so! This will help avoid beginners injuries such as Runner’s Knee, Shin Splints and IT Band problems.
During the first few days you WILL feel a sore aching in your quadriceps and calves, especially if you aren’t used to exercise. This is completely normally and is the muscle re-building after being broken down during your workout. You should be mindful if the pain is more sharp than an ache and lasts for more than three days, in that case you should visit your GP to be sure you haven’t injured the muscle.
Many people wonder where they should run, and we say you should do it wherever you feel most comfortable, while a treadmill can be less impactful on your knees as a pavement, that may not be convenient. If you live near a large rural area or park and like walking through it, run there! If you live in the middle of the city and don’t feel comfortable or have low self-confidence running in front of other people, perhaps join a gym and use the treadmill. Some schools that have running tracks open these up to the public when they aren’t being used by the school, so this is another avenue for you to look into!
The hardest part of starting any exercise regime (or giving up a habit, picking up a new one etc.) is convincing your brain to do it. Getting out of the door is always much harder than continuing through a workout! We recommend that you pick the most convenient time in the day for you to workout, set it aside from all other responsibilities, set a reminder for your phone 10 minutes before and have it non-negotiable.
As with any action, taking the first step, writing the first word or playing the first note is always the hardest part, but once you’ve done that, you’re in the action and then, it’s much harder to give up then continue!
Good luck with your new running habit, and if you’re not loving every workout after a few weeks, then get back to us! 😉