With the summer well and truly here, you might be thinking about getting out in nature and start running. It seemed to be the thing to do last year during lockdown, but with so many people now running, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and give it a go!
While you might think it’s as easy as popping on your trainers and getting out there – you will quickly discover that there is a little more to it!
Starting out steadily and safely will ensure you will keep those injuries at bay and stay motivated. So how do you go about running in the summer?
Here’s Our Top Tips On How To Do It
What Do I Wear?
It’s really all about being comfortable when you first start out, but as you run more and more, you will certainly want to think about getting some ‘proper gear’. Clothes that wick away sweat from the body are ideal – especially when the temperature starts to rise.
A decent running bra is also a must. You don’t need to spend a fortune – there’s something for every budget. However, when you invest in your running attire, it will really motivate you as you’ll look like a runner – feel like a runner – be a runner!
Trainers Are Trainers… Right?
A regular question of the newbie runner is, “Which are the BEST trainers to wear?”. This often relates to the brand of shoe – but the make of the trainer is actually irrelevant. Your trainers should be a comfortable fit, with plenty of room at the toe. You may want to go up a half size, and sometimes even take a full size if you are doing a high number of miles in one go.
It’s a good idea to go to a specialist shop that will look at your gait, foot strike and advise you on the best fitting trainers. They will ensure that you have extra support for your foot when you strike the ground. You won’t necessarily get the right fit with the cool Nikes on special offer, so it pays to go to a specialist fitter.
How Far Should I Run?
Running can be incredibly challenging – especially when you first start. Using the run/walk method is the easiest way to build endurance without creating extra stress on your joints. You could use a timer on your watch or phone to create timed sections for running and walking. Then, with each run, you can try increasing the running sections and decreasing the walking parts.
It’s Not A Race!
It’s important when you start running, not to go out too far or too fast. Did you know, you actually put three times your body weight through your joints when you run? Allow your body to adjust to running, otherwise you may pay for it with an unwanted injury and you don’t want to be put off the idea of running altogether!
Keep the pace at a manageable rate. You should be able to talk in full sentences. If not, slow down. Most importantly, remember to breathe! Through your nose and out through your mouth.
Cool down by walking for a few minutes, finishing up with some gentle stretches. It will help your muscles from getting tight.
Think consistency over intensity. Plan a schedule to make running a habit. It is far better to run a little three times a week, than one longer run once a week.
Correct Running Form
When you see lots of runners together (i.e. London Marathon) you will soon realise that everyone runs a little differently. There are things you can do to improve your running form and improve your experience – like conserve energy, improve your pace, run further and reduce your risk of injury.
Things To Consider Are:
- Upright Posture – head lifted, back long and tall, shoulders level but relaxed, pelvis neutral.
- Shoulder Placement – be mindful that they don’t hunch over as you become tired.
- Arms – back and forth in a natural movement with a 90 degree bend at the elbow.
- Hands – keep them relaxed – don’t clench them.
- Feet – monitor how they meet the ground. This is called your “footstrike”. You might land on your heel, middle of your foot or your heel. You may experience problems depending on how you run. Toe runners may experience tight calves whereas heel strikers can lead to over-striding.
Does It Get Easier?
That first run can feel daunting, but that is the hardest part. Little by little you will start to improve with every run – and that’s where the running bug comes in! Seeing those improvements will motivate you even more.
So, in short, the answer is YES! If you’ve never run before, then of course, your body will find the whole process a bit of an ordeal – especially if you’re also new to exercise. But stick with it! So many runners find the start of their journey to be challenging but were then so glad they kept to their plan. They also found that they started running for one reason, usually weightloss, only to find that running gave them so much more.
I’d love to hear how you got on with your first run, “how was it for you?”
About The Author
Linda Meek is a Social Media Manager who found herself without work in the space of an afternoon when her clients pulled their social media budgets in blind panic as a reaction to the world closing down when Covid-19 hit.
Initially, Linda’s knee-jerk reaction was to rebrand as a social media VA falling back on her 25 years of PA experience. Buts she knew that she wanted to work with fitness and wellbeing coaches as this is an area of interest but deep down, Linda wanted to build a community of her own rather than serving clients. She wanted to find a new and exciting way to do this!
One of the first things Linda did was dug out her trainers and went for a run! With the gym now closed, Linda got out her running kit which had been redundant for nine months as she had been resting an injury. Having suffered from anxiety and depression in her late teens, exercise has always been something that has helped with both her physical and mental health.
Want further support in your running from a supportive, non-judgemental community? Start Running Stay Running was set up in June 2020 to support new and returning runners.