I am currently training for my second half marathon. I will be running in The Winery Running Festival in the Hunter Valley in July. So I thought I would share a few tips and hints for people starting out or are trying to reach a running goal. I am not a professional runner, nor am I a great runner. I just enjoy running. I find I need to have a goal or something to train for in order to get the best out of my running. I tend to pick one event each year to work towards.
Establish a goal.
A goal can be a distance, an event, a timeframe, weight loss, anything that you want to achieve. It always helps to put a timeframe or a date by which you wish to achieve your goal so that it doesn’t get pushed onto the backburner. If your goal is a big goal and a long time away it is always useful to make smaller goals in shorter timeframes along the way.
The easy mistake made by many when they start out is they run too fast too soon. You decide ‘I’m going to be a runner’, head out the door with the best of intentions and RUN. Four minutes later you’re gasping for breath, your legs weigh a tone and your heart is thumping in your chest. Don’t despair, you just need to prepare.
Begin by adding small segments of running into your walk. Start with four to five minutes of walking, then alternate with some running, always ending with a walking segment to cool down. Over time you increase the time spent running and decrease the time spent walking. Aim to run continuously for 10mins, and then gradually increase from there. Try to run at an easy, conversational pace three days a week, with rest days in between.
Run with a buddy:
My running buddies these days are my two dogs, Poco and Bella. They are one of my biggest motivating factors. If Bella doesn’t get her run first thing of a morning she sulks on the front step and I can’t help but feel guilty. I not only let myself down by skipping a run, she is missing out on her highlight of the day.
If you don’t have Border collie buddies who are addicted to their morning run you can recruit a neighbour, friend, partner or colleague. If you organise a time to run with someone else you are much more likely to stick to it as you don’t want to let them down. It is more enjoyable training with someone else. You will push yourself a little bit harder, your mind is distracted, the time flies by and it can be one on one time with a friend.
Change your running tracks:
My favourite place to run is the through the rolling hills near our house in Utungun. The countryside is picturesque, particularly first thing in the morning as the sun breaks over the hill. This is when I do most of my runs, at daybreak. I also love running near beaches, rivers, anywhere where I can take in the view. If you change your running tracks it not only makes it more interesting but you’re changing between hills, flats, and different surfaces.
Don’t let holidays throw you out of routine. I love running when on holidays as you’re in a new place and you see more when running compared to driving around in a car.
Check your technique:
The better your technique the more efficient you will be. A physiotherapist can assess your running technique. They will give you advice on correcting technique as well as stretching and strengthening exercises to address any weaknesses or restrictions they may pick up. This will also help with injury prevention.
I hope these little things can help you on your way to achieving your running goals. There are plenty of training plans online to use once you set your goal. Check out Runners World at www.runnersworld.com or my Asics at www.my.asics.com.au. If you want to participate in one of the races in the Hunter Valley go to www.huntervalleymarathon.net.
If you need help with technique, running injuries or programs come and see one of our physiotherapists at Macksville Physiotherapy & Pilates.