Do run, run, run.

20 09 2010

Hi all,

Since it was the BUPA Great North Run on the weekend, the results of the ballot for the London Marathon and I am rushing out to running club in 15 minutes I thought running would be the best activity to come first in my series of sports to try.

Were you watching the run on the television thinking “if only”? If that’s the case, that’s great because chances are, the people running on your screen were in that position too once. Running is a wonderfully simplistic activity whether you are looking to complete your first fun run or you’re an elite athlete. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re into running up fells and over fields or you may enjoy the feeling of blasting out 100m.

I’ve recently rediscovered running outdoors after being a slave to the treadmill for 5 years. With that in mind, here is my top-5 “musts” if you really want to get the most out of the sport.

1. Kit

3 things – Trainers, watch, kit. If you are debating training and competing in a pair of old cross trainers you bought on sale please reconsider! I am not a millionaire but there are some things you should invest some money into. A good pair of trainers will cost around £60. You may not realise, but there’s a good chance you either pronate (where you foot rolls inwards when it hits the ground) or supinate (where your foot rolls outwards). If you want to do any kind of extra training, an inappropriate pair of trainers may exacerbate whatever tiny flaws you have in your running style which will lead to an injury that will put your race in jeopardy. Most good running stores have a treadmill where they film your running style and will recommend the trainer that will give you the right support. It sounds gimmicky but once you know how you run, it could be the difference between having a great day out and not finishing due to massive discomfort. A good watch (approx £50) will pay dividends when you want to know if you are getting faster – some even have GPS! Fitsense (linked) have a great range. Get some light running wear from a reputable manufacturer – Nike, Asics, Saucony or Ron Hill are all excellent – and you’re ready to go!

2. Picking your race

Going straight for the marathon is tempting but try to resist. For most, it’s probably a good idea to try one of the many 5km races around the country. Feeling adventurous? 10km or  half marathon races are brilliant if like me, you used to run so you have a good idea of what you’re capable of. The marathon is a good second year event!

3. Join a club

Purely a matter of preference. Some people like to run alone, some with a group. I used to think I was the former until a friend persuaded me to go along to the local club. For me, the benefits were huge! I met a good crowd of people that matched my ability; when you’re in that group you subconsciously try to keep up with each other. You can also talk on the way round the route and you’ve immediately found a group of people that you have at least one thing in common. It’s weird that running the same pace as someone can be such an icebreaker! Annual membership is a bargain (mine was £12!) Any good club will regularly participate in a raft of races from casual to competitive and it’s a good opportunity to experience running with other people before the big event!

4. Keep a log

Sounds like a major ballache? It’s not, honest! Going into the final weeks before the event, writing your results is a great way of seeing your improvement and preventing yourself from freaking out that you’ve not done enough training. Just get a notepad and jot down the time after each run. If you change your distance, use mapmyrun.com to calculate how far you went. Easy.

5. Enjoy the race and be true to your pace

The adrenaline is pumping and you want to beat any time you set in training. Believe me when I say you’ll be on such a high on the day you will beat your times without having to consciously try. Use your watch to assess if you are going too hard too soon. Pack your stuff the previous night, make sure you know where to park and get there with some time to spare. When you cross that finish line, you’ll be hooked I promise.

There’s your running! Next week – Tae Kwon Do!

D.

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