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A Beginners Guide to Running, Part Two
Running and Me…the next steps
As explained in the Beginner’s Guide to Running Part One, I run. My love of running is recent, over the past three years but with three marathons, one ultra-marathon and numerous half marathons under my belt, it is definitely here to stay. Once you’ve read my introductory guide, here are my top tips to taking the next steps as a runner.
How’s the running going? The chances are you’re having mixed feelings? You feel could sprint the distance on one run and then the next one feel like you need to walk the whole way. Most people at this stage have caught the running bug but could slip back to a non-runner at any moment…so, the question this week is, ‘how do you keep up the momentum’?
Extend the challenge. Keep that enthusiasm bubbling by pushing yourself a bit more – and then relish the moment when you realise how far you’ve come.
This week, let’s try to increase the distance a little. Although don’t panic if you need a little more time before you do this.
If you are enjoying it and ready to step up the distance then just do it. If you even just break through your longest distance slightly, the extra challenge will spur you on to do the original distance faster than usual. See how much quicker you’re now covering a distance that you originally thought of as impossible? Could you try to get a PB (personal best time)?
For your first extended run add an extra 500m. Yes, that’s only just over one lap of a running track and easily manageable. For the next run, double it to 1000m which is 1k. That’s it for the next two weeks. One more kilometre.
If you’re a member of a gym, go and ask for some advice on strength work. Strength work really helps you improve quickly. One session a week will do great things to help improve your running. Strength work doesn’t have to mean pumping iron. When I started to increase my distances I had an injury that wouldn’t allow me to push weights so I started doing Insanity classes.
Insanity or other HIIT classes are brilliant for both strength and stamina. Insanity definitely worked a treat for me and really helped my running. I always recommend Insanity to all my running friends. Take plunge and give it a go. It looks scary as it’s pretty intense, but just make sure you speak to the instructor about any worries you have.
You may have picked up that I mentioned an injury. The injury wasn’t an excuse to stop running. How many professional athletes are out there competing without injury? Very few I promise you. Making the excuse to not run today is never far away.
Here’s the bad news. Excuse-syndrome doesn’t go away. At least once a week I feel like I could easily make an excuse to not run. Yes, sometimes I go with it and don’t run but then I always regret it.
I never regret running however. After every run, I always feel glad I made the effort, and sometimes I think you get more out of those really tough runs, when your mind and body are more reluctant.
This is an important time in your running. You are now a runner. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast. You may have already achieved a great personal goal by getting out there. If so well done. Keep going.
Think of this whole new you as a cycle of change.
Contemplation (Thinking about running)
Preparation (Get yourself ready)
Maintenance (Keep going with this new behaviour)
Relapse (Keeping making excuses or injury, old behaviour)
Contemplation (Thinking about running)
The good news is when you get to relapse (and we all do), it doesn’t mean back to square one. Your body remembers that you are a runner and it’s easier to re-start! Also, remember: you do not have to repeat this cycle. Get into the right head space and you can jump right back to ‘Action’, skipping ‘Contemplation’ and ‘Preparation’!
Get out there and get running
Next week I’m going to get a bit more scientific and focus on injuries. What are common injuries and what you can do about them if they are affecting your running. Also, it will be time to look at ‘New Goals’…10K or even Half Marathons. Is it achievable? If so how?
PS – consider joining us for our twice weekly running clubs…free for members
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