The second part of how to get into running focuses on your time on the street and the best ways to keep motivated as you progress. By now if you have taken the advice dispensed in our first blog you should be feeling healthier and fitter.
After all the training and preparation, it is now time to hit the streets in earnest, and your first major decision is where to run to. You might find that if you are indecisive about this the best solution is simply to mix it up. Vary the surfaces you run on, from tarmac to grass and everything in between, perhaps even a treadmill. Treadmills may seem safer and softer but they have issues, the belt has an interaction when it hits the running machine that can lead to shin issues, and when you run on off road trails they often have potholes and ruts. So, the best advice is to alternate between one surface and another.
Monitor Your Form
Running should be a natural form of movement, but even the professionals have been coached to an extent that they are running unnaturally. Here are some tips that will help you keep proper form:
- Head – always keep it up with your eyes looking straight ahead, never have your head jutting out in front of your body or lolling about for that matter.
- Shoulders – some runners are tense when they run, and their shoulders tend to creep forward. Relax and shake out your arms so the shoulders stay loose.
- Arms – your arm movements are highly important when running, basically your arms follow your legs, so they should be going backwards and forwards not across the body. Your elbows should be bent at ninety degrees also.
- Body – keep erect and tall, never hunch or lean from the waist.
- Legs – keep your stride short, this will help your feet to feel light and allow them to land underneath your body. Your foot should land on the heel and when you push off use the ball of the foot.
Taking enough rest is extremely important especially in the early days, overdoing your running can be just as harmful as not running enough. Running too much too soon is a classic mistake by many first time runners, it can lead to burnout and injury. Initially your aim should be one of enjoyment, and perhaps run every other day. As you get fitter and stronger you can add an extra day until you are running five days a week. Do not attempt to go faster or longer than a maximum of ten percent from one week to another.
Sometimes when you have had a hard day at work or the weather is too bad to go out, you will need to keep yourself motivated. There are ways and means of doing this such as having a running partner or listening to motivational music that you like. Keeping a log of your running is also a good idea, what you eat or drink before a run and how you felt. How different weather effects how you run, the times and lengths of your runs. All this data is motivational, it will encourage you to persevere.
It is never too late to take up running and it has been proven to be as just as good for the mind as for the body, so now all you need to do is buy a pair of good running shoes and follow the advice in this blog and remember to have fun.