This week I teamed up with my sister to give you some training tips for new runners. We decided to keep these tips quite general so you can apply them to any training programme that you are following, whether you’re relatively new to running or whether you have a marathon in your sights. It took me 3 months to train for my first marathon, with a background of running just a few times a week but I could never have done it without these simple tricks.
Beth is an athlete who’s competed for Great Britain and also happens to be a qualified personal trainer and running coach. Here are her Five Top Tips, with some of my thoughts below:
1. Start Easy
“Make sure you start off your training runs nice and easy to allow your body time to warm up and reduce the risk of pulling a muscle.”
I used to find it too tempting to just sprint a run from start to finish. To be honest, I just wanted to get it over with. Nowadays, I am much more careful (especially on longer runs), conscious to start easy and become faster with each mile, rather than slow down due to fatigue.
2. One Long Run Each Week
“Particularly if you are training for a half-marathon or more, I would try to do one longer run a week with shorter, faster runs throughout the week. In general your long run will be at a much easier, more manageable pace.”
When I was Comrades training I used to really, really look forward to my Sunday long runs. I’d be running for hours so I could run as slow as I liked and it was a chance for me to switch off, relax and enjoy being outside.
3. Run Alternate Days
“Do not try and run everyday if you are not used to it; your body needs to adapt to an increase in miles. Recovery is crucial!”
As you increase your mileage, days off are such a blessing! It gives you a chance to get to the gym and build some strength or maybe the opportunity to have a well earned lie in!
3. Build Up Mileage Gradually
“When starting a training programme, it’s important to get some consistency in before you increase both the pace and length of your runs.”
I know to begin with, I was super overwhelmed at the thought of running a marathon. When you increase your long run a little each week, your goal becomes so much more achievable. Before you know it, your running double the distance you were when you started training. Don’t get scared by the end goal, just take one week at a time and build slowly.
4. Invest in Decent Trainers
“It’s so important to have a good pair of running trainers that suit your feet and style of running. I can’t emphasis enough the importance of going into a running shop where they provide a free gait analysis. They will look at how you run and recommend a shoe that suits your foot best.”
Getting the right trainers for my running style meant I managed to race the entire 89km without getting a single blister! It’s so important to get the right shoes not just to prevent injury but for your comfort. You’re not going to enjoy running if you’ve got blisters from your 5 year old trainers.
5. Nutrition Matters – Eat Well and Run Quicker!
“Eat well, and try to get a well balanced diet. Your body needs protein, carbohydrate and fat. Protein is essential for muscle repair and carbohydrate is essential for restoring your energy reserves. Try to make sure that you are taking on protein and carbohydrate within 20 minutes of exercise.”
I really enjoy running the majority of the time on an empty stomach. I found it was an easy way to burn fat and it meant I could slip out of bed and straight into my trainers. For me, nutrition is really the most important factor to train happy. If you are fuelling your body with good, healthy, quality food then surely that’s what you’ll get back.
For me, I’ve got to say the most important thing is to keep at it. Some mornings you aren’t going to feel like getting out of bed but it’s those days that you sit down of an evening and really feel like you’ve accomplished something. Running isn’t fun if you aren’t fit. In fact, I think that’s pretty true for most sports. The enjoyment comes when you better yourself, see progress and prove that you are capable of something you never believed you could do.
I hope you find these tips useful, especially if you have just started training for a race or if you are looking to do some more running. If you are looking for a personal trainer or someone to design you a specific training program I will link Beth’s brand new Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/bethcartertraining
If you have any questions feel free to comment below and we will do our best to answer them! Happy running.