1. Forget the glass slippers. I’m a sucker for exercise clothing! Generally, the clothing and footwear are very comfortable to wear due to the technical ability of the garment whether it be the flexibility, lightness or breath-ability. If there is one thing I suggest taking time over to purchase it’s footwear. I have 6 pairs of trainers in my wardrobe at the moment and all completely warranted (much to my husband’s disgust). I run on road, trail, cross country and track; all of which have different footwear and I have other pairs for training within the gym and studio environment.
For me, the correct footwear for running is key to help avoid injury and discomfort. There are many high street specific sport shops in Glasgow such as Achillies Heel, Sweat Shop and Run4It that will help you get the correct shoe to match your running style. Don’t scrimp on footwear, invest in your feet!
2. No ‘I’ in TEAM or maybe there is! When I first started running I did it on my own, two nights a week. After a few months I fatigued and I started to find reasons not to go out. I found a beginners running group at my local sports center and started running with them once a week to try and give me motivation. Guess what? It worked! Before long I needed to be pushed further so joined a local Running Club, Garscube Harriers and I have never looked back.
Running Clubs are an excellent way to get fit and meet like-minded people, they are substantially cheaper than a gym membership too. Having the company when training is an excellent way to stay motivated. There are running clubs for all abilities out there.
3. Get race day ready. Technology in all sports is moving at a fierce rate – Oh my, I sound old! GPS has added a new dimension for runners by helping to create an online social network, opening up new routes and helping runners set higher PBs. There are many applications that you can download onto your phone or watches that will keep you motivated by tracking your progress. I love going out a run and uploading my run from my Garmin onto Strava (there are other brands available). It enables me see how consistent I have run over the duration of time, highlight my achievements and set new targets.
The best motivation for me is booking a race in the diary, something to train for. There are a host of different races throughout the year across Scotland whether it be road, cross country, track, trail, hill or multi-sport races such as duathlons. Websites such as entrycentral.com and Scottishrunningguide.com make finding one easier.
4. Eat, drink, run, repeat. I know many runners who run on an empty stomach but let me tell you there are reasons why you need food and water before you run. Running is an aerobic activity and uses the food we eat to convert to energy. Energy is released into the body by the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The best sources of food to fuel the muscles in the presence of oxygen during aerobic exercise are carbohydrates and fats. Before a run I always stay hydrated by sipping water regularly and eat a snack an hour or more before a run. Carbohydrates feature high in my diet and even more so if I am training for a longer distance.
Dietary advice is something Fit + Fabulous really focuses on for all their clients. If you have any queries on what to eat to get the best from your running why not Contact Us?
5. Limber up and ease the throttle. When I started running and before I trained as a Personal Trainer I was not consistent with warming up and cooling down. Since doing it religiously it has made a huge difference to my performance, recovery and flexibility. Your warm up consists of a couple of components over 5 – 10 minutes so let’s break it down:
• Mobility – focus on releasing synovial fluid around the joints that are specific to running thus enabling smooth and easy joint movements and avoiding injury. This only takes 1-2 minutes to do. Try doing some shoulder shrugs, torso twists, side bends, abduct the hip joints and flex the knees before your run.
• Pulse-raising – warm up and increase blood flow to the working muscles and slowly elevate your heart rate. It is important to slowly elevate the intensity over 5 minutes or so until you are feeling moderately active and warm enough to do some pre-stretches. Your first kilometer should be your slowest one!
• Pre-stretches – should only be done after a warm up when the muscles are warm and held for very short periods of time such as 6-10 seconds if static or small range of movements if dynamic. This only takes 1-2 minutes of the warm up.
It is important to consider factors which affect a warm up such as environment, time of day, intensity of the session and your own level of ability. For example, if it is cold you may need a longer pulse raiser or if the session is going to be very demanding more time should be spent on the preparation to optimise the body’s readiness.
What about the cool down? It is just as important and should be done over about 10 – 15 minutes consisting of lowering the pulse and post-stretches. Again similar factors will affect the cool down but it can be summarised as:
• Pulse-lowering – involves tapering the run to lower your heart rate, reduce blood pooling and remove the metabolic waste products of the exercise (lactic acid, noradrenalin and carbon dioxide) from the muscle. It helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness in the muscles the next day and improves recovery.
• Post-stretches – aims to maintain or increase the flexibility of the range of movement within the specific joints. The range of joint movement is critical to good performance. Maintenance (to maintain range of movement) stretches should be held for 15 seconds and developmental (to improve range of movement) should be done over 30 seconds, progressively deepening the stretch. I would strongly suggest stretching the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and Illiotibial band after a run to help avoid injury and improve performance.
I hope you find my top tips helpful. Any queries, please get in touch to find out more. Happy running!