run it never gets easier you just get strongerLots of us don’t enjoy the prospect of exercising indoors in a class or gym environment or even at home, least of all when the weathers nice. We want to do “outdoorsy” things and be active. Or we see regular joggers and runners heading off down the road and think that we would love to be able to run but it’s just too hard or we just aren’t fit enough or our joints can’t take it, truth be told you wouldn’t be running for your joints benefit so if you want to take care of them then eat right stretch and keep mobile maybe supplement if necessary but there’s no reason your joints should be an issue.

Before I go off point with this I’ll anticipate people may dispute my last statement and explain in advance people with underlying health or joint issues may be limited but it really depends on your expectations and requirements i.e someone with a form of arthritis in their knees and hips may be limited or may find it painful at times but that’s where the approach should be altered not the exercise excluded.. if you can walk you can run!

So how to go about it? Well you crawl before you walk as you must walk before you jog and jog before you run, don’t rush it, treat it as a hobby or discipline lean the basics before you master the art. The depth to this point is largely misunderstood as well when I say learn the basics we could be talking walking running in the pool we could be looking at correcting gait and lower limb function or developing a stronger core to support the joints involved instead of it being an over night thing it becomes a life long development or interest but that’s much better than just trying to do it to lose weight! So if you want start running and once started want to keep running I’ve listed a few pointers I would consider.

  1. Start by walking: it’s the best way to start using and building the muscles you will later rely on. It will help develop strength endurance of theses muscles as well as build your cardio vascular capability and it will help de-stress and find the right head space.
  2. Listen to your body: if it doesn’t like the way your doing it, it will tell you, don’t be afraid to turn it back a little if you move forward too quickly.
  3. Jog/run at a pace that is comfortable: kind of following on from number 2, the biggest hurdle I come across with beginners or returners is the need to adapt a pace to fast to be maintainable or controllable, so start real slow and let your cardio vascular system catch up.
  4. Get some support: it’s really difficult to actually know what’s happening with the body, it will give you lots of different signs to be interpreted in many possible ways.. my biggest regret is not relying on a physio more through my training, once a week/fortnight/month could make all the difference.
  5. Don’t just join a club: whilst the motivation and support will be great their is no guarantee that will be enough, or even the best approach for you, for many reasons running is good for you but it can also be bad so don’t just use one source of info or advice refer back to number 4 and number 2.
  6. Consider rest and recovery the most important part of development: exercise breaks the body! It doesn’t fix it, if you’ve been to FitFarms you will of heard me say that.. and it applies especially to runners. Something about the buzz they get when they find their stride next thing you know you can’t keep them out of their running shorts, every night and twice at weekends.. it’s great to see but for really sustainable development your rest and recovery is key without it. Your body will break.
  7. Don’t just run: it is a physically stressful exercise also one dimensional and as discussed in number 6 addictive, you need variety and broad development so consider other activities that will rest your muscles or at least use them in a different manner whilst still helping you improve, 2 prime examples are boxing and swimming two amazing cardio vascular exercises that do not use the body in the same way as running.
  8. Get the right shoes: I still can’t figure out what’s best for me.. less support or more, sometimes I feel better in my barefoots sometimes in my £20 amazon specials but that’s me and I have two guaranteed options there make sure you figure out what’s best before you start putting any real miles down.
  9. Choose different distances and tempos: so many clients I speak to always work on the same pace and trying to improve distance or time, I’m sure the pro’s probably do this already but I feel the info is not being carried as well to the amateurs and part timers, just because you can run 5k in this time doesn’t mean you have to, keep your body guessing and allow it to build in more dimensions. Sprint work, jog walk, run, intervals, hill climbs, treadmill, stride patterns and gait work, road or off.. just some of the variables..
  10. You don’t need carbs!: really I just threw this in to round it off to 10 but a lot of the full time runners will swear they need the sugar or they can eat processed carbs because they’ll burn it off when they run.. just because it doesn’t show on the outside doesn’t mean an over indulgence of crappy processed sugars won’t hurt you inside. The frightening thing is you probably won’t realise until it’s too late. By all means enjoy your food as I would say to anyone treat yourself and live 80/20 I’m not saying you shouldn’t touch these things just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need them for exercise.. you body already has it covered!.. to follow this blog will be one with some possible exercise routines to play with in order to get you up and running.

Health and Fitness editorial by the FitFarms team. FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Check out our next courses here

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