Top Ten Tips for Runners
As the summer rolls in and the days lengthen, what better time to take up running/start again after a season watching Netflix while rain drums on the windows? We have put together 10 tips to help you get back on (the) track.
1. Go at a comfortable pace
This is harder than it sounds to get right, too many people start running and instantly force themselves to do several miles so they can boast about it on social media only to be scooting round the office on a wheelie chair for the next few days while their quads and hamstrings yodels. Some people do the opposite and simply walk round a park and then reward themselves with takeout. You should be running at a decent pace but should not truly be out of breath; (“Be able to talk” the old advice goes) You should keep your pace even and concentrate on jogging the whole distance rather than sprinting and then walking. If you have an issue jogging, then walk instead and develop towards jogging as a goal, but make sure you aren’t straining yourself.
It goes without saying really, but it is definitely worth keeping hydrated as it helps with cramp and is vital to staying alive. Running is dehydrating and we suggest running with a bottle, you can get fancier bottles that aren’t a hassle to grip and even hydration packs that leave your hands free.
3. Run on grass at first (if possible)
Running is notorious for the impact it has on your knees and ankles, the hard impact of pavement is something that people are not really developed for in the long run. We suggest running around a park if this is an issue. Leeds is of course blessed with many fine parks (please let us know your favourite).
Shoes are the important bit, while many sites will advertise high-tech running gear we only really recommend a good set of shoes to get you started, shorts/joggers and a T shirt will do. You want arch support and solid cushioning to help with the issues listed above. A specialist running store can even help analyse your gait and suggest the perfect shoe for you.
5. Lace locks.
I used to think one of the many mysteries in life is the purpose of the extra lace hole on trainers; I have ignored them for years. They are in fact used for runners to keep a firm grip on the ankles. (Some trainers have plastic clip lace locks that allow you to ignore my sage advice.) Lace your shoes as normal but before tying the bow push the lace into the hole above so it is then headed across the shoe and leaves a loop of lace between the two holes. Do this on both sides and put the lace through the loop on the opposite side, then tie the shoes normally, ensuring that the loop is tight around the lace that passes through it.
6. Find a way to motivate yourself
Find a way to keep your pace up to ensure you get the most out of running. Some people prefer to listen to music and audio books, some prefer to run with a partner and set the pace between them so that anyone who slacks off is relentlessly judged by their peer. You can also choose to run in more enjoyable surroundings than just pavement pounding round your neighbourhood. This is why people travel to parks or go running round a trail.
7. Adjust diet accordingly.
It depends on what you are looking to get from running, but make sure your diet matches it. If you are running for weight loss then make sure that you are creating a calorie deficit that the running assists, if you are an athlete looking to train for distance then make sure you have the correct carbohydrates for energy and protein for some energy and to help repair and build muscle.
To prevent strain and damage, stretch the muscles you will be using before running and make sure you stretch to cool down afterwards. Simply setting off at a run only really works for the family dog, you will feel better the next day and will be able to run more regularly if you take care of your body and the muscles you will be exercising. You should also end your run with a period of walking to assist the cool down.
9. Interval training
This may go against point 1 somewhat but bear with me. Some people prefer to alternate between running and sprinting as a way of developing twitch muscle for acceleration. This is useful in athletics and especially in sports such as rugby or football. This can be achieved by picking two points and sprinting from one to the other and walking back, then going again to a different point, either further then the last or closer depending on how forgiving you are. You can of course recreate the school “beep” test if you feel you have done something wrong in your life.
10. Enjoy it
Clichéd though it is to say on these lists, it is true. You are running for you and what you get out of it: Be that weight loss, some time outdoors or simply the endorphins from exercising. Make sure that you enjoy running on some level and that it slots in well with the rest of your routine. Don’t use the excuse that you are simply too busy to do so as it is a rewarding activity that can be built into your schedule in various different ways. For example running before/after work on the weekend, or even sacrificing some of your lunchtime for a twenty minute run. I stress here that running gear should be used and a shower at work if you need it.
I hope you have enjoyed this list and found it helpful or encouraging, please let us know any other top tips you have for Leeds locals and any recommended areas for running or shops that cater to the sport.