By Anna Trevelyan
Your first run:
Now, if you’re like me and get puffed out racing down the platform for a train, you’ve got to change your mindset. This is the long run game, not a sprint, so try to disconnect the two.
When you first start plan your route and know exactly where you’re going. For your first run perhaps just make it even around the block. The key is to go a little further every week and go for longer without walking.
I’d recommend three runs a week. Start with a low distance and build up. Fiona (our Quit4Life Admin superstar) gave me a great tip – once a week when you get to the end try to go a little bit further if you’re not too tired. And a little further the next week. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can build the distance.
Don’t forget to pre-plan – check out my essential pre-running list here.
Session 1 – Start running for one minute, then walking for up to two minutes. Repeat over and over again.
Session 2 – (This can be done the day after or with one day in between.) Try to run for two minutes and walk for one.
Session 3 – (At the end of the week.) Try to run for as long as you can before walking. Find your own pattern and repeat.
Session 1 – Pick a slightly different route and try to run the whole way. This may be a shorter route, but try to not stop.
Session 2 – Use an app (or Google maps) to find a route locally which is 2km long. Run 1 k, walk for 1-2 minutes, then run the rest.
Session 3 – Try to run the new 2K distance without stopping. If you’ve already mastered this try to run further. Keep building the distance gradually and you’ll manage to get to 5K on your own in a matter of weeks.
Things to remember:
- Pace yourself. You may feel slow but a continual steady jog is what you’re aiming for. Don’t push yourself beyond what you are happy with – it’s meant to be enjoyable so don’t put yourself at risk of injury.
- Don’t worry about the time. Building up a continuous run of a decent distance is the key. With time, you can improve on your time, but try to pitch it somewhere between the hare and the tortoise (the badger?)!
- Other runners have described entering a sort of ‘meditative state’ when they run. I don’t quite achieve that but I do manage to have a good old think now when I’m out (rather than mentally complaining about how tired I am).
- Find your stride. Experiment with longer leaps, higher hands, shorter steps etc. You’ll soon find what works for you.
- Go regularly and eat and drink accordingly. I find three runs a week is ideal as it keeps up a certain level of fitness. It also means I eat healthily and drink very little at least three nights a week – running on a hangover or after a curry really does not make me feel happy.
You may not enjoy it for the first few times. But as you progress (and you will) you’ll start to look forward to going further, fitting in even more songs on your run and smashing your time target. Your only competition should be yourself, so enjoy the open road and get out there – it really is fabulous fitness for free!
I may still look a bit like a turnip on legs (well, a slightly firmer one) but do you know what? This turnip can run. Three months ago I never ever thought I’d be the type of person to crank out a casual 5K on a Saturday morning but now I am. And I feel amazing. It was only me who was standing in my way before, but now – just try and stop me!
Any views expressed in this article are entirely my own and not necessarily those of my employer.
If you are unsure about embarking upon a new fitness programme always consult a medical professional and/or your Quit4Life Adviser beforehand.
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