Some of the benefits of running include increased cardiovascular capacity, improved muscular strength, increased bone density, not to mention the positive effects it can have on weight, blood pressure and mental wellbeing. So what are you waiting for? Let's get running!
Before you start
Having the correct kit is key for preventing injuries and making your running experience enjoyable – no-one wants to end up with blisters or chafing! Start by choosing a suitable pair of running shoes – it’s a good idea to get your gait (running style) checked at a specialist store and they’ll advise on the best pair for you.
Choose comfy clothes suitable for the weather – sweating excessively may’ve been a fitness trend in the 80s but it’s now known to be dangerous! Go for synthetic fabrics rather than cotton as they wick sweat away from the body.
Set achievable goals
If you’ve never run more than 1km, don’t sign up for a half-marathon in a month’s time. Build up slowly and start with a walk-run routine. Gradually increase the length of your training runs and the frequency. Remember that whatever level you are, recovery days are just as important as training days.
Fuel your body
Running increases your need for nutrients, calories and fluid – roughly speaking, a 30 minute moderate paced run will burn around 300 calories, a 60 minute run 600 calories (although this depends on many factors including fitness level, body size, weather conditions etc). Always start a run hydrated and replace liquid and energy as soon as possible after finishing your run to recover quickly. Remember that sports drinks are only really needed if you’re running for over 45 minutes.
If you’re nervous about starting out, it’s a good idea to join a beginner’s running group or ask a friend to go with you on your first few runs – once you get into a routine your confidence will improve and there’ll be no stopping you. Remember to always check with your GP before commencing a new exercise regime.
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan