Social Health Fitness Fun
Running, especially recreational running is very much a mixed, varied and inclusive sport as well as a family sport.
Anyone with the inclination can run and all abilities can join in together… look at any Fun Run.
Age isn’t a barrier, fitness isn’t a barrier and with guidance health issues rarely present a barrier….check out the British Heart Transplant Games.
Running is recognised as one of the best sports for managing weight and aiding weight loss. Running burns around 100 kcal per mile so if you start running and eat sensibly you will see a change in shape and size.
Benefits also include improved heart and lung function, reduced blood pressure, stress reduction, reduced risk of some cancers and an aid to prevention of osteoporosis in some bones.
How can I get started?
Many people set off alone, perhaps aiming for a local event or as a result of a bet! Others persuade a friend or partner to suffer with them only to find they have very different paces and abilities and soon fall out. Some fitness centres will have a running group and there are numerous running clubs happy to guide the complete novice to the able runner.
What are the advantages of joining a club or group
The right advice: pace, effort, distance, stretching, avoiding injury Access to events, coaching and governing body affiliation
Friends to run with at other times A social group
Isn’t running expensive?
Running is cheap compared to the great majority of sports or other forms of exercise. You can run any time anywhere for no extra cost.
What shoes do I need?
Running shoes are specific to running.
They have two main functions:cushioning and guidance.
Feet differ. Take your trainers to your nearest specialist shop and get the right advice from the outset… you may save a lot of injury time, and money!
What should I wear?
Ladies: Ensure you have a well supporting bra designed for running.
You don’t have to spend the earth, many stores have a good range at sensible prices and a good sports bra will be a good investment regardless of whether you get the running bug.
Everyone: Any comfortable shorts, T-shirt or top will do until you spot the real gear beckoning from the sports rails.
Trainers – see above!
When shouldn’t I run?
If you have any pain that continues or worsens as you run If you have a temperature
If you are unusually tired
Most early injury niggles resolve quickly without intervention with rest from running and a gentle stretch of the area perhaps with a 10 min ice treatment three times a day over the first 72 hours. Your group leader will be able to advise.
Those that persist or worsen should be assessed by an appropriate professional … a physiotherapist, sports therapist, osteopath etc. Your GP will be able to refer you to a professional if you don’t know of one.
Is running bad for your joints?
There is no supporting evidence to suggest that running specifically is injurious to your joints but if you have a pre-existing condition then take your GP’s advice before starting a running programme.
Running is so adaptable in terms of effort, pace, surfaces and distance that many people will find they can still participate.
Do I need to do anything before or after I run?
Warm up…before you put in any effort.
Walk, jog, skip, circle arms, feel your heart rate increase and your body temperature rise. If you are planning to run quickly then use some short quicker strides (short bursts of faster running for 10-20 seconds) at the end of your warm up. Be prepared for what you intend to do
Stretch….after you run.
Stretch the main muscles you used in your session.
Again your group leader will offer all the right stretches and mobility.
Running needs fuel. Don’t expect to run well on an empty tank.
Regular meals based around good carbohydrate foods like pasta, rice, potato, fruit and veg. Fish and lean meats.
Ensure you have a snack about an hour before exercise; a piece of fruit, a yoghurt, a cereal bar, some dried fruit for example
Rest and Recover…
Between sessions you will gain most benefit from your training effort if you recover well. The body adapts to the new stress you have introduced when it has a chance to rest. You will then reap the reward of training and not the demoralisation of injury
How do I find out about events and races?
Run Britain website
Your group leader or running club or your local specialist running retailer
You can also find many more online and in running magazines
Word of mouth from your running friends will give you a good idea if the event is suitable for you…if they did it, you can!
Events can be fun and social; many are low key or charity events. They give you a chance to work a bit harder if you want to and may whet your appetite for more.