Updated: Aug 11, 2019
So, I want to give you my ‘Top 10 Tips’ that helped me learn to embrace running. No I don’t love it but I do love a sense of accomplishment and achievement!
Every year there seems to be a new kind of Fun Run - City to Surf, Sutherland to Surf, Colour Run, Neon Run and even novelty events such as Zombie Runs! (I personally would have a heart attack during one of these but hey, I’m a little wuss!)
So you want to participate in one but have no idea where to start? That little inner voice talks you out of it; you tell yourself “I’m not a runner”, “I could never do it”, “I’m not fit enough”, “I don’t know how to train for it”.
Well I’m here to say YES.. Yes you can! Tell that inner voice to bugger off and let your inner cheerleader shine through who tells you, “we could try and see how we go”, “imagine the sense of accomplishment at the finish line”. Yes listen to her - she’s got your back!
I’ve been there, I hated running, when my hubby would ask me to join him for a run I’d feel so much slower & thumpier! He looked like a chiselled gazelle floating along the pavement! Here I was with my legs rubbing together, I’d be out of breath, face like a beetroot - and we’d barely even started!
Yes I have been there, and since then I have completed many 5kms fun runs, 11km Sutherland to Surf, 14km City to Surf, completed 15kms in the Wings for Life run in Melbourne, and my own personal best of completing my 1st and probably last HALF marathon, never in my dreams did I think I could jog 21kms.
1. INVEST IN SHOES
No, not just the fancy looking kind - ones that are right for YOU.
I recommend going somewhere like Athlete’s Foot or a specialist running shoe store where they will do a free full stride assessment where you can see for yourself how your feet move . Trust me it will make the world of difference!
Looking further into how to strengthen and stimulate your feet is well worth it too.
A simple place to start is Naboso barefoot training.
2. GRAB A BUDDY
What better way to keep yourself motivated and accountable then buddying up with a friend. You can be the same fitness level trying it all out for the first time or grab someone you know will give you that little push and encouragement to help you along the way.
3. MAKE A FIRE UP PLAYLIST
Whether its iTunes, Spotify, Pandora - wherever your music is, make a list of your favourite tracks that are the right kind of speed for you. Me, I am an all dance doof doof kinda gal but when I’m off for a run, I like to start of with a steady pace for a few tracks. When I know i’m probably getting tired I throw in one of my fire up songs - pretty much anything from the old skool Nick Skitz megamix or the Fast and Furious soundtracks. Find something that puts some fire in your belly for 1-2 tracks then head back to your steady paced tracks to finish.
4. SET A SPECIFIC GOAL
It doesn’t matter how small you think that goal is, have something specific - whether it’s a 5km fun run, 14km City to Surf or Half/Full marathon territory. Own it, commit to it and go for it!
5. STRENGTHEN THAT BOOTY & HAMSTRINGS
Yes running is a cardio activity but you still need adequate strength to help you. Your glutes and hamstrings need to activate to help give you power and avoid injury. Think about incorporating activations. Some beginner examples would be BEAST and CRAB, and walking lunges along with a variety of squats and deadlifts into your training routine.
6. RELEASE YOUR HIP FLEXORS & HIP AREA
What is a hip flexor? The group of muscles at the front of your hip that span from your lower back to the tip of your thigh. If you sit all day these can get super tight as they are in a contracted position for long parts of the day. When you start running you’ll notice that your legs not only power forward but you also need a range of motion that allows you to get a good stride going.
7. RUN THE SAME ROUTE
Go for a walk or drive around the area you want to start to train in and choose a route you feel comfortable with. If there is a massive hill that makes you anxious, avoid it while starting out. You can use this as a challenge later!
8. TAKE NOTICE OF THIS ROUTE
The first time you try your chosen route, look for any landmarks that catch your eye; a tree, park, sign, shop, garden - anything that you can use as a destination marker. Give yourself mini landmark goals that you want to strive to reach on each run. Try and jog to these and mark them out along the entire route so eventually you will jog the whole way with minimal walking breaks.
9. GO FOR IT
Yup, just go for it! Jog as far as you can until you need to slow down and walk. When you slow to a walk take a moment to notice where you jogged to. Congratulate yourself on getting that far and you now have now set a benchmark to attempt to beat the next time you run.
10. RUN FOR A CAUSE
What better motivation is there than knowing you are helping make a difference. Plenty of runs now let you donate or raise money for a charity of your choice. Find one that means something to you - Blackmores Running Festival raises money for heart health, the 7 Bridges Walk raises funds for the Cancer Council, Wings for life raises money for spinal injuries and there are plenty Breast Cancer fundraiser fun runs too.
So go on, find something you are passionate about and help raise awareness and funds. If people are sponsoring you there is more accountability for you to do the best you can!
So there you have it, my ‘Top 10 Tips’ to getting your first run done
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, You just have to take that first step!” - Martin Luther King Jr
Go on get out there and mark your route!