New runners? Here's your step-by-step guide on how to start
So you’ve decided to get into running, but where do you begin on this journey of laced-up sneakers and interval training? Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic, sheds light how to get started.
Running is a great way to explore and discover places around you. Whether it’s a local track or a national park, there are plenty of options to choose from. There’s also a range of events on offer that you can attend in person, or even virtually.
When starting out, Lucas recommends signing up to an event so you have something to train for. Why? Because having a specific date to work towards can help keep you accountable. The Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k & 5k is a great event to consider as it is a certified flat course, meaning it is suitable to beginners, families with prams or even seasoned runners who want to get out there and practise their technique. And, as a bonus, those who live interstate can participate virtually!
Here are some tips from Lucas on how to prepare and how to run.
Sign-up to a run club or get yourself into a running program
Find a running club near you if you are someone who likes to train with others, or get yourself a running program so you have a plan to follow. The key things that you want to factor into your plan are:
- A long run day. If you are a beginner, your long run may be only be 5km. Don’t worry if you have to walk some of it, just get used to the distance and build yourself up from there. After a week or two, make your long run longer until you start to build up your kilometres.
- A sprint training day. Sprint training is important, as you may wish to speed up to get around people on race day. You may also want to speed up on the way to the finish line! To prepare, find yourself around 100 metres where you can sprint to the end and walk back. Do this around 10 times each session.
- Speedplay day, also known as fartlek training. This is where you play with your speed. Run around 5km and push yourself to go fast for some of the run, then slow down, and keep alternating. This training helps you prepare for running in a crowd, overtaking and being able to keep up – even if you feel like you can’t.
- Strength training day. If you want to get serious about your run, strength training can be good to add to your regime – especially single leg work. Often, we have a stronger side which can lead to imbalances so it’s important to try to balance out. You’ll want to try walking lunges, one leg deadlifts, TRX squats and the like. Postural work such as rowing and push-ups are also solid additions as you want to maintain good posture throughout your run.
As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to work on your posture but also your form, as poor running technique over a long distance may cause some imbalances. To maintain good form simply follow these tips.
- Maintain a tall spine and lengthen out the crown of your head. Keep your shoulders back. This is important as poor posture can lead to imbalances, aches and pains.
- Try to strike your foot directly under your knee instead of in front of it. Overstriding, especially when running downhill may cause knee pain.
- Bend your elbows at 90 degrees, keep your hands relaxed, swing your shoulders forward and back and try to avoid crossing your arms over your torso.
Beware of burnout. Make sure you stretch after each running or workout session. Take a rest day each week, and see a physio or massage therapist if you feel that you need it. Too many people think that to get results they have to train really hard and never miss a day, but that is not necessarily accurate. Training hard and being consistent is important, but so is not burning out, avoiding injury and getting adequate rest.
Eating a nutrient rich diet is important for both your performance and your recovery. Consuming protein rich food,especially on training days, and having lots of green veggies to replenish micronutrients is important, particularly after a sweat session. Don’t be afraid of carbs, but try to eat more natural and unrefined carbs if you can, such as sweet potato and pumpkin.
If you are going to utilise supplements, make sure you start using them a few weeks ahead of the event. The same idea goes for your diet. The last thing you need is an upset stomach on the day of the run because you have changed your diet at the last minute. It’s also wise to seek a medical opinion before adding supplements to your diet.
It’s always nice to have something new to run in, but it’s a good idea to start wearing your new kit at least two weeks in advance as you don’t want race day to be the time where you get blisters and suffer chafing. If you’re going to change anything up, from your clothes to your diet, test things out at least two weeks in advance.
So there you have it, some simple tips to get you all ready for the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k & 5k! Get in quick and register for the physical or virtual event today.
2 Jun 2021