As simple as running may be, it certainly isn’t easy. Especially when you’re a beginner. ‘You have to start where you are, not where you think you should be,’ says running coach and exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton. ‘If you go further or faster than you’re ready for, your body can’t adapt quickly enough and you’ll get injured.’ That’s why, with plans designed by highly experienced coach Sam Murphy, we’ve developed a five-part programme to take you from your very first steps to stepping up for your first race. So, are you ready?
‘Once it’s a habit, exercise feels easier and doesn’t take as much willpower when you don’t feel like it,’ says Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of the Habbit. Make a plan, Duhigg says every habit is made up of a group of cues (time, place, music, other people); a reward (chocolate, massage, smoothie); and a routine (the workout). Write down your cues and rewards and post your plan somewhere you can see it.
Before your first run, get in the regular exercise habit by walking. This should be a brisk walk – ‘not a race walk, but not a window-shopping walk either’, says Steven Blair, professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, US. You can also use a stationary bike or elliptical trainer, but walking is an excellent foundation for running and holds the convenience trump card. ‘The best exercise is the one you will do consistently,’ says Blair
You’ve run a non-stop 5K, now you want to run further. This plan will help you develop the endurance yoeed to run a 10K, and build the strength to race a 5K.
Simple Steps to keep in mind:
- Sneak in activity
- Find your place
- Find your pace
- Stay flexible
- Log your miles
- Take your pulse
- Practice patience