So you’ve signed up to a 10K run, but as a total beginner you aren’t sure how to start. Sound familiar? Don’t fret, we’ve enlisted Nike Trainer Faisal Abdullah - who’s helped songstress Ellie Goulding get run-ready – for his top tips on how to start running, no matter how fit (er, rather unfit) you are. Ladies, take note…
1. The Couch Potato
If your idea of a workout consists of walking to and from the tube on your morning commute this is you.
- Make a schedule
To start, “create a realistic running schedule that you have time to stick to,” says Abdullah. “Commit to your training by putting your runs into your diary. If they’re scheduled in your day you have no excuse to skip them.”
- Go slow
“Start off with easy runs," he suggests. "Don’t worry about distance to begin with, just put one foot in front of the other wherever you are - a park, gym or street. Try a five-minute brisk walk warm-up, and then alternate 60 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking. Repeat for 20 minutes.”
- Keep going
“Stick to a minimum of two runs a week," advises Abdullah. "You’ll find your fitness, distance and time naturally increases. Just don’t give up because nothing changes overnight.”
- Lose the car
“Get out of the habit of driving to places that are relatively close. Running is cheaper, healthier and can often beat the traffic.”
2. The Occasional Gym Bunny
Every other week (when you’re not meeting your friends for drinks of course) you make use of your gym membership for a slow cycle on the stationary bike and a few dumbbell exercises. Sound like you? Read on…
- Up your cardio
“If you’re already using the stationary bike you’re half-way there,” says Abdullah. “If you want to improve your running, include a solid cardio workout into your gym visits.” You need at least 30 minutes at every session to see and feel a difference in your level of fitness.
- Buddy up
“Find a friend to train with you and attend a Nike+ Training Club class," he advises. "This will boost your morale and encourage you to stick to your scheduled sessions because you don’t want to let each other down.”
- Ditch the excuses
“Address what’s stopping you from going to the gym regularly. Is it money? Time? Laziness? Boredom with your standard gym routine? Find that speed bump and flatten it!"
3. The Fitness Class Fanatic
Spin class? Check. Reformer pilates? Double check. Barrecore? Every week. A run in the park? Never attempted. You love a group workout class and hate to stick to one activity. Here’s how to incorporate that group vibe into your new running schedule.
- Join a running club
“Nike Women has lots of run clubs across the city. It gives you the chance to mix up your training and will introduce you to a new circle of fitness-loving friends.”
- Switch up your routine
“Try a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programme so you don’t get bored. Run fast for one minute or sprint for 100m then come back down to a jog,” suggests Abdullah. “Repeating these short burst workouts will increase your running form and decrease your lactic acid build up, allowing you to train harder and for longer.”
- Learn to love hills
“They’re hell to run up but will do wonders for your endurance and strengthen your legs. Just remember to keep those knees up, chest high and your eyes fixed on the prize – the top of the hill!”
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4. The On-and-Off Runner
You love to run but not more than once every few weeks and sometimes (let’s face it) you don’t lace up those trainers for at least a month. Try these tips to stay on track…
- Make a monthly plan
“Commit to a four-week training plan of scheduled running sessions,” says Abdullah. “Your muscle memory will kick back into action and you'll be back in your stride in no time.”
- Build power
Focus on stretches and strength exercises, Abdullah swears by these. "Stretching before and after will not only help with recovery time but also prevent injury, stopping unavoidable breaks in your training schedule. Good strength-building exercises include press-ups, pull-ups and heavy weight lifting.”
- Combine speed and power runs
“Alternate between faster, shorter, longer and slower paced runs. This will keep your body and legs guessing and train you harder.”
What if I want to give up?
“Staying motivated can sometimes be the hardest battle,” affirms Abdullah. Stick to it with these simple tricks:
1. Set yourself small goals and tick them off. Whether that be a timed run, a distance you want to achieve or signing up for a running event.
2. Run with a friend. Friends provide support, motivation and help make it fun.
3. Keep a diary. Note down each run, including your route, distance, time, weather conditions and most importantly how you felt. Whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by how much you've improved.
4. Mix it up. Keep your running interesting, by adding variety. Running the same route over and over again can become boring. Vary your distances, routes and locations to keep it new and interesting.
5. Join a club. A running club is the perfect way to commit to running regularly.
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