Wish exercising was easier? Feeling frustrated that you’re not as fast or fit as you’d like to be? Whether you’re new to jogging or a seasoned sprinter, finding your running mojo can be a struggle. No matter how energised you feel while pounding the pavement, or how satisfying the feeling afterwards, being motivated to leave the house can be a big ask.
From Couch-to-5ks to marathons, running has never been more popular, with more than two million people in the UK reported to run every week. If you’re keen to kickstart your running routine, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know.
So, you’ve got the right gear. Now to get the most out of your training to raise your fitness levels and endurance. Warm up to prevent injuries and ongoing aches. Even just marching on the spot or going up and down the stairs for two minutes are a great way to wake your body up before your run.
Busy schedule? Build up your stamina with this 20-minute blitz:
Aim to do this run three times a week for two weeks. In week three, reduce your walking by one minute and increase your jogging by one minute. In week four, aim to complete your route by running the whole distance. Thereafter, simply increase your distance.
During heavy breathing, the muscles around the neck and chest raise the rib cage and move it outwards, creating more space for air to fill the lungs. So, training the abdominal muscles can improve their ability to work more efficiently during heavy breathing. Adopt the right breathing pattern – in through the nose, out through the mouth – to train the abdominals and improve your running performance.
Some people feel fresher exercising in the morning while, for others, exerting this much energy at a groggy time of day can lead to tiredness later. It’s important to find a time that works for you.
Alternate running locations, playlists, podcasts and exercise regimes to keep runs interesting. Why not invite a friend along? Having a conversation will test your stamina and allow you to practice; otherwise, a running buddy makes for great motivation. Music can also heavily influence performance. Matching the beat of the song you are listening to with your running pace can regulate your work output, making repetitive exercise (like running) more interesting – you may even experience bursts of energy. It’s also worth synchronising music with the intensity and duration of the run too.
Sleep deprivation can be a real energy zapper. Create a relaxing wind-down routine, like running a bath or reading a book, so that your body isn’t too tired for a run the next day. Your body rebuilds muscle when you’re asleep, so give it sufficient time for proper recovery.
Before starting a new exercise programme, consult a medical professional for more advice on volume and intensity of exercise. From here, set yourself a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Whether it’s a personal best or an event like Couch to 5k, be kind to yourself with manageable goals that help increase your endurance and overall fitness.