If you’re new to running and you’re struggling to find your feet – don’t panic – we’ve all been there. No-one starts out as the picture of athletic perfection. Running (like so many other things) takes practise; there are lessons to be learned. But to make the transition from beginner to confident runner that much easier, we’ve put together our top six barriers to learning to run and how to smash them…
Try to breathe normally. If you try to breathe in too deep and exhale too much you can hyperventilate which will increase your breathlessness and can cause dizziness. Use a walk/run programme. Start to walk before you get too out of breath as you’ll be able to recover quicker and will be able to do more running per session compared to when you only start to run until you can’t breathe anymore.
Never increase your distance more than ten per cent each week. The biggest mistake many people make is to increase their distance too quickly. This causes fatigue and increases the time it takes your body to recover from your run. If you feel that it’s too hard to increase your distance every week, maintain the same distance for four to six weeks before increasing it. Ensure that you’re eating enough protein to rebuild your body as well as carbs to refuel your body for the next run.
If your asthma is under control you should be OK to run but talk to your GP first to discuss how your asthma medication will influence your training. In most common cases, using your reliever before you train will be sufficient for a medium intensity run. Start with slow interval training and ensure that you warm up and cool down properly. Be aware of your asthma triggers like air pollution, pollen or cold weather and try to avoid training in those conditions.
If you keep the same intensity your body will adapt to the run after about four to six weeks. If you change your route, the distance or the speed that you run at you might experience muscle soreness again for a couple of runs until your body adapts to it. Ensure that you warm up and cool down, adding stretches at the end of your run. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and be sure to stretch your front and rear thighs as well as your calves.
If you ask any runner they will tell you to get out on the road. Running outdoors is slightly different from running on a treadmill. Outdoors you have environmental factors like hills, wind, sun and rain to take in consideration. Where you run will be influenced by your goals and your personality. If you consider doing a race you will have to do some of your practice runs outside. If you only run to burn calories then treadmill running will be fine, but it’s not as much fun after a while as the outdoors offers great variety of scenery and terrain. Most people eventually prefer the great outdoors.
Running with someone is faster than you is a great way to improve your stamina and running speed. Initially you will not be able to keep up with her for more than a few minutes so work out a route where she can do a loop when you get too far behind. This will allow her to get a good workout without waiting for you and you will get the encouragement to continue running and improve your fitness level. The fitter you get the easier it will be to keep up with her.