You’ve dusted off the old trainers, got your baggy track pants out and donned your favourite cotton T-shirt. You just decided to take up running because, well everyone else seems to be doing it, so why not? Running is great for so many reasons. It provides daily exercise, improves your fitness, keeps your heart healthy and also assists in keeping your mental health in check. If you have just started out as a runner, you’re probably like me when I first began; no idea what to do or how to go about it! So here’s a helping hand on the bare essentials to make your journey into the running world a little easier.
- The right shoes – When looking for a new pair of running shoes, don’t pick the prettiest colour, or the ones on sale; make sure you get the right ones for you! Everyone has a different running style and movement in feet, ankles and legs can vary greatly between individuals. For this reason, if you don’t have shoes that suit your individual body movements you are highly likely to be fast tracking towards injury. Hunt down your local podiatrist and/or running shoe specialist to get yourself a gait analysis. They will assess how your feet, ankles and legs work together and recommend shoes to accommodate. While this may be more expensive than your local sports footwear outlet, it’s ultimately money saved on rehab later on due to injury caused by running in the wrong shoes.
- A medical check – If you haven’t exercised for a while, getting a health check-up is advisable. You may also consider a visit to your local physiotherapist for a screening to identify any weaknesses in areas of the body important to running. Health professionals can help you plan ‘where to next’ in regards to how your body is working. Whether it be a diet change, some added supplements to help with muscle recovery or a few simple exercises to strengthen muscles in particular areas, this preventative measure is a good idea to help you avoid any health issues or injuries as you begin to run.
- Plan it out – Work out a plan on how to begin. Don’t just go out and flog yourself on the roads day after day, because as above, something is sure to go wrong. Look up an online program, download an app or better still, seek the advice from a running coach or fitness expert who will be able to write a plan specific to fit your requirements and help you get it right from the start.
- Get the clothing right – Although it may seem the most comfortable at first; old, baggy, cotton anything is ultimately going to be a one way track to a sweaty, chafing, nightmare! Get yourself some running tights or shorts and matching singlet or T-shirt that are made out of sweat wicking material to keep you cool. Also, make sure they are not too loose to avoid any rubbing in unwanted places; very important if you want to avoid the post-run shower sting!
- Find a friend – Ask around and see if any of your friends run or would like to join you. Having someone to meet each session helps to keep you accountable and on track. It’s also great to have the support of someone else to keep you going when the run gets hard or to celebrate your running successes with. You may even like to find a local running group to train with, and where you can meet a whole lot of new friends with whom to hit the roads or trails.
When you look at it, what’s not to love here? There’s lots of greatness to get you started on your journey as a runner – good health, new shoes, new clothes, new friends! It’s a win-win all round and by following these simple guidelines from the start you’ll make your transition into the running world a lot smoother. Enjoy!