Beginning to run.


Why run?

Running is a simple sport. It Is cheap, doesn’t require any expensive equipment and can be enjoyed in a variety of environments (cities, towns, parks, forests,). You can run with a group or on your own and in a variety of climatic conditions (sunshine, hail, wind, rain, snow). From a physical health and a mental health standpoint the evidence in favour of running is overwhelming. Unlike dieting, which is a negative concept based on deprivation, running for 30 minutes three times a week is more likely to encourage somebody to stick to a health goal. Instead of depending on alcohol or drugs for social confidence running with a group of friends is more likely to form a more positive atmosphere for social interaction. People who quit smoking often take up running, as do people who are dealing with life obstacles.

A lot of first-time runners these days tend to go to the internet for tips on beginning to run. You will read about different distances (5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon) and will be bombarded with a variety of terms and phrases – tempo, fartlek, hill training, negative splits, positive splits, hitting the wall, resting heart rate and so on. This can overwhelm new runners in the company of more experienced runners. The best advice is keep it simple and enjoy running for what it is meant to be -fun. Everyone started off as a novice sometime.

The first run

There is little need to spend large amounts of money on getting started. An old t shirt, a tracksuit and a pair of shorts is all you need in terms of clothes. Rather than investing 3 figure sums on a pair of trainers (especially newbie runners) put on a reasonably well worn pair of trainers you have kept at home. Use your mobile phone as a timer if you don’t have a watch. You can invest on decent footwear when the habit of running kicks in. Open the front door and step outside. Rather than running flat out and falling down after 3 minutes because of oxygen deprivation, keep it very easy. Begin your run with a brisk 3 to 5-minute walk. Then start light jogging for perhaps no more 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat this exercise for maybe 3 sets (3 to 5-minute walk, jog at a comfortable pace for 2 to 3 minutes, 3 to 5-minute walk and so on). Don’t be tempted to do any more than you feel necessary. You should be able to talk comfortably while jogging. You should not feel overly uncomfortable but perhaps slightly challenged. Return home. Do some light stretching of the quads, calves, ankles, and groin area. Well done on completing your first run. Feel free to boast and brag to your family and friends.

Take a day off before repeating the exercise. It is probably not advisable to run more than three times a week. If you start doing too much too quickly you will get injured and/or burned out/lose interest. You will find however that after 2/3 weeks your body will adapt to the new regime. Muscles get stronger and the heart and lungs became more efficient in their use of oxygen intake and carbon dioxide dispersal. In lay terms you are becoming fitter and mentally becoming stronger. Within six weeks you will be walking less and running a lot more. Remember however to take days off between runs and to stretch afterwards. New runners now start to think more about distance – a sure sign that running is having a positive effect.

Article credit to Cathal Daly