How do I start running?

If you are a newcomer to running then don’t be discouraged when you find that you cannot  run 5k at your first attempt. Running, like any sport, requires practice in order to improve. This is one of the great things about it – you can set yourself goals, work towards them and when you accomplish them you will feel great! There are many workout plans for first time runners available online which provide great information on when to run, how long to run for, warming up and down and how not to overdo it (try this 8 week program from Runners World http://www.runnersworld.com/beginners/the-8-week-beginners-program?page=single ). Running should be enjoyable and gratifying, so keep this in mind when tailoring a workout plan to suit you.

What equipment do I need for running?

The good thing about running is the lack of equipment you need! Trainers are very important and can help prevent injury, not only boost your run. Correct sports wear is adviseable. A sports bra should be worn by women. Also available now are synthetic clothes that wick away the sweat – these clothes tend to be more expensive but are worthwhile as they keep you cool in Summer and warm in Winter.  An unnecessary but worthwhile item is an MP3 player as music is a good source of motivation.

Should I eat before a run?

It is recommended that you should stay clear of solid food for a period of 1.5/2 hours before you begin your run. This is because running on a full stomach is known to give stitches whereas running on a completely empty stomach may result in a lack of energy. You will have to find what works best for you. One thing for certain is that you stay hydrated.

Make sure you warm up and cool down when running…

It’s never a good idea to injure yourself on the first attempt! To avoid straining any muscles, to lubricate the joints and to make you more limber you should do some gentle jogging and stretching so that your body is prepared for a workout. It will improve your performance by rising the core temperature of your body therefore allowing oxygen to move at a faster rate providing more energy to your muscles and brain. Cooling down is just as important; your heart will be beating rapidly after a workout and you should ensure a gradual return to normal heartrate by maintaining movement. Furthermore, after a workout your muscles are at their warmest which means it is the best time to deepen stretches. Doing this after every workout you will notice an improvement in your performance and less soreness the day after.