It's that time of year again when motivation to get active is high but if you're new to exercise or been out of practice for a while it can feel confusing and intimidating. Here are some of my top tips for new or returning runners:
Start gradually. It takes longer than we think (weeks and months) for the body to adapt to the physical demands of running. Stick with it one run at a time and follow a plan that gets you moving at least 2-3 times per week.
Good posture. Run tall with chest up, elbows back, think light on the feet.
Breathe naturally and try to stay as relaxed as possible. The breath will naturally get quicker as you move faster but don't try to force it. Any apprehensiveness or anxiety you might feel about exercise could cause shortness of breath. Try to breathe fully in to the lungs and steadily out again.
If you are able to run somewhere with nice scenery it really does help! Winter weather can be off-putting but wrapping up in gloves and hat makes a big difference and you will warm up once you get moving.
Walking breaks are part of the process. It’s not cheating! It's about giving the body a manageable amount of stimulus to adapt to.
To improve mental endurance, when you hear that voice in your head telling you to slow down or stop, give yourself permission to do so but after you keep going to the next lamppost or corner, or count down slowly from 10. Train the brain as well as the body to realise that you can do this.
Be patient. It will feel hard while you’re actually running and will take time to get used to it but it feels great when you start to see yourself making progress!