How do I take up running safely?

running

Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise and, when done correctly, a great way to keep fit. Without gym fees and the need for fancy kit, it's a great activity for anyone to take up. But how do you start running and ensure you don't hurt yourself? 

Injuries from running are common! As a yoga teacher as well as a personal trainer, I hear A LOT of people tell me "I used to run, but I hurt my knees". However, I also see veteran runners going well into their 60's, injury free. So what is the trick? 

Know your injury threshold. This will be different for everyone, but we all have a limit. Studies have identified thresholds at 11, 25 and 40 miles a week, and exceeding the limit that is right for your body will result in injury.

Don't try to run before you can walk! A lot of people take up running with a specific goal in mind, such as a long distance race. However, going from 0 to 41 miles in a few months does not give your body enough time to build up the correct strength and adapt. Running experts have recognised this and suggest the 10% rule, building up an additional 10% each week. For example, if you run 10km on week, run 11km the next week. For some, this may still be too fast. It's better to start slowly and make running a regular habit before trying to take on big challenges like marathons!

Know your injuries. If you have old injuries these could be aggravated by lots of running, or indeed any new exercise. Do some research and be aware of what you need to do to protect the injuries you have recovered from. And when you do have an injury, or even just a niggle, rest! 

Stretch. Releasing tight muscles after a run will help them to recover. Save the longer, deeper stretches for post-run recovery and stick to dynamic stretches as a warm up. 

Strength train. This will build all-round, balanced muscle, helping to improve your running performance and posture. It also gives your body a rest from running, which is needed as too much of anything is not good.

Listen to your body. Each body is different, we have our own thresholds and limitations. Nothing can tell you what is best for you other than your own body, and when it says 'ouch' it's time to stop. 

If you are interested in grabbing your trainers and heading outside, why not join our next Beginner Jogging & Fitness group, starting in March. Our 6 week course will get you outside and running confidently and safely. Contact us for more information

Finding Your Fitness Flow

Finding Your Fitness Flow

fitness flow

The reasons why we exercise often vary, but the outcomes are the same - increased fitness levels, increased energy levels, lower body fat, better functioning heart, stronger muscles... the list goes on... AND eventually (hopefully) better mood. A lot of the time we start to exercise due to external motivation - we want to look better, or we are told our health will improve. However, slowly this shifts and the motivation becomes internal. We start to enjoy the exercise, it becomes our release, our escape and we look forward to it. We are in our Fitness Flow. This is the ultimate goal and the point that we, as trainers, strive to get our clients to. 

It wasn't until I discovered surfing that I understood the concept of 'flow'. I never saw surfing as exercise, despite the fact that I would sometimes spend 2 hours paddling non-stop (the equivalent to front crawl without the legs) and not even catch a wave. I was completely in the moment, getting enjoyment from the action not the results those actions were giving me... and I became the strongest and fittest I had ever been. 

Fitness Flow is something I think about a lot as a personal trainer. Obviously understanding goals and helping people to reach these is important. But enjoyment is equally as important!! There is no point in pushing yourself and feeling like it's a chore, forcing yourself to do one more squat when actually you hate squats. Finding exercise that you enjoy will ensure that the exercise becomes a part of your life, and therefore that it is something you will be able to continue with because you actually like doing it. It's not just a means to an end.

With this in mind, ask yourself what activities you enjoy. What workouts leave you thinking 'I want to do that again'? What gives you the biggest buzz afterwards? Try to incorporate these exercises into your routine as much as possible, and if you're not sure then try lots of different things. Most importantly, have fun! 

 

Marathon Training top ten tips!

marathon

Having an event to train for is a great way to stay focused and give yourself a goal. For this reason we decided to train for the Brighton Marathon in the Autumn, which has definitely kept us fit and active over the winter. It has also resulted in A LOT of running over the last few months, so we thought we'd share our top training tips:

  •  STRETCH, stretch & stretch! This will help prevent injury and aid recovery
  • if it hurts STOP- you're better off having one rubbish run than not walking for a few days! 
  • get your NUTRITION right, especially carb/protein ratio
  • amino acids - they are great for super recovery! We definitely prefer to eat actual food, but when you are training this much you may need the extra support
  • RUN as much as you can and then some more. Add some short faster runs, hills, sprints etc... But don't forget to CROSS TRAIN too! 
  • SLEEP - lots of it
  • have a training PARTNER and a PLAN
  • wear correct TRAINERS for you and your feet
  • BREATHE correctly- inhale or exhale as your foot steps down
  • remember WHY you are doing it!!

And most importantly, ENJOY!!