I have been running along the roads of England for 18 years. For 10 of those I was the member of a running club.
1) JOIN one. You will always find someone to talk to and of your pace!
2) Running shoes get a decent pair. I would suggest £50+. Go to a proper running shop not a store at the shopping mall. They will provide advice on running stride and pattern. This determines the shoes you need.
3) Buy a SECOND pair. Companies often change their style and a comfortable pair of shoes is worth its weight in gold.
4) Socks and kit are important. However unless you intend to run over 30KM per week these are not critical.
There is no doubt that it has had beneficial effects on my life and health.
I would list these points as:
• Stress relief- 20 minutes running treadmill or road, shower and you CAN relax. This involves little time and can easily be fitted into an early evening or a lunch time.
• Running for more than 20-30 minutes has an appetite suppressant effect. Blood flows to the muscles away from the gut. This combined with the exercise will, if maintained, aid weight loss.
• Once fitness levels improve, and they too to a level where breathing can allow a conversation whilst running, it becomes pleasurable.
• Cardiovascular fitness is improved significantly for only 20-30 mins ¾ times per week.
• Other levels of health all benefit
• It is addictive! NON runners will never understand why!
• Injuries and colds are times not to run….REST is key in any exercise agenda
• Knees and hips and lower backs need relaxing and stretching to ensure they are strengthened to take the strain
Finally for this section, what is the difference between jogging, running and competitive road running. Jogging is 6mins/km…running is 5mins/km…fast running is 4mins/km
Some thoughts on training regimes for all ages and experience.
Those doing light running should aim to build up stamina and level of fitness. This is the ability to run at a pace and still hold a conversation. If short of breath then one is running to fast. The goal should be to run for 60mins. Anyone reaching this level is ensuring cardio-vascular improvement and will reap the benefits of weight loss. Remember it is not the
pace but the ability to get ones body to exercise and raise the metabolic rate. People who are fit also have a higher metabolic rate through out the day. Namely they burn more calories asleep than unfit people. Hence weight gain is a vicious circle. The ladies should not be afraid to walk. Eventually they will, if they continue, be able to run for one hour.
For the marathon runners, one should always plan a 3/4 month build up. NO matter what the experience or pace. When training for your 1st marathon never set a time objective until you are 2/3 weeks before the run. By this time you will know how your training has gone. The critical run in any marathon training plan is the long run. Aim to complete this each and every Sunday. By the week before the marathon you should aim to be able to run for 32-35 km. Do not worry about the time. It is essential to experience the time on your feet. These long training runs see you through a marathon. Adrenaline on the day, the crowds and the other runners do the rest.
If, a beginner then aims to mix training as follows, have 16km runs and also 10km morning runs and perhaps 5km evening runs. The latter should include some sprint work. Normally say between 2 points 300m apart. This improves suppleness and also muscle fitness. If one cannot do the distance then hills make a great substitute. A rest day is also critical and hot baths after runs are also key. Do adequately stretch before and after. Warms ups are key to long term stamina development. No one want s to be injured the week before a marathon. If you can enter a few races then do so to experience running with mass of runners and also to vary your routine. I often like to do a half marathon the week before a marathon, and then DO NOTHING. Resist running and stretch. If you must then a 2km stretch run is all you should do. Fitness will not fall off and the rest will make you rearing to go on marathon day.
Marathons only start at the 30km mark! Pace is critical and so is confidence you have done the training. One final tip - practice taking on fluids - avoid electrolyte drinks on race day and beforehand. Gulping those only makes you feel sick and even thirstier. Believe me you will be thirsty. Therefore drive round your long run and leave water bottles in the hedge. A rehydrated body is effective. Lose 5% of your body fluid and your performance drops 15%.
Running and Training: A Personal View from England by Tony Birkett