One week on…

This time last week, I was on my way home after completing the London Marathon. I can’t thank everyone enough for their donations and their support, it has really meant a lot to me.

A few friends have said that they feel inspired by my efforts, and want to try running themselves. One has expressed an interest in running the Race for Life, which is a series of events, aimed at women, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The races are 5k (just over 3 miles), with some 10k races available (about 6.25 miles).
Leicester’s events are 9 weeks away; conveniently, the NHS has a “Couch to 5k” plan that takes, you’ve guessed it, 9 weeks! There are some other tips and advice on there, to help the novice runner.
I would add the following:
  • If you haven’t exercised for a long time, it’s always best to get a quick check up at the doctors. Some pharmacies can test your blood pressure for free, so there’s no excuse not to make sure it’s safe to start a running programme.
  • Having the right running shoes is important; a proper running shoe is designed to support the foot, and ultimately the leg, depending on your running style. Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to injuries. You can have a specialist running store analyse your gait, and advise on the right type of shoe. Mizuno also provides a useful tool to check yourself, if you feel comfortable doing this. You do not need to spend a fortune on running shoes; I don’t spend more than £35 for a pair. If you are just starting out, you may find that you don’t enjoy running, and having spent £90 plus on the latest technical wonder, you may find yourself hating running even more! Sports stores should have staff trained to point you in the right direction, but having said that Sports Direct’s stores have a dedicated running section, where the shoes are clearly labelled. One last tip; if you are a pronator (your foot rolls in), running shoes have a grey section on the inside of the midsole, like this example:
  • I have also found that running makes my feet expand (they get hot, etc), so buy running shoes that are a size larger than you would ordinarily need. I’m a 5.5 normally, but run in size 6.5 shoes.
  • Similarly, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on specialist running clothes, again for the reason you might not enjoy running. As long as you feel comfortable with what you’re wearing, you should be fine whilst starting out. However…
  • Ladies; do not attempt to run without buying a sports bra! It can hurt, and you can end up with tissue damage. Even if you are a smaller woman, you still need proper support! Again, you don’t have to spend a fortune, as Tesco and Primark sell decent sports bras at a reasonable price, and they both make them for the less endowed woman.
  • Find a friend. You can keep each other company, give each other support and encouragement when things are feeling tough. If one of you is feeling a bit lazy, hopefully the other will drag you off the sofa!
  • Whether you have company or not, music is great to run to. There are some mixture albums out there, but make your own playlist, as apparently, running to your favourite tune can improve your performance!
  • Track your performance. A lot of newer phones have apps that can track your routes, or you can use a number of websites to log your runs manually. If you can see what you’ve done, and how much you’ve improved, it’ll give you the motivation to keep going.
  • Finally, enter an event. Then you have something to aim for, and no excuses to give up!
I have said to my friend that I will help as much as possible, and I may go out once a week with her, just to keep her on track. It got me thinking about running groups, and I looked into it. Sadly, to have the proper accreditation to lead a group, it will a) cost £110, and b) I can’t get onto a course until the autumn, and that’s dependent on the football.
Then there’s the issue of my career, and where it will lead me. I may not be in Leicester this time next year, and I need to think long and hard as to whether or not it’s something I actually need to do.
If you have read this, and you now feel you’re ready for your own running challenge, or want to start running after a break, good luck!!

I am an amateur runner, and not a coach. This blog is based upon my own experiences, and from tips that I have picked up over the years. Running is not risk-free, so if you do pick up am injury after reading this, the lawyer in me says “volenti non fit injuria” 😉

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